||Mandalay (Yadanabon), the last capital of
the Myanmar kingdom, is in Central Myanmar, 688 km due north
of Yangon. It is the largest city after Yangon and is the
place where one will come closet to real Myanmar. The royal
city came into being only in 1859 when "King Mindon"
established it as new center for the teaching of Buddhism.
The King also made Mandalay as his capital, moving from near
by Amarapura to the newly built Royal Palace at the foot of
the Mandalay Hill. Being rich in monasteries and
pagodas, it is still accepted as the arts and
cultural heartland of Myanmar. For lovers of arts
Skilled crafts-men make world
famous genuine tapestry called "Shwe Chi Htoe"
(Golden Weaving), beautiful articles of ivory, wood, marble
and stone, silverware and bronze statues according to the
time-honored traditions of their fore-fathers.
It takes about one hour and thirty
minutes by air from Yangon. There are daily flights during
the tourist season from October to May. The new
International Airport has already finished & opened .Express
trains are running which takes about 14 hours. Yangon-
Mandalay highway is over 700km and overland travelers are
advised to break journey at Taungoo ( 280 km ) or at
Meikhtila ( 540 km ) where there are hotels for overnight
stay. The government and private express busses are also
PLACE OF INTEREST IN MANDALAY AREAS
The hill has for long been a holy mount
and legend has it that the Buddha on His visit had
prophesied that a great city would be founded at its foot.
Mandalay Hill,230 metres in elevation, commands a
magnificent view of the city and surrounding countryside. At
present, it has already finished the construction of
motorcar road to reach hilltop easily.
The fire during the World War II
destroyed the whole magnificent palace complex. However, the
finely built palace walls, the city gates with their crowing
wooden pavilions and the surrounding moat still present an
impressive scene of the Mandalay Palace " Mya-nan-san-kyaw
Shwenandaw" , the model of the Mandalay Palace,
Nanmyintsaung, Cultural Museum and Pyi-gyi-mon Floating
Restaurant in the moat are located inside the Palace
Famous for its intricate woodcarvings,
this monastery is a fragile reminder of the old Mandalay
Palace. Actually, it was built inside Mandalay Palace but it
was moved to this place by King Thibaw in 1880.
Maha Muni Pagoda
The Image is said to have been cast in
the lifetime of the Gautama Buddha and that the Buddha
embraced it 7 times there by bringing it to life.
Consequently, devout Buddhists hold it to be alive and refer
to it as the Maha Muni Sacred Living Image. Revered as the
holiest pagoda in Mandalay. It was built by King Bodawpaya
in 1784. The Image in sitting posture is 12 feet and 7
inches ( 3.8 metres ) high. This pagoda enshrines the famous
Maha Muni Buddha Image brought from Rakhine State also
called the Rakhine Buddha Image. The early morning ritual of
washing the face of 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 is incomplete without a visit to Maha Muni Pagoda.
Built by King Mindon in 1857, this pagoda
modeled on the Shwe Zigon Pagoda at Nyaung U, 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 World Biggest
Book" for its stone scriptures.