While much of the pagoda's beauty derives from the complex geometryof its shape and surrounding structures, equally mesmerizing is its golden glow. It rises 326 feet (99 m) on a hill 168 feet (51 m) above the city. The lower stupa is plated with 8,688 solid gold bars, an upper part with another 13,153. The perimeter of the base of the Pagoda is 1,420 fee and its height 326 feet above the platform. The tip of the stupa, far too high for the human eye to discern in any detail, is set with 5448 diamonds, 2317 rubies, sapphires, and other gems, 1065 golden bells and, at the very top, a single 76-carat diamond.
In the Shwedagon, the smoothness of the pagoda can be seen from top to base.
The three basics elements are:
The octagonal base. The bell-shaped dome. The conical- shaped spire.
Height ratio is
base : 22, dome : 33, spire: 55.
Divided into four parts:
1. The lowest part, which is encircled by irregularly shaped seven concentric rings
(' hpaung yit ', "protuberant coils".)
2. Second part is reminiscent of the double lotus throne :
an "upturned lotus", kya lan & an "inverted lotus",
kya hmauk, which serves as pedestal for some Buddha images.
3. Third part of the spire, in the shaped of an elongated teardrop
( nga-pyaw-bu, "banana bud")
4. Fourth part and uppermost part of the spire is the hti, "umbrella".
Consists of :
1. Circular bolts ( Kyi-wun )
2. The bell ( hkaung-laung )
3. The girdle ( yin-zi )
4. Inverted alms bowl (tha-beit- hmauk ) and
5. The festoon ( pan-zwe )
The base is made up of three terraces which recede upwards on :
1. A square plinth ( 6.4m) high,
2. Octagonal terraces (paccaya): where the four sides of the cardinal points are
straight-edged and the other four sides have serrated edges, and above that
3. An Octagonal dais called the shit-hmaung, "eight-edges".