Merit attributed to King Anawrahta (r. 1044-1077)
This is the first spire to evolve from the earlier bulbous or cylindrical shapes into a tapering one that ends sharply a design that is to continue to this day. The receding terraces meld into a conical spire that gently tapers to a finial crowned with a filigree-metal Hti or umbrella.
There are five accessible square terraces and two octagonal terraces. Nowadays, there are many visitors coming to the temple on their Bagan tours to admire the impressive high temple. A maze of narrow, dark and airless tunnels runs inside them. Shwe Sandaw means the Golden Hair relic and it is believed that a hair of the Buddha was presented to Anawrahta by the Kingdom of Bago; votive tablets with Anawarahta’s seal were found in the relic chamber.
Fragments of Ganesha the elephant-headed Hindu God of Wisdom were found at the foot of this pagoda and believed to have once adorned the corners of the terraces.