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MANDALAY PROVINCE

mandalay
The name “Mandalay” derived from Man-da-lar, means the centre of the Universe. The old name is Ya-da-nar-pu-ra, means “city of gems”. Mandalay is the last Royal city of Burmese king (1752-1885) and the second largest city in Myanmar with the population of about 1.3 millions.
 
It is the centre of the Myanmar culture, arts and crafts, Myanmar literature, music, dance, the core of the Buddhist learning as well as important trade centre in Myanmar, well known for the presence of significant monasteries, pagodas, temples, religious edifies and also for Mandalay palace. Mandalay still remains its old cultural traditions and it is home for the Myanmar handicrafts. It has been called “bicycle city” as bicycles are mainly used for transportation purposes; to their work or to their school, etc. Nowadays we should name it again “Motorcycle city” as so many motorbikes in the streets.
 
There is a variety of interesting things in Mandalay and ancient cities around, Amarapura, Iva and Sagaing. The travellers can enjoy the short boat trip along the Ayeyarwaddy to Mingun where the enormous Pagoda and the 3rd biggest bell in the world built.
 
With its shady trees, parks and beautiful lakes, it has been called the garden city of the east. The colonial buildings, different religious monuments and great Shwedagon Pagoda add Yangon to be a beautiful city.
CLIMATE
Mandalay is much hotter and drier than Yangon to the south. During the peak of the wet season in May and June, the total rainfall is only about a quarter of the rain that Yangon receives. Although temperatures in the hot season from March to May can be quite warm, in the cool season from December to February, night-time temperatures can be downright cold. You should definitely bring a jacket or sweater for evening wear.
HOW TO GET THERE ?
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 project of Mandalay is under construction. Express trains are running which take about 14 hours. Yangon-Mandalay highway is over 700 km and overland travellers are advised to break journey at Taungoo (280 km) or at Meiktila (540 km) where there are hotels for overnight stay. The government and private express buses are also running everyday. Visitors are advised to check with Tourist Information Services for flight / train / express bus schedules.
 
By Air
There are daily flights from Yangon to Mandalay via Air Bagan, Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, and Myanmar Air. Mandalay now has an International Airport, so there are also flights from other countries directly landing to Mandalay.
 
By Train
Mandalay has a new Yadanarbon Central Railway Station in downtown area. It is a seven-storey complex, including two floors devoted to a hotel. The old station is on the further south of the new one. There are daily schedules from Yangon to Mandalay.
 
By Bus and Express
There are daily local express from Yangon to Mandalay and many other parts of the country.
GETTING AROUND
Air
There are daily flights from Yangon to Mandalay via Air Bagan, Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, and Myanmar Air. Mandalay now has an International Airport, so there are also flights from other countries directly landing to Mandalay.
 
Bus and Express
There are daily local express from Yangon to Mandalay and many other parts of the country.
 
Taxi
Pickups and vans are available to travel around Mandalay, Amarapura, Inwa, and Sagaing.
 
Train
Mandalay has a new Yadanarbon Central Railway Station in downtown area. It is a seven-storey complex, including two floors devoted to a hotel. The old station is on the further south of the new one. There are daily schedules from Yangon to Mandalay.
 
Motorbike
Motorbikes can be seen everywhere in Mandalay. Travelling by motorbike can be very convenient in local places. So, motorbikes can be rented mostly everywhere in Mandalay.
 
Boat
The Inland Water Transport office is located at the Gawwein Jetty at the western end of 35th Street.
 
Bicycle
There are several places downtown where you can rent bicycles.
WHAT TO SEE ?
Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image
The Maha Myat Muni Pagoda is located at the Southwest of Mandalay, where inside lies the Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image. The Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image is the most revered Buddha image in Mandalay. It is also known as the Phaya Gyi. It is the most ancient Buddha image in Myanmar. It was cast in the life-span of Lord Buddha in the seated posture of relaxed deportment, namely Bumi Phasa Mudras, symbolic of His Conquest of Mara. The 4m high-seated image is cast in bronze and weigh 6.5 tons, which it's crown is decorated with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image was being cast in front of the Buddha himself it can say Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image is the portrait of Buddha and the face is most revered. Every morning at 4:30AM, a team of monks washes the face and brushes the teeth. Since Myanmar Buddhists are so devout countless thousands of devotees apply gold leaf to gain merit, the image has completely covered with 15 cm thick gold and original shape is distorted.
 
