Mandalay, previous official name was Yadanabon, meaning the city of gems.Mandalayis  the second largest city in Myanmar and was established in 1857 by king Mindone.The city earned its name after the 236-meter high Mandalay hill. The beautiful scene of the whole city can be seen from the hill.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. Mandalay is best known not only for its rich traditional, cultural and spiritual splendor but also exquisite handicraft such as hand-woven embroidery in silk and cotton,the incredible process of making gold leaves, wood and stone carving and bronze casting etc. It is surrounded by its ancient neighboring cities as Mingun, Sagaing, Innwa (Ava), and Amarapura. Rudyard Kipling's "The Road to Mandalay," made the name of the last capital of Myanmar kings familiar even to those who had never heard of Myanmar or Burma,it is situated about 600 kilometers north of Yangon on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and in the upper part of Myanmar.You can be reached by air, rail, road or river; Flying is the best way to travel.

Sightseeing in Mandalay

The whole magnificent palace complex was destroyed by fire during the World War II. However, the finely built palace walls, the city gates with their crowning wooden pavilions and the surrounding moat still present an impressive scene of the Mandalay Palace. A number of palace buildings namely "Mya-nan-san-kyawShwenandaw " and  Nanmyint-saunghave been rebuilt to their original structure.

The Golden Palace Monastery (Shwenandaw) is great interest not only as a fine example of a traditional Myanmar wooden monastery, but as a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Fort. At one time, this building was part of the palace complex and was used as an apartment by King Mindon and his chief Queen. That building was moved to this site in 1880 by King Thibaw after his father death in it. The building is covered inside and out with carved panels. Unfortunately many of the exterior panels have weathered badly and have been removed but inside are still in excellent condition.

Kuthodaw Pagoda, Built by KingMindon in 1857, modeling on the ShweZigon at Nyaung U, this pagoda is surrounded by 729 upright stone slabs on which are inscribed the entire Buddhist Scriptures as edited and approved by the 5th Buddhist Synod. It is popularly known as "the Worlds Biggest Book" for its stone scriptures.

The landmark of Mandalay, is situated to the northeast corner of the royal palace and 230 meters in elevation. The hill has for long been a holy mount and legend has said Buddha on His visit had made a prophecy that a great city would be founded at its foot.At present, the construction of motor-car road to reach hill-top is completed so that a drive-up access can be made easily. Mandalay Hill, commands a magnificent view of the city and surrounding countryside. 

The Mahamuni Image in sitting posture is 12 feet and 7 inches (3.8 meters) high. It was brought to Mandalay from Rakhine State during the reign of King Bodawpaya in 1784. The early morning ritual of washing the Face of the Buddha Image draws a large crowd of devotee’s everyday.  The image is also considered as the greatest, next to Shwedagon Pagoda, in Myanmar. A visit to Mandalay would be incomplete without a visit to Maha Muni Pagoda.

Kyauktawgyi Buddha Image which was carved form a huge single block of marble and sculpted. The marble blocks form the mine of nearby Mandalay. It required 10, 000 men laboring for 13 days for transport to the current site. The Buddha Image that was built by King Mindon completed in 1865.The statues of 80 Arahants (the Great Disciples of the Buddha) are around the Image, 20 on each direction.

The "AtumashiKyaung" (meaning the Incomparable Monastery) is also one of the worth-seeing places. Built by King Mindon in 1878, it was partially destroyed by fire in 1890. It was indeed an inimitable one in its heyday. The reconstruction work on the monastery has been done by the government in 1996.

Around Mandalay