Mandalay - Exploring the Peaceful Beauty of Ancient Royal Capital
by Blake Johnson Apr 10, 2017
Known as the second largest city in Myanmar (just after Yangon), Mandalay is a charmed destination needing to be uncovered. This beautiful city is not only a city of temples, pagodas and monasteries, but it is also a city of royal palace. Take your time to explore these following recommended sites in Mandalay you will have yourselves a wonderful travel.
Mandalay Palace, also called Myan Nan San Kyaw or Royal Palace, was the first palace to be constructed in Mandalay by King Mindon between 1857 and 1859. After that, the palace was inherited by King Thibaw before colonial periods. Mandalay Palace follows a traditional model, being surrounded by big ramparts and a large moat, and all the houses are of single storey. Most of it was destroyed during World War II and reconstructed from the 1990s. However, it is still interesting to visit because of the very first impression of its incredibly gorgeous and vast architectures.
Besides, tourists are probably interested in towers, buildings, mausoleums, hall, monasteries and green spaces surrounding this palace. All of them create picturesque views. It seems that tourists can discover the Royal Palace all day without any boredom.
Most of tourists visiting Mandalay go to Mandalay Hill. From this hill, tourists can enjoy panoramic view of this fascinating city and watch stunning views of sunrise or sunset. There are a number of pagodas and monasteries on this 240-meter hill. Tourists can get to the top with a vehicle or climbing on foot to contemplate Buddha images along the way. Sutaungpyei pagoda is one of the well-known sites at the summit which tourists can pay a visit to, especially at the sunset time. Because tourists can have a chance to enjoy a magnificent view with the rays glinting off the gold and green of this sacred pagoda.
Golden Palace Monastery
Golden Palace Monastery, also called Schwenandaw Kyaung, is one of the typical examples of a traditional Burmese buildings surviving in Mandalay. It was constructed by King Mindon in the 19th century and known as a piece of the old Mandalay Palace. But later, it was moved to its current location by King Thibaw, the last King of Burma, and converted into a monastery. The monastery is famous for being completely built of steak wood. After going through areas of Mandalay, Schwenandaw Kyaung will be a great place to have a break and relax. Particularly, when it rains, tourists can lay on the floor and listen to the raindrops’ voice and have an almost meditative moment.
Kuthodaw Pagoda is said to be the world’s largest book. It is because the entire text of Buddhist scriptures (Tripitaka) is inscribed on 729 marble slabs, each of which having its own small stupa and arranged in rows around the grounds. This pagoda was started building by King Mindon in 1857 at the foot of Mandalay Hill, and not completed until 1878.
Considered as the second holiest pagoda in Burma, just after Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Mahamuni Pagoda is a well-known pilgrimage site. The pagoda is large with plenty of doors leading to its center. Tourists will be impressed by a huge image of a sitting Buddha statue covered in gold with 4 meters high. However, this area only permits men to visit inside, women are just allowed to watch the statue from the outside. When tourists enter this sacred pagoda, they will feel how the spiritual atmosphere is as well as worshipers’ devotion to the faith.