Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar and was established in 1857. It lies on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and in the upper part of Myanmar. Mandalay has the Royal Palace of the last Konbaung Dynasty. Mandalay inherits many cultural heritage from the ancient Myanmar Kingdoms and beautiful places to visit. In Mandalay, you come closest to the real Myanmar of old. The second largest city of Myanmar, with a population of 700,000, here lies the cultural heart of Myanmar where the most refined arts, traditions of dance, music and drama live on. Mandalay is also known for its fine gold and silver crafts, wood and marble carving, silk thread weaving and ancient tapestry. The last capital of the Myanmar kingdom, Mandalay not only offers wonderful sights to behold, but also has a number of nearby attractions, most historical and fascinating, all within a 3.2 kilometre radius - from cool hill resorts to nostalgic market places, from an ancient palace to a river ride up the famous "Road to Mandalay", the Ayeyarwady River, or a ride in unique trishaws or horse-drawn carts.
Mandalay consist of five main townships namely Aung Myay Thar Zan, Chan Aye Thar Zan, Mahar Aung Myay, Chan Mya Tharzi and Pyigyi Tagun Townships. Mandalay Hill is a popular destination to visit while you are in Mandalay. The beautiful scene of the whole city can be seen from the hill. Royal Palace, Sanda Muni and Shwenandaw Monastery are a few more.
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. Every one who arrived in Mandalay, the ancient capital of Myanmar, usually goes to Mandalay Hill, the landmark of Mandalay, which overlooks the city. At the bottom in front of the southwest entrance are the two immense statue of Lions guard the holy hill. If you drive by car from the archway of Mandalay hill, you will reach the entrance of escalator of the hill. From there, you can proceed to the top of the Mandalay hill by escalator and pay homage to Su Taung Pyi Pagoda,means wish-granting Pagoda, built by King Anawratha in 414 Myanmar Era.It was patronized and renovated by successive KonBaung Kings. You can study documentary photos of Mandalay hill on the platform of Pagoda.
The pagoda and its ancillary pavilion are located near the top of Mandalay Hill, the holy hill from which the Buddha reportedly predicted that a great religious city would emerge at its base. It is suggested that the pagoda was originally built by the great builder of Bagan, King Anawratha, in 1052. This "wish-granting" pagoda was often renovated by its patrons, the Konbaung kings, in later years. Perhaps the most famous of the renovators of the religious structures on Mandalay Hill was U Khan Dee. the famous and legendary "Hermit on the Hill", who spent 41 years of his life on the hill raising funds for many structures, including Sutaungpyai, where he spent many years.
This pagoda was built by King Mindon in 1857. Within its premises may be found what is popularly known as "The World’s Largest Book" - the complete Buddhist Scriptures inscribed on 729 upright stone slabs surrounding the pagoda.
A golden city within a city, this was King Mindon’s centre of glory- a truly magnificent palace complex. However, it was tragically destroyed by allied bombing during World War Two. An exact replica of the old palace is now being built inside the walls. The finely built palace walls, surrounded by a moat, a delight for artists, architects, painters and photographers, is a sight to behold. The Royal Mandalay Palace is located between 12th street and 26th street, in the heart of Mandalay city.Mandalay Palace was the first palace to be built in Mandalay, by King Mindon when he shifted his capital from Amarapura in 1861, to fulfill an old prophecy.The site was chosen with the auspicious omen and astronomical calculations.
Visitors to Amarapura can still see the tombs of King Bodawpaya who died there on 5th June 1819. located to the north of Shwezaga Pagoda. and also of King Bagyidaw. located east of Pyatthat Gyi Village . King Bagyidaw died in Amarapura on 15th October 1846 after being de-throned in 1837. These two white washed brick mausoleums have inscriptions in English and Myanmar. They are actually small chedis (pagodas) enshrining the cremated bones of the two famous kings. There is another smaller chedi enshrining the bones of King Tharrawaddy who died in Amarapura on 17th November 1846. This is located to the north of the palace site close to the present family lines of the 3rd Battalion. Electrical and Mechanical Engineersl Corps II. Tourists can ask the local people to guide them to these mausoleums.Amarapura is famous for the Silk Weaving Industry. Most of the Myanmar people are very proud to attend the cultural ceremonies with Achiek Longyi. mainly produced from Amarapura. Not very far from Mandalay city and accessible by car. .
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.
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. Shweinbin Monastery is situated on the 89th Street, between 38th and 39th Street, in Mahar Aung Myay Township. It was donated by a Chinese merchant U Set Shwin. He was born in China, Yunan Province and then moved to Mandalay. He became an orphan at the age of 14 and he struggled through life to became a merchant. He married to one of the niece of King Bagan. Finally he was able to donate this great monastery. At present there are 35 monks that live in the monastery complex which is held up by the classical teak foundation that is often seen throughout the country but rarely in as good condition as at this illuminating site.
An ancient capital of the Myanmar Monarchy, 11 kilometres south of Mandalay, Amarapura’s attractions include the Patodawgyi Pagoda, U Pein’s Bridge and the silk weaving industry.
The lure of Sagaing, 21 kilometres south west of Mandalay, on the west bank of Ayeyarwady, is the Sagaing Hills - a spiritual recluse for Buddhist studies and meditation. The Kaunghmudaw - a gigantic dome-shaped pagoda and the Ywahtaung Village - home of silver craftsman are other points of interest.
This small but well laid out museum is run by the Archaeological Department. On display here are ancient artifacts found within Pagan. Whether mural paintings, plaster carvings or bas-relief, many are of high artistic quality - marvellous relics of Pagans glory
The 11-kilometre boat ride up the famous Ayeyarwady river from Mandalay to Mingun promises a pleasant adventure. Boatmen in their gliding vessels on mirror-like waters, the lively chatter of womenfolk on floating platforms with their laundry, mighty boat-pullers, smiling carefree children and bamboo homes in green fields - all these sights make it a shutterbug’s dream voyage. At the end of this picturesque trip, you will come face to face with the "World’s Biggest Ringing Bell" - The Mingun Bell. Another principal sight is the colossal ruined base of the Mingun pagoda- an unfinished work of King Bodawpaya, which if it had been completed, would have supported the largest pagoda in the world.