The last royal capital city of Myanmar kings located at the foot of the Mandalay Hill is situated on the eastern banks of Ayeyarwady river in the dry zone of Myanmar. It is linked by air, rail, road and river with Yangon and other principal towns of Myanmar.
It was found by King Mindon in 1857. He built a new capital with palace and monasteries which are masterpiece of traditional Myanmar architecture. Mandalay is the country's second largest city and the cultural heart of Myanmar.
Well known for Myanmar traditional arts and crafts, silk weaving, tapestry, stone and wood carving and rich in historical memorials and Buddhist buildings. Visitors can make a lot of short trips to Amarapura, Mingun,Sagaing, Innwa and Pyin Oo lwin.
Things to do in Mandalay
The Mahamuni Pagoda was built to enshrine the Mahamuni Buddha image which was brought from Rakhine by King Bodawpaya in 1784. It exits to the south of Mandalay. The Buddha image cast in bronze is coated with gold leaves but only the face is not allowed to be gilded. Being the most venerated Buddha image, the temple is crowed by the devotees and the Buddha's face cleansing ritual is done everyday in the early morning.
Standing to the northeast of Mandalay, covered with pagodas, small temples, Buddha images and religious structures. The original name of the city was the Yadanabon. Later the city was renamed Mandalay as it lies near Mandalay Hill and the name has stuck. While the construction works were going on Mandalay Hill, two huge snakes were found and they were released unharmed into the forest. Their concrete figures can still be seen on the hill. From the hill top one can enjoy a panoramic view over the city and sunset.
Mandalay Royal Palace
The Royal Palace ' Mya Nan San Kyaw ' was built by king Mindon at the foot of Mandalay Hill. The Palace was destroyed by fire during Second World War leaving only the moat and the city walls to remind Myanmars of their olden golden days. Now Mandalay Palace has been reconstructed to the original design in the place of the old one on the palace ground with the traditional Myanmar wooden architecture.
Kuthodaw Pagoda was built by king Mindon in 1857 and known as ' the World's Largest Book '. King Mindon made Mandalay a centre of Buddhist teaching, convening the Fifth Buddhist Synod and the complete Buddhist Scriptures were inscribed on the 729 marble slabs and housed in small shrines in the pagoda compound.
Golden Palace Monastery
The Shwe Nandaw or Golden Palace Monastery is one of the hundreds of monasteries in Mandalay. The whole part of monastery is built by teak wood carved all over with motifs and mythical creatures. It was once the private residence of king Mindon. After king Mindon passed away, the Shwe Nandaw Kyaung was donated to the monks as a meditation centre by his heir king Thibaw. The monastery is of great interest and one of the fine specimens of typical Myanmar wood carving.
Amarapura lies about 11 km south of Mandalay and accessible by car from Mandalay. Amarapura means ' the Immortal City ' and it was founded by King Bodawpaya. It was the second last capital city of Myanmar kings. The city is famous for silk and cotton weaving industry and bronze casting is also can be seen.
There are several interesting sites to attract the tourists in Amarapura. Places of interest; Taungthaman Lake situated to the south of Amarapura and the famous U Bein Bridge, 1.2 km long teak bridge spans the Taungthaman Lake. Kyauktawgyi pagoda made by a single marble stone and its architecture and fresco murals are special interest. Mahagandayone monastery, famous for its teachings and strict disciplines and lunch time is the most attractive scene for tourists.
Mingun is a town in Sagaing Division Located on the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy river. It can be accessible by boat from Mandalay. King Bodawpaya planned to build the Mingun Pagoda, but it was never completed. One of the famous, a massive pagoda was left unfinished. The pagoda had suffered from earthquake and there are huge cracks in the structure. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of the Ayeyarwaddy from there.
King Bodawpaya had cast a gigantic bell known as Mingun Bell to donate to the pagoda. The Bell was made of bronze and now it remains as the largest ringing bell in the world. The Bell weighs 90 tons and is located next to the Mingun Pagoda. The Myatheindan Pagoda built by King Bagyidaw in the memory of his senior wife Sinbyume is one of the interests. The pagoda is situated next to the Mingun Bell.
Situated on the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy river, 21 km southwest of Mandalay. Sagaing is known as a meditation centre and surrounded by hundreds of pagodas, monasteries and nunneries. It has the second largest number of pagodas and religious buildings in Myanmar. Sagaing hills are best-known as a religious retreat and one of the best scenic spots in Myanmar. Kaung-hmu-daw pagoda, hemispherical in shape, Soon Oo Ponnya Shin pagoda with the beautiful scenery of Sagaing, Umin Thonze ( thirty caves ) pagoda with many Buddha images and Ywahtaung village where one can see silver workshop producing silver items by traditional methods are places of interest.
Innwa ( Ava )
Innwa is a small town south of Amarapura, 17 km away from Mandalay. It was one of the ancient capital cities and known as Yadana Pura, ' the City of Gems'. The ruins of the palace, the massive fort walls and moat can still be seen as the splendour of the past.
The sites to see in Innwa are Nanmyint Watch Tower, also known as the Leaning Watch Tower as it was damaged and leaning due to the earthquarth; Maha Aung Mye Bonzan monastery or Mai Nu Oke Kyaung, a brick and stucco monastery decorated with flora and mythical animals donated by Queen Mai Nu; Bagaya monastery built by all-teak wood, 267 teak pillars holding up the raised floor and the low ceilings.
Pyin Oo Lwin
Pyin Oo Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo is situated on the western bank of Ayeyarwaddy river and accessible by car from Mandalay. The city is over 1000 meters above sea level and famous as a summer resort attracting large numbers of visitors during the hot season. The weather is delightfully cool and pleasant all the year round. The varieties of seasonal flowers and hundreds of wild orchids collected from all over the country are grown in the National Gardens, formerly known as the Botanical Gardens and the flowers are blooming at all times. Pyin Oo Lwin is also famous for its coffee industry and many strawberry fields. The favorite picnic spots; Pwe Kauk Waterfall and Peik Chin Myaung Cave with many beautiful springs.