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Shwe Mawdaw Phaya (ရွှေမောဓောဘုရား)

Burmese. Name of a Buddhist pagoda in Bago, which houses a relic of the Buddha, i.e. one of the three strands of his hair that legends claims the Buddha gave to three hermits, who brought them to Burma. One of the other strands is today stored in the Golden Rock on Mount Kyaihtiyo (fig.). The temple's centerpiece is its large bell-shaped pagoda which houses the Buddha's relic. In 1917, an earthquake caused the pinnacle of the original zedi to collapse and tumble down. Hence, the stupa was repaired and part of the former peak has been preserved at the base of the pagoda and has been made into a shrine in its own right. The temple also features a Buddhist Wheel of Health, i.e. a horizontal wheel with small paddle boats, each with a marker bearing the name of a disease or an ailment and circling around a larger boat at the center by a automated system. Visitors can gain merit by making balls from paper money, which they aim at the passing boats, attemting to throw the money into the paddle boat of their choice, and which corresponds to the ailment that troubles them, a friend or a relative. When successful, it is believed that the specific ailment of those affected will pass away and their health be restored (fig.). The temple also has a small museum and a Bamboo Buddha known as Mahalabamuni (map - fig.). See also MAP, TRAVEL PICTURES (1) and (2).