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The Mahamuni Pagoda, with its gold-leaf-covered Buddha image, and the Kuthodaw Pagoda, home to the world's largest book, are the most sacred sites in Mandalay, an otherwise modern city founded as the Burmese capital in 1861. Visitors tend to come here en route to the nearby historic monuments of Ava, Sagaing and Amarapura – a journey taking you deep into the heart of this beautiful country. Another uniquely Burmese spectacle worth stopping for is that of Mahagandavon Monastery’s 1,200 resident red-robed monks queuing en masse for lunch.