Kuthodaw Pagoda
Kuthodaw Pagoda is located at the base of the southeast stairways to Mandalay Hill. The World's Largest Book The Kuthodaw Pagoda or Maha Lawka Marazein Paya is often called the world’s largest book. It is a large walled complex situated at the base of the southeast stairway to Mandalay Hill and was built by King Mindon at the same time he was constructing the Royal Palace. Its central stupa is modeled on the Shwezigon at Nyaung U near Bagan. The Kuthodaw Paya (Pagoda), or Maha Lawka Marazein Paya, contains what often is called the world’s largest book. It is a large walled complex situated at the base of the southeast stairway to Mandalay Hill and was built by King Mindon at the same time he was constructing the Royal Palace. Its central stupa is modeled on the Shwezigon at Nyaung U near Bagan. An on-site carved tablet indicates that the pagoda’s height is 187 ft 9 in, high, while some guide books list it at 100 ft (30 m). The former includes the platform in the measurement.
 
Mandalay Palace 
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. The magnificent palace was built of teak wood on raised brick plinth gilded with gold and vermilion. The queens' chambers in order of priority is 1 Southern, 2 Northern and 3 Lesser queens in the West. All ancillary buildings for the court, the fortified high walls with ramparts, the moat, water systems, roads, gardens with shady tamarind trees, recreational playgrounds, swimming pools, mint, security ports with infantry, cavalry, archers, artillery, sheds for royal elephants, stables, audience halls, throne halls, religious edifices and monastery and devotional halls were superbly planned and executed to minute details. The implementation and completion of construction took five years (from 1857 to 61). The artistic workmanship and handicrafts depicting the glory of the golden age of the days gone by is still amazing, awe inspiring and the beholder will be spell bound with wonder. The entity of the palace cannot be separated from the Mandalay Hill, from where the prophecy and name is dewed. Located right in the center of the palace grounds, which is meticulously a true square, enclosed within fortified high walls with ramparts and the beautiful deep moat all the layout in perfect squares. So much so the city surrounding the place too had been laid-out in blocks of squares enclosed by sheets. A muddy canal feeds the supply of water to the moat. It is surprisingly strange that the red muddy water turns crystal clear. This moat water is potable and the source of home consumption and is free from lime content. It also serves a double purpose as a good protection from enemy assault of those days.
 
Shwe Kyi Myin Monastery
The Myanmar chronicles say that this Pagoda was built by Min Shin Saw, the eldest son of King Alaung Sithu of Bagan(A.D 1112-1167). Having fallen into disfavor of his royal father Min Shin Saw was exiled to Htun Ton Pu Tet, east of Mandalay. There he resided in state, doing many works of social and religious merits such as repairing old religious monuments and monasteries, building new ones including Shwe Kyi Myin Pagoda, constructing the Aung Pin Le and Ta Mok So lakes to supply water for cultivation by a system of irrigation channels.
 
Atumashi Monastery
Atumashi Monastery is located at the North Eastern part of the Mandalay Palace. Its only about 10 minutes drive from the royal palace. The Atumashi Kyaung meaning Incomparable Monastery (Maha Atulawaiyan Kyaungdawgyi), was originally built in 1857 by King Mindon (1853-1879), who had founded his new capital of Upper Burma at Mandalay just a few years earlier in 1855. It was one of the King’s last great religious construction project. The original Atumashi was a magnificent wooden structure with considerable exterior stucco and set on a high platform reached by a formal ceremonial staircase. Instead of the traditional “pyatthat” (graduated wooden spires of decreasing size) and multi-roof design of traditional monastic buildings, the Atumashi was a huge grandiose structure surrounded by five graduated rectangular terraces. It was considered one of Southeast Asia’s most magnificent buildings. It originally contained a very large, almost 30 ft (9 m), image of the Buddha made from the king’s lacquered silk clothing. There were numerous treasures within the structure, including a large diamond set in the forehead of the Buddha, four complete sets of the Tripikata (the ‘three baskets’ of the Buddhist sacred texts), and much more. When the British annexed the city and Upper Burma in 1885, the large diamond vanished, perhaps taken by the British or other marauders. The building and its entire contents burned down in 1890.
 
For many years the ruins of the building lay open to the elements. Stumps of the charred teak pillars, a grand staircase and some colonnaded walls remained. The area was cleared in the 1990s and was rebuilt according to the original plans in 1996 by the Burmese archaeological department with the use of convict labor. While somewhat impressive, it does not come close to recreating the magnificence of the original building. The Atumashi Kyaung is near the Kuthodaw Pagoda, built at the same time, and next door to the Shwenandaw.
 
Kyauktawgyi Pagoda
Kyauktawgyi Pagoda is located near the southern entry to Mandalay Hill. Kyauktawgyi meaning the Great Marble Buddha Image in Myanmar. The Kyauktawgyi Pagoda was built by King Mindon in 1853 on the model of the Ananda Temple at Pagan. It closely resembles the Ananda in exterior form but it falls short of the latter in construction and interior decoration.
 
The pagoda was completed during 1878. The chief feature of the Kyauktawgyi Paya is huge seated Buddha figure sculpted from a single block of pale green marble from the Sagyin quarry twelve miles north of Mandalay.
 
It was said that about 10 thousand men took about 2 weeks to transport the stone block from the Ayeyarwaddy River to the site where it is today.
 
The Buddha Image is seated in "Bhumisparsha mudra", the gesture of "calling the Earth to witness." The focus of this statue is the hand, the eyes are severely downcast if not actually closed.
 
Sanda Muni Pagoda
The Sandamuni Pagoda is located to the southeast of Mandalay Hill and bears a resemblance to the nearby Kuthodaw pagoda because of the large number of slender whitewashed ancillary stupas on the grounds. The Sandamuni Pagoda, or Paya, is located to the southeast of Mandalay Hill and bears a resemblance to the nearby Kuthodaw pagoda because of the large number of slender whitewashed ancillary stupas on the grounds. The Paya is also famous for the Iron Buddha Sandamani cast by King Bodawpaya (1782-1819) of the Konbaung dynasty in 1802, and which King Mindon and brought from Amarapura to his new pagoda and shrine in 1874.
 
The pagoda complex was erected on the location of King Mindon's provisional palace, the "Nan Myey Bon Tha." which he used until his permanent Royal Palace was completed in the center of the Royal City. It was built as a memorial to King Mindon's younger half-brother, statesman, reformer, stimulating personality and confidante, the Crown Prince Kanaung, who had helped him seize power from Pagan Min in 1853. Two of Mindon's sons, Princes Myingun, and Myin Kon Taing disappointed in being excluded from the succession, launched a palace revolution against their father on June 8, 1866, and assassinated Crown Prince Kanaung and three other princes: Malun, Saku and Pyinsi. The princes were buried on the grounds where they died. The royal residence was demolished the next year as the court was moved to the new Royal Palace. In 1874, King Mindon had the pagoda built near the graves of the Crown Prince and the other members of the royal family who lost their lives in the 1866 coup.
 
Shwenandaw Monastery
Shwenandaw Monastey is located near the 14th Street, Mandalay. It is also close to Atumashi monastery. The Shwenandaw monastery is the most significant of Mandalay’s historic buildings, since this ‘Golden Palace Monastery’ remains the sole major survivor of the former wooden Royal Palace built by King Mindon in the mid-nineteenth century. The Shwenandaw is a wonderfully fragile yet grand example of 19th century Myanmar teak architecture and also a significant masterpiece of the wood-carver’s art.
 
Mandalay Hill
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. Moreover, the stairways are being 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 Myanma traditional handmade toys, gifts such as beads.If you reach the top of the hill, you can pay homage to Su Taung Pyi Pagoda. Moreover, you can view the elegant craftsmanship with two Snakes raising the hoods up.
 
Shweinbin Monastery
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.
 
Yankin Hill
The Yankin Hill is located in the East of Mandalay. Yankin Hill meaning "away from danger", shows harmony and peacefulness of Mandalay. There are many carved figures of fishes on the hill. It was placed by Min Shin Saw, son of King Alaung Sithu during the Bagan Era. It is believed that first the figures of the fishes were kept in the Royal Palace during the Yadanarbon period. But later on for the sake of the people and on their believes, Min Shin Saw placed the figures on Yankin Hill. Whenever there was a draught, the people of Mandalay carried the figures around the city and then went to Yankin Hill. It was believed that by doing this, it could bring rainfall to the city. There is a bus route winding up the hill from both the South and North side.The hill is about 215 meters high and ranging from North to South about 2013 meters wide. The Mya Kyauk tube well is situated near the Yankin Hill and visitors can also pay homage to the Atula Maha Mya Kyauk Pagoda.
 

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