Mandalay, the capital city of the last reigning dynasty of Konbaung Kings,
is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River in central
Myanmar. Towards the east, there are the blue Shan mountain ranges, which
give the city a physical dignity. To the west there is Myanmar's life
stream, the mighty Ayeyarwaddy flowing by.
It is now the second capital and center of Myanmar's art, cultures and
Buddhist learning. The exquisite tapestry works, stone sculpture, the
traditional art of gold leaf home industry are worth a visit. Mandalay can
boast of the largest standing during the reign of the benevolent King
Mindon, he had commanded the experts to chisel the entire scriptures of
Tipitaka on 729 stone slabs in 1857. The mammoth book still serves as
reference to the learners in Buddhst teachings.Other places of interest are the Mahamuni Holy Image, the Mandalay Hill,
and the Sagaing Hill where Buddhist Sangha and nuns lead a peaceful
secluded life of meditation.
King Mindon founded Mandalay in 1857. Most of the monuments there
including the Mandalay Palace, the city walls, pagodas and monasteries
were built in that year or soon after. King Mindon planned the building of
the new capital in 1857 and it was formally inaugurated in 1859.The fortified city is in the form of a square, each side of which is ten
furlongs in length, a battlemented wall of brick and mud mortar has a
total height of 25 feet and is backed by an earthen rampart. There are 12
gates, three on each side, at equal distances from each other. Pyatthats or pavilions of wood surmount them. These total 48 in numbers.
The moat surrounding the city is approximately 225 feet wide and 11 feet
deep. Four bridges spanning the moat lead to the main gates. The palace
thus occupied the central spot in the city.
The palace, with magnificent woodcarving embellishing it, was destroyed by
fire during World War 11. However, the Lion Throne survived the war and is
now exhibited at the national museum in Yangon. Today, Myat-Nan-San-Kyaw Golden Palace in Mandalay has been reconstructed;
a monument of historical value, the glory of the Myanmar people -
embellished and renovated - is a testimony to the ancient culture.The city was named after the Mandalay Hill, which is situated at the
northeast corner of the present city. The hill has for long been a holy
mount and it is believed that Lord Buddha prophesied that a great city,
metropolis of Buddhism, would be founded at its foot. It was King Mindon
who fulfilled the prophecy.Mandalay, as the center of Myanmar culture, was outstanding in the past'
it holds the stage now; and it will continue to be a place of pride in the