Mandalay: Mandalay (Yadanabon ), the last capital of the Myanmar Kingdom, is in Central Myanmar, 688km due north of Yangon and second largest city after Yangon. The place where one will come closest to real Myanmar was founded along the Irrawaddy River in 1857 by King Mindon as capital of the last, independent Burmese kingdom. The city was named after Mandalay Hill. King Mindon created the city according to this ancient prophecy that foretold its creation on the 2400th jubilee of Buddhism.
King Mindon, on January 13, 1857, established the new kingdom of Yadanabon, or Ratanapura (“The Bejeweled Site”), and the new capital and royal city, Mandalay, originally called Lay Kyun Aung Mye (“Victorious Land over the Four Islands ”). “ Mandalay ” derives from the Pali words “Mandala” (a plains land) and “Mandare” (an auspicious land). When King Mindon broke the ground for the new capital, he also laid the foundations for the seven main edifices of Mandalay: the royal city with the battlemented walls, the moat surrounding it, the Maha Lawka Marazein Stupa, the higher ordination hall named the Pahtan-haw Shwe Thein, the Atumashi (“The Incomparable”) Monastery, the Thudhama Zayats (Public Houses for Preaching the Doctrine), and the library for the Buddhist scriptures.
King Thibaw, the son of King Mindon, succeeded his father to the throne until the British conquered Burma and Mandalay in 1886. The British turned the royal palaces of Mandalay into their military headquarters and christened the complex Fort Dufferin . Mandalay became the capital of Upper Burma . During World War II the Japanese captured the city. In 1942, they installed a military camp in the same place, which then was bombed by the Allies. When the War was over, nothing was left of the palace buildings.
Being rich in monasteries and pagodas, it is still accepted as the arts and cultural heart-land of Myanmar. For lovers of arts and crafts, Mandalay offers the largest repository of Myanmar arts and crafts. Skilled crafts men make world famous genie tapestry called Shwe Chi Htoe ( Gold thread Weaving), beautiful articles of ivory, wood, and stone, silver-ware and bronze statues according to the time-honored traditions of their fore-fathers.
It can also said that Mandalay is the center of Myanmar Culture, and it will give all people of arts and crafts lovers such as
wood carving, stone carvings, Bronze casting, gold beating, and gold embroidery or Kalakar making.
How to get there: It takes about 1.5 hour by air from Yangon. The trains are running which take about 16 hours. Yangon- Mandalay highway is over 700 km. The government and private express buses are also running everyday. Visitors are advised to check with tourist Information Services for flight train schedules.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN MANDALAY AREAS
Mandalay Hill: According to the legend, the Lord Buddhist visited to the top of the Hill and directed his hand to a spot prophesying his disciple that the famous pious king would found the Royal City and the King Mindon had to built the present day remain Place on the said spot. Mandalay Hill, 230 meters in elevation, commands a magnificent view of the city and surrounding countryside.
Entrance Fee: US$ 4
Mandalay Palace: The fire destroyed the whole magnificent palace complex
during the World War ll. However, the finely built palace walls, the city gays with their crowning wooden pavilions and the surrounding moat still present an impressive scene of the Mandalay Palace. Mya-nan-san-kyaw Golden Palace, the model of the Mandalay Palace, Nanmyint-saung, Cultural Museum and Pyi-gyi-mon Floating Restaurant in the moat is located inside the Palace grounds.
Entrance Fee: US$ 5 (Palace)
Entrance Fee: US$ 3 (Museum)
Shwe-nandaw Monastery: The only remaining apartment of Mandalay Palace in which the royal founder of Palace died after a prolonged illness. Famous for its intricate wood-carvings, this monastery is a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Palace. Actually, it was built inside Mandalay Palace but King Thibaw moved it and turned into monastery in 1880.
Entrance Fee: US$ 3
Maha- Myat Muni Pagoda: Revered as the holiest pagoda in Mandalay, it was built by King Bodawpaya in 1784. This pagoda enshrines the famous Maha-muni Buddha Image brought from Rakhing State. The early morning ritual ceremony of washing the Face of Buddha Image draws a large crowed of devotees everyday.
Entrance: US$ 4
Kuthodaw Pagoda: Known as Mahaatula Marrazein, meaning the royal bounty built by King Mindon in 1857. This pagoda is surrounded by 792 upright stone slabs on which are inscribed the entire Buddhist Scriptures known as Buddhist Canon. Known as " the Worlds Biggest Book" for its stone scriptures.
Entrance: US$ 2
Amarapura: Situated about 11 km south of Mandalay, Amarapura (the city of immortal) is an ancient capital of the Konbaung Dynasty. Patodawgyi Pagoda, U Pein Bridge ( 1208 meter ) built by Mayor U Pein with teak planks two centuries ago and silk weaving industries are places of interest to visit.
In-wa (Ava): A historical capital founded by King Thado Minbya
in 1364. Maha Aungmye Bonzan monastery built by the wife of king Mindon, is a fine example of Myanmar masonry and arts and architecture.
Mingun: Mingun, the small village is situated about 11 km upriver from Mandalay on the western bank of the Ayeyarwady river. Mingun is noted for its huge unfinished pagoda and 90-ton bell, the largest ringing bell in the world. A 45 minute boat trip to Mingun is very pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see.
Entrance: US$ 3
Sagaing: Sagaing lies 21 km south-west of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River. It is also an ancient capital of 'Sagaing Dynasty'. Sagaing Hills are known as a religious retreat where over 400 monasteries for monks and nuns are located at the foot of the hills who are dedicated for Buddhist studies and meditation. The hills is dotted with Pagodas and Temples that attracts the strangers to be visited. About 10 km from Sagaing is the Kaung-hmu-daw, an enormous dome-shaped pagoda, built by King Thalun in 1636 based on the model of the Maha-ceti Pagoda of Sri Lanka. There is also a village called Ywahtaung that well famous for its silver-smiths.
Kaung-hmu-daw & other Pagodas
Entrance: US$ 3
Monywa: About 136 km to the west of Mandalay is Monywa, the commercial center of Chindwin Valley. Places of interest are Than-boke-de pagoda adorned with over 500,000 Buddha images; Bidhi-tahtaung (one thousand Bo trees), Alantaya Buddha Reclining Image; Ledi Kyaungtaik, a teaching monastery where Buddhist Scriptures are inscribed on 806 stone slabs; and Kyaukka village, known for its own distinctive kind of lacquer-ware making.
Pyin-Oo-Lwin (May Myo): Over 1,100 meters in elevation, Pyinoolwin is located 69 km to the east of Mandalay. It enjoys cool and pleasant weather the whole year round. Places to visit includes Pwe-kauk waterfall Botanical Garden ( 142- hectare), the Chinese temple, Peik- chin-myaung cave and the local market where the hill-tribals are flocking there. Pyin-Oo-Lwin is the most favorite and ideal place for visitors during the summer to escape from the heat.
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