Mandalay is the second largest city after Yangon and the last capital of Myanmar’s monarchy. It is located at 668km north from Yangon. The city was founded in 1857 by King Mindon. Mandalay is well known as the centre of Myanmar culture and famous for the wonderful Mandalay Royal Palace surrounding by the fondly built Palace Walls and wooden pavilions city gates and its association with royal moat. It is surrounded by other ancient royal capitals, Sagaing, Ava (Inwa) and Amarapura, which are highly interesting sightseeing destinations due to their historical and religious importance – in ancient times as well as at present. In Mandalay, visitors can watch traditional handicrafts being made, such as tapestries, marionettes, bronze casting, stone and woodcarving.
WHERE TO VISIT
MAHA MYAT MUNI BUDDHA IMAGE (PAYAGYI)
It is the landmark of Mandalay. 4m-high seated image is cast in bronze completely covered the figure in a 15cm- thick layer of gold leaf by thousands of devout Buddhists over the years. King Bo Daw paya brought the image from Rakhine State in 1784. Many devotees are present everyday visiting the pagoda. It is the must to visit while you are in Mandalay. Each morning at 4 am, Yedaw Sayadaw and his accompany wash the Mahamuni’s face and even brush its teeth – an event well worth getting up early to see.
Known as the world’s biggest book for standing around the central stupa are 729 marble slabs on which are inscribed the entire Tripitaka. Each slab is housed in its own individual small stupa. Built in 1859 by King Mindon. Those who wish to study Buddhism treatise completely there. “Pali” Language is used in the inscription.
This Atumashi Kyaung (unrivalled Monastery), traditional Myanmar Monastic construction – a masonry base topped by a wooden building was built in 1857 by King Mindon. It was caught fire in 1890. Although it is now only a pale shadow of its original form, the ruined building is still impressive.
SHWE NANDAW MONASTERY
Shwenandaw Monastey is close to Atumashi monastery. This Shwenandaw Kyaung (The Golden Monastery) is of great interest, not only as a fine example of a traditional Myanmar wooden monastery, but also as a fragile reminder of old Mandalay Fort.
SHWE INBIN MONASTERY
Shweinbin Monastery is located at the southwest corner of Mandalay City. This attractive monastery built in traditional Burmese fashion is one of the few buildings that have survived the test of time. Constructed in 1895 by Chinese merchants, the monastery consists of many impressive woodcarvings and also contains a number of admirable works of art.
Just outside the North of downtown, Mandalay Hill which summit is 230 m above the surrounding plain is the natural watch-tower for the visitors to watch sunrise or sunset over the city plains. Legend claims that Lord Buddha had made a prophecy that a great city would be arisen at the foot of Mandalay hill which rises to 230 meters. Half an hour climb up the steps brings you to the panoramic view over the palace, Mandalay and pagoda studded countryside. There is an elevator at the main entrance to save your walk.
Mandalay Palace was the first palace to be built in Mandalay, by King Mindon when he shifted his capital from Amarapura in 1861, to fulfil an old prophecy. But the palace was almost completely destroyed by fire during the World War II but the remaining-palace walls, city gates and the moat can still be seen. Models or replicas of the palace were built recently.
Some 11 km south of Mandalay is the town of Amarapura. It was the capital of Konbaung Dynasty during the reign of King Bodawpaya when he moved its capital to Amarapura in 1783. After forty years of reigns, the capital was moved to Inwa and Amarapura was left desolated. Although the glorious days of Amarapura were short-lived, the great events occurred during the reigns. Places of interest are Pahtodawgyi Pagoda, U Bein Bridge, 1.2 km long teak bridge across the Taungthaman Lake, Kyauktawgyi Pagoda, Nagayon Pagoda, Mahagandaryone Monastery with a famous collection of Buddha Images where more than a thousand of monks who take their last meal of the day at 10 am in the morning in total silence and Cotton and Silk Weaving Cottage Industry. Significantly, U Bein Bridge attracts foreign tourists for its unusual bridge construction-with no nails studded. It is an amazing Myanmar's old architecture method indeed. U Bein Bridge attracts tourists for its unusual bridge construction with no nails studded.
U BEIN BRIDGE
U Bein Bridge is about three quarter of a mile, crossing the Taung-tha-man Inn (lake). It is one of the most attractive spot for tourists. It is the longest teak bridge in the world and is about two centuries old. U Bein Bridge is about three quarter of a mile, crossing the Taung-tha-man Inn (lake). It is one of the most attractive spot for tourists. It is the longest teak bridge in the world and is about two centuries old.
This bridge became to be known as U Bein Bridge after the name of the donor, U Bein who was a clerk to the Mayor of Amarapura. It was constructed in 1849 from old planks and timber posts of dismantled houses in Sagaing and Inwa. It took nearly two years to finish, but since it was opened in 1851 it has constantly been in use by the people and in recent years by foreign visitors also. There are now 1086 posts and 482 spans. At 9 points, were what served as drawbridges which were built to allow the royal barges and war boats to go under the bridge and out to the Ayeyarwadi River in the old days.
The Kyauktawgyi Pagoda was built by King Bagan in 1847 on the model of the Ananda Temple at Bagan.
It closely resembles the Ananda in exterior form but it falls short of the latter in construction and interior decoration. Unlike the Ananda, which has perfect vaulted roofs, the Kyauktawgyi has wooden rafters and beams, which account for the weakness of the structure. There is one principal image carved out of a single block of Sagyin marble. The walls in the east and south porches are adorned with paintings depicting many religious buildings erected by the donor and other kings in different parts of the country, and scenes from contemporary Burmese life.
In the southern part of Amarapura, the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda modeled on the Mahazedi of Sri Lanka. The foundation of this pagoda was laid by King Bagyidaw and his Queen on 2nd March 1820. The pagoda was completed on 19th February 1824. The base measures 180 feet in circumference, and the height also measures 180 feet. The official title of the pagoda is Maha Vijayaramsi. This well preserved pagoda stood outside the old city walls. The lower terraces have marble slabs illustrating scenes from the Jataka. You'll have a fine view over the surrounding countryside from the upper terrace. An inscription stone, within the temple precincts, details the history of the pagoda's construction.
Located about 11 km upriver from Mandalay on the western banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, is a town well-known for its 90 ton Mingun Bell, the largest ringing bell in the world; a mammoth unfinished Mingun Pagoda overlooking the Ayeyarwaddy River; Settawya Pagoda, and Sinbyume Pagoda and 45 minutes cruise along the river can view some of the village life of the people on the river banks.
MINGUN PAYA (PAHTODAWGYI)
It is one of the famous buildings in the world. The building of Mingun Pahtodawgyi started in 1791. Hand it been completed it would have a height of some 500 feet. It was stopped at 162 feet height. Its girth is about 450 square feet. This is Pondawya Pagoda which is prototype of Mingun Pahtodawgyi. You can study Myanmar arts and crafts of Kongbaung period in Mingun Pahtodawgyi. King Bodawpaya built Mingun Pahtodawgyi aiming to worship from Shwebo in the distance where he has ascended the throne. The pagoda was left unfinished. Two enormous prominent statues of lions in Mingun, one of the tourist attractions is at the east stairway of Pahtodawgyi which faces the Ayeyawaddy river.From here, you can also enjoy natural scenic beauty of Ayeyawady river and green and pleasant Minwun hill. If this pagoda was completed, then it would have been the largest monument. This unfinished structure was badly damaged with cracks by the earthquake of 1838 but it is still the largest brick base in the world.
King Bodawpaya dedicated a big bronze bell near the Mingun Cedi at Mingun on the west bank of the Ayeyawaddy River, facing Mandalay. The Bell was made of bronze; but it is said that Buddhist devotees inserted gold, silver ornaments and jewellery into the bronze. It weighs 55555 viss. It is the world's biggest ringing bell.
HSINBYUME OR MYATHEINDAN PAGODA
Built by King Bagyidaw in 1816, three years before he succeeded Bodawpaya as king, the pagoda was constructed in memory of his senior wife the Hsinbyume princess. It is built as a representation of the Sulamani Pagoda which, according, to the Buddhist plan of the cosmos, stands atop Mount Meru. The seven wavy terraces around the pagoda represent the seven mountain ranges around Mount Meru. This pagoda was badly damaged in 1838 by a quake but King Mindon restored it in 1874.
MINGUN HOME FOR THE AGED
It is one of the tourist attractions. It was founded by Daw Oo Zun herself in senior year in 1915 with a view to looking after old destitute and in need of care and comfort. It is the first home for the ages establish in Myanmar.
Another place you can study is the monastery where Sayadaw U Viseitta Sara Vivamsa winner of Tipitaka Title resided. The late sayadaw was listed in the Guinness Book of records as one of the most intelligent men in the world.
One of the most scenic sites of Myanmar with numerous pagodas crowning the top of the hills lay 21 km south-west of Mandalay and west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Sagaing is famous as a Buddhists retreat where over 400 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation around the Sagaing Hill which is dotted with pagodas. Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda, the dome shaped Kaung Hmudaw Pagoda, and Ywahtaung (home of the silversmiths' guilds) are places worth visiting. Innwa Tadar (Ava Bridge) is the oldest bridge built across Ayeyarwaddy. Nearby is the famous Thabyedan Fort. Myanmar of all over the country would visit Sagaing for the purpose of religious retreat.
Innwa lies at the confluence of the Ayeyarwaddy and the Dothtavati rivers about 20 miles south west of Mandalay. The King Thadominbya founded the city in 1364 and it flourished for nearly three hundred years bringing forth its Myanmar culture and literature to the highest pitch. Nanmyint Watch Tower, Maha Aung Myay Bonzan Monastery, Bagaya Wooden Monastery, Menu brick monastery and alms bowls and Lacquer ware Industry are the highlights of Inwa.