Young nuns at Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon 30 Oct 2016
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It's more than 100 years since Kipling sailed up the Rangoon River to the Burmese capital, but the glistening golden stupa of the Shwedagon continues to dominate the city's skyline. The massive pagoda, said to be around 2,500 years old, is not only a remarkable architectural achievement; it is also the perfect symbol of a country in which Buddhism pervades every aspect of life. The holiest of holy sites for Burmese Buddhists, it is also a potent symbol of national identity, and in recent decades has become a rallying point for the pro-democracy movement.
A constant swirl of activity surrounds the stupa, as worshippers make their ritual circumambulation of the monument, pausing to pray and perform rituals at the numerous shrines and planetary posts along the way.
Explore Shwedagon Pagoda on a guided tour and watch the sunset over the city on Insight Guides' short Love Yangon city break. Alternatively, those looking for a longer holiday should opt for Insight Guides' Myanmar Highlights tour, which offers a country-wide itinerary including stays in Yangon.