Mandalay is the capital of Myanmar Last Kingdom and of Myanmar Kings, is situated in Central Myanmar 668 km north of Yangon. It was founded by King Mindon in 1857 and remained to be the official seat of Myanmar Kings until it was occupied by the British in 1885. It is both a bustling commercial center and a repository of rich cultural heritage. With the remains of the old Royal City and many old monasteries, Mandalay is a showcase for Myanmar art and architecture of the 19th century.
Maha Muni Pagoda: Revered as the holiest pagoda in Mandalay, this pagoda enshrines the famous Maha Muni Buddha image, which is said to have been cast in the life-time of and in the very presence of the Buddha. Consequently, devout Buddhists hold it to be alive and refer to it as the Maha Muni Sacred Living Image. The 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 devotees everyday. And 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.
The natural landmark of Mandalay, a vantage-point for panoramic view of the city. The stairways have been constructed from the bottom to top of the hill which you can climb at ease and rest as you go up the stairway. There is a saying that if you want to live long, you take refuge in the environs of Mandalay hill. It means that as climbing to the Mandalay hill on foot is good for health. And to pay homage to the pagoda along the way makes one live long.
You can pay homage to prominent pagodas along the stairway of Mandalay Hill. Besides, you can visit the shops of Myanmar traditional handmade toys, gifts such as beads.
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-kyaw Shwenandaw", the model of the Mandalay Palace, Nanmyint-saung have been rebuilt and the Cultural Museum is also located inside the palace grounds.
Famous for its intricate wood-carvings, this monastery is a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay Palace. It was originally built inside the Mandalay Palace but it was moved to the present site by King Thibaw in 1880.
Im Jahre 1857 von König Mindon nach der Vorlage der Shwe Zigon Pagode in Nyaung U erbaut, ist diese Pagode von 729 aufrechten Steintafeln umgeben, auf denen die gesamten, von der 5. buddhistischen Synode redigierten und genehmigten Schriften aufgezeichnet sind. Wegen dieser Steinschriften ist sie volkstümlich als "das größte Buch der Welt" bekannt.
Near the southern approach to Mandalay Hill stands the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda of the Buddha Image that was built by King Mindon in 1865. The Image was carved out of a huge single block of marble and sculpted. It was hauled to its position by nearly 12,000 men and took 13 days to transport the marble. The statues of 80 Arahants (the Great Disciples of the Buddha) are around the Image, 20 on each direction.
Located about 11 km upriver from Mandalay, on the west bank of the Ayeyawaddy River. The one hour boat trip to Mingun is a very pleasant way to see the real life on the river. Mingun has a gigantic unfinished pagoda, 50 meters high, overlooking the river, and the 90-ton Mingun Bell, the largest ringing bell in the world cast in 1170 by King Bodawpaya.
Ava situated on a small island, between the Ayeyarwaddy and Myittha rivers, was first founded as a capital by King Thado Minbya in 1364 A.D. It was destroyed by the earthquake of 1838. The ruins of the palace, the massive fort walls and moat can still be seen of the splendour of the past when it had been the capital for more than four and half centuries. The best way to explore this island is by horse cart. The king palace at that time does not exist any longer, however still the “Leaning Tower” of Inwa, 27 meter (90 feet) high masonry Watch Tower. The Maha Aung Mye Bon Zan Monastery, a brick-and-stucco monastery built by the Chief Queen of King Bagyidaw for her royal abbot (Nyaung Gan Sayadaw) in 1818 and the Bagayar Monastery, famous for its impressive ornate woodcarvings and teak posts are the high lights.
Sagaing lies 21 km southwest of Mandalay on the opposite bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Once you cross the Inwa Bridge, you see the hilltops, each crested with a pagoda, the banners proclaiming the Buddha's teaching, the refuge from all ills and tribulations where over 600 monasteries for monks and nuns are located for Buddhist studies and meditation. The Padamyazedi dates from 1300 while the U min Thonze or thirty caves pagoda has many Buddha images in a crescent shaped colonnade. Mural paintings can be seen in the Tilawkaguru cave temple, which was built around 1672. At the nearby village of Ywahtaung you can see silver workers producing bowls and other silver items by traditional methods. The most impressive Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin Pagoda nearby was constructed in 1312. The view of Sagaing from Soon Oo Pon Nya Shin and its approach is marvelous. About 10 km from Sagaing is the Kaunghmudaw, an enormous dome-shaped pagoda built by King Thalun in 1636, on the model of the Mahaceti Pagoda of Sri Lanka. At the nearby village of Ywataung, you can see silversmiths making silverware by traditional methods.
Over 1000 meters above sea-level, Pyin Oo Lwin is a popular hill station about 69km away from Mandalay. It is well known for its colonial style houses with large compound and pine trees, eucalyptus and silver-oak abound in town. Delightfully cool and pleasant the whole year round. It was founded by Myanmar official Maung Dwe in 1851 and later named as May Myo by British Colonel May in 1896. The 142-hecter well laid-out Botanical Garden, scenic Pwe-kauk Waterfalls, Chinese Temple in addition to British built colonial buildings are places worth visiting. Nearby are Peik-chin-hmyaung Cave and Gokteik Rail Bridge.
About 136 km to the west of Mandalay lies Monywa, the commercial center of the Chindwin Valley or northwestern Myanmar. Places of interest include Thanbokde Pagoda, with over 500,000 Buddha images; Bodhi-ta-taung (one thousand Bo trees): Ledi Kyaungtaik, a teaching monastery where Buddhist scriptures are inscribed on 806 stone slabs: and Kyaukka Village, known for its own distinctive style of lacquerware. Just on the other side of the Chindwin River and a 30 minutes drive by pick-up is the seldom visited 15th Phowin Taung temple complex where more than 450,000 sandstone Buddha’s were carved in the hillsides in caves, alcoves, or tiny niches. The cave murals are still intact with indigo blues and soft pastels. Many of the Buddha’s can be seen without entering the caves or niches and footwear is permitted as long as one is not entering the sanctuaries. A stunning Buddha not to be missed is the reclining Buddha resting on a rectangular stone mosaic which shimmers with cut glass."