Yangon (Rangoon) Capital Of Burma
With the population of over 5 million, Yangon (Rangoon) the erstwhile capital of Myanmar has been turned into the largest city and chief economic hub of the nation, today. The city is a unique blend of Burmese, British, Chinese and Indian cultures. Renowned for its colonial architecture, it offers a stupendous insight into the 19th century British colony. Although, modern buildings have been constructed in the city with the introduction of private investment strategy by the Myanmar government in the 1990s, yet Yangon remains the city of the ancient world, reflected by its loongi dressed pedestrians, street hawkers and spicy smells.
Today, Myanmar is opening and it’s easy to travel over there. There are flights every day from Bangkok at a very low price and you will be there in less than 2 hours. Be sure to verify if you need a visa before going there and do note that ATM might be difficult to find (that was still the case in 2013).
The city’s existence seems to thrive on the legend that with the construction of Shwedagon Pagoda during the existence of Lord Buddha, modern Yangon was settled in the area around the temple. Despite being a legend, historians support it with the excavation of Dagon village (a Mon village) of 6th century A.D that has been present at the site of the modern Yangon.
Historians reveal that King Alaungpaya renamed the village Yangon (end of strife) when he conquered it from the rebel leaders of the Mon clan in 1755. During his rule, Yangon began to flourish and became a prominent port city.
The true significance of Yangon emerged during the British Rule, when they conquered it in the Second Burmese War, fought in 1852. Soon it was turned into the capital of British Burma Empire and chief mercantile centre of the country.
Yangon in 1988 was the location of serene democracy protests, and thousands of citizens including students and monks were shot at the site. The military renamed the city in 1989 to its original Burmese name –Yangon
Yangon continues to be a multi-ethnic city, inhabiting different cultures and ethnicities. Although most of the civilizations have eroded with time, yet the city displays the old world charm through its crowded streets and eroding architecture.
Yangon has a sub-tropical climate, distinctly divided into three seasons: Hot and dry summers (March- May), humid and pleasant monsoons (June- October), and cool, dry winters (November- February).
Millions of tourists flock the city during the winter season. Nonetheless, chief festivals are celebrated round the year. For instance, Thingyan (water festival) is rejoiced in April. The festivals are celebrated according to the lunar calendar, especially on the full-moon days of each month. Hence, each festival falls on a different day of the Roman calendar.
Schwedagon Pagoda, the main attraction of the city with Chinatown.
The Schwedagon Pagoda (Paya) is the most significant religious site in the country. The temple is constructed atop the sacred Singuttara Hill. The hill has been considered scared since the human evolution, a little before the beginning of our present world. However, an earthquake during the 18th century annihilated the upper half of the pagoda’s spire including several buildings. Today, it is a miraculous place which is often visited by both locals and tourists. The Shwedagon Pagoda opens for tourist visit from 6:30A.M. to10:00 P.M. The entrance fee is US$5, and the ticket booths are situated alongside the Eastern and Southern entrances.
Maha Ganda Bell (Singu Min Bell) is named after King Singu, who donated it to the Shwedagon Pagoda during the 18th century. The bell weighing 23 tonnes was cast between 1775 and 1779. The British endeavoured to take it to their home country as the war loot, after winning the First Burmese War of 1825 however they dropped it into the Yangon River. The story behind this act is that British military tried their level best to pull it out of the river but their technology was no good.
Dhammazedi is an inscription tablet describing the story of the Shwedagon in Pali, Burmese and Mon languages. It dates back to1485 and is amongst the rare verifiably antique items in the Shwedagon Pagoda complex.
Sule Paya (Sule Pagoda) is an exotic 46 m octagonal-shaped stupa that stands tall at the busiest junction in central Yangon. It was built 2000 years ago and according to the legend it houses a strand of the Buddha’s hair.
Zoological Gardens inaugurated in 1906 by the British, houses the country’s most expansive collection of wild animals. The Elephant Circus and Snake Dance are performed here for visitors. The garden remains open from 8:00 A.M until 6:00 P.M.
Get a fascinating glimpse of the daily life in Yangon by purchasing a US$1 ticket for the Circular Train.
More about Yagoon: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50651722@N03/sets/72157626159804933/
More pictures about the fabulous Schwedagon Pagoda: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50651722@N03/sets/72157627720138016/