Mandalay - Where Inherits Burmese Cultural Heritages
25 May 2017 by KATE LE
Mandalay is located on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River and in the upper part of Myanmar. The city is the second largest one in Myanmar and has a lot of charms which need to be discovered. This following text will concentrate on highlights of Mandalay.
History of Mandalay
Mandalay was established by King Mingdon Min in 1957 as a new capital of Ava Kingdom. It used to be a splendour city from 1858 to 1885 before destroyed in The Second World War. Then, many buildings of King Mingdon Min were reconstructed and restored. Today, the city is a main commercial centre of upper Myanmar and for trade with China and India.
Mandalay in Myanmar
Things to See and Do in Mandalay
Mandalay Palace located in the centre of Mandalay is one of the most attractive tourist destinations of the city. It took 5 years to complete this first palace of Mandalay (from 1867 to 1861). The royal palace was reconstructed in the 1990s with more than 40 timber buildings as the originals. The splendid palace was made of teak wood on brick gilded base. The most outstanding structure is a high golden pyramid with multi-levels. In the heart of the palace grounds is a square surrounded by fortified high walls with ramparts and the beautiful deep moat. Besides, the building includes water systems, roads, gardens, playgrounds and swimming pools. It is easily to see the great handicrafts indicating the glory of the golden age in this magnificent palace.
Overview of Mandalay Palace in Mandalay
Another spot travellers must visit is Kuthodaw Paya (Pagoda). It is known as the World's Largest Book and located at the southeast stairways to Mandalay Hill and was built by King Mingdon in the 1800s. This paya contains 729 pitaka pagodas or shrines. Each white stupa contains a marble slab inscribed the Pali script text in gold ink. These Buddhism’s sacred texts relate to holy teachings and represent the entire 15 books of the Buddhist Tripitaka. People said that it takes eight years to write all these books. The way at the south entrance gate will lead visitors directly to the main structure. Various rows of trees create a pleasant space for an afternoon walk. The sunset makes the pagoda more majesty that is a striking scene for tourists to have awesome photos.
Stupas at Kuthodaw Paya in Mandalay
The majority of tourists having a visit to Mandalay usually go to Mandalay Hill with 230m in height. There are two big lion statues at the southeast entrance to guard this scared hill. Although visitors and pilgrims can drive and use escalator, most of them climb 1,729 steps of the southern stairway where has a guardian with half-lion and half-dragon named Chinthes. Because this is considered as an important experience when going to this area and good for your health and soul. Along the stairways of the hill are some pagodas and traditional handmade shops. There is a giant standing Buddha statue pointing his right hand towards the city. The top of the tower here is an ideal site for tourists to watch sunrise, sunset as well as 360-degree viewpoint of the city including Mandalay Palace, Fortress, Ayeyarwady River and Shan Hills.
Pagodas at Mandalay Hill in Mandalay
Shwenandaw Kyaung is a monastery known as one of the most important historic buildings in Mandalay. Because this Golden Palace Monastery is the sole major remain of Royal Palace built in the 19th century. This monastery becomes more and more popular for tourists and photographers. The structure is a typical example of teak architecture of Myanmar in 19th century. It is also a masterpiece of the wood-carver’s art because of the interior gilded scenes of Buddha’s stories.
Shwenandaw Kyaung in Mandalay
Jade Market is a famous place for fans of shopping. Jade is divided into two types: jadeite and nephrite. In last periods, these types of rocks are much rarer and more valuable. Because they are only found in 12 quarries in the world. Among these, Myanmar is one of the main sources. On the way of the market, travellers will easily meet mass of jade traders. You can sit down and observe craftsmen cutting and polishing their jades in the area. Jades here are in various colors ranging from popular ones such as semi-translucent green, pale turquoise, emerald green to special ones such as pink, orange. Visitors can buy statues carved from huge chunks of the green rock or jewellery made from tiny pieces.
Colorful jades at Jade Market, Mandalay
How about strange teahouses, great street food as well as the living of local people in Mandalay? Plan to discover the cultural capital of Myanmar right now.