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Arts and Crafts
Myanmar Mandalay City and Vicinity
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is right in the center of
the country serving as a economic hub for
"upper Myanmar", via the Irrawaddy, it is
also a cultural and religious center. Many
small workshops around the Mahamuni Pagoda
are producing arts and crafts such as
marble, wood and jade sculptures.
city is accessible by
air via several
and rail, river
and road travel, here is the second
international airport in the country. There
are countless hotels of all sizes in the
city they often have a Chinese owner and the
resorts and restaurants too.
A very good one
is the Sedona Hotel from there is a
breathtaking view over the palace, the moat
and the hill. Actually that hotel is just on
the other side of the road along the palace wall,
Hill Hotel is another up market
The brown water of the
Irrawaddy moves right in
front of the city and a
river cruise is almost a
must. Nothing sophisticated
just take a boat at the
jetty and tell the boat men
to cross over to Mingun,
that's about a half hour
float and it will bring a
very different and
There are other short
distance boats and ships to
Sagaing and Mingun. Larger
river ships connect with
are passing by and there is
lots of action a a busy
scene every day because this
is the second biggest river
port in the country number
one is Yangon.
Bamboo rafts dominate the
picture, underneath teak
logs are fixed they don't
swim very good because they
are to heavy.
The road to
Mandalay was made famous by Kipling
a cruise on the mighty Ayeyarwady
River or Irrawaddy
still a great event with the vessel "Road to
Some years ago the new international airport
was completed now travel became more easy,
the city has the only international airport
Until now only one international flight from
in Thailand is
available but maybe this will change soon
when they get the tourist business going.
The Mandalay Palace enclosed
with a moat and a wall fortification
is probably the most impressive
structure in the city beside of
the Mahamuni Pagoda and Temple.
There are plenty of other beautiful
religious structures in the
vicinity, in particular on the other
side of the Irrawaddy at Sagaing and
destroyed and burned down after a
direct hit by a Japanese bomb from
an aircraft during WW2 it took a
long time to to rebuild everything
according to the old construction
Plenty of photos
tell much more, here is a rich
collection of taken over a long
period showing how attractive this
city is. When arriving the first
time the whole wont look interesting
and very it is very dusty but after
some sightseeing the highlights and
more come up.
It is almost mandatory to invest
some dollars into a tour guide
otherwise you are lost and you will
never find the interesting stuff
within a short timeframe,
The old city
now stands in ruins amongst this debris one could still find a
treasury building and old Watch Tower. The tombs of King Bodawpaya and Bagyidaw
are there, though the cremated ashes
of these Kings have been put into
velvet bags and thrown into the
Irrawaddy in the old city some old stupas remained to be seen.
Close by are the older royal cities Innwa (Ava),
Sagaing and Shwebo. Other interesting places around are
Taungthaman Lake and the U Bein bridge, among others.
It had been the royal city twice King Badon (Bodawpaya) and King
Tharyarwaddy. King Badon (Bodawpaya) founded Amarapura in 1782,
A Daytrip to Sagaing
and having a look around the pagoda and temples
which are often close to the banks of the
Irrawaddy and the hills behind. At this area
it's virtually possible to breath
Buddhism and Asian history, there is
such an high amount of Buddhist
shrines in various forms and sizes,
it's amazing. The dedication of the
people to the religion is immense it
might have something to do with the
fact that most people are very poor
and when they wont see a chance of
better living it is often that they
flee into religion.
local standards there are a lot and
this are no ruins, they are all well
maintained and in good conditions
but I always wonder when the people
start to learn insulating the brick
walls because the monsoon flood
needs continuous renovation,
The Mingun pagoda
and the area around is another
spectacular daytrip destination. The best is to get to the jetty
take a boat and cross the Irrawaddy already the
works at the banks is very interesting since
this one of the biggest river harbor in the
country. Items moved are mainly logs, bamboo and
big jars. The water which comes from the Tibetan
Himalayas offshoots is the life
spender of the country what is
somehow strange is that it is not
used in a better way. This area and
down to Bagan is the "dry zone" but
they have this immense water way
running through, although its very
The crossing itself is very
interesting because of the river life around,
people live at the waterfront, there are very
lively scenes, read more.
Palace Moat and Wall
The town was
King Mindon starting at 1856,
it was the last city where
Burmese Kings ruled, the not so old citadel of the Konebaung
dynasty who ruled the country for the
last time before the British annexation in
At that time a river cruise was the only
means of transportation. Today the city
is the number three tourist destination in
the country and is flooded by Chinese
immigrants from behind the northern border.
The city is still the hub and
culture and communication with markets, temples
and a great Buddhist legacy with countless
monasteries and pagodas.
Only the real
road is in real bad condition, potholes
and craters are the normality, cows
prefer to walk the street and its very dusty.
It took the
combined effort of the local military
who convinced the richer crowd of the
city to donated money for rebuilding and
as we see today it worked, rebuilding
was done by the end of the 198X.
interior is not up to date since too
many items and goods where looted
and stolen by the British
colonialists. The Brits where
literally spoken the pain in the
a.... of Burma, they
destroyed virtually everything directly
or indirectly and were seeding hate
between the different ethnicities to
play them against each other and
One of the ways
they did it was they brought in
Christian missionaries who
manipulated the mind of Karen and
Chin people, the aftermath is still
What they left when they run away
was a workable train system, some
administration, the capital