National Geographic : 1963 Feb
Buddha is bathed from pails of water carried by a worshiper at the Shwe Dagon in Rangoon (right). Each April Burmese celebrate their New Year with a water festival. For three days they douse one another with water; on the fourth day they ceremonially bathe images and feed the monks. Floral offerings to Buddha accompany the prayers of a young man and his mother. EKTACHROMEBY STEPHANIE DINKINS Kipling's "beautiful winking wonder," the Shwe Dagon Pagoda drives its golden spire 326 feet into the tropic sky. Shrines and smaller pagodas stud the terrace, which tops a 168-foot-high hill in Rangoon. Mat ting protects the pagoda's base and encir cling spires during regilding with gold leaf. Children touch flame to candles that spell out the name of an organization conducting a service on the terrace of the Shwe Dagon.