Buddhist monks with parasols strolled past Shwedagon Paya

Monks walking in precinct of Shwedagon Pagoda
Shot at Shwedagon Pagoda, a Buddhist temple in Yangon, Myanmar
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The temple grounds of the Shwedagon Pagoda, which stands on a hill not far from the center of Yangon, are a no-footprint zone. Not only in the many buildings on the grounds but also in the entire grounds. All the worshippers who come to pay their respects walk around the temple grounds barefoot.

It is not unusual for a sanctuary to have a no-shoes policy. Here, however, there was another problem. The ground in the precincts was very hot under the strong sunlight. When I walked barefoot, I felt as if I were walking on a steel plate, and it was difficult to walk barefoot.

Walking around with the soles of my feet almost scalded, I felt as if I was practicing asceticism. However, I was the only one who walked a little faster than the others, and the locals didn't seem to mind. The locals looked unconcerned as they walked along, the skin on the soles of their feet must be much thicker than mine, as they usually wore only sandals.

As I tiptoed through the temple grounds, enduring the heat from the soles of my feet, I saw a group of Buddhist monks walking by. The young monks were walking as if nothing was wrong, just like many other locals. The sight of them made me wonder if the nerves in the soles of their feet had become paralyzed.

In the meantime, the monks with their umbrellas strode across the street in front of me. Beyond them, a huge golden stupa glittered in the strong sunlight.

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Shooting Date

Mar 2010

Posted On

January 13, 2017

Modified On

October 20, 2021


Yangon, Myanmar


Street Photography



Where is Shwedagon Pagoda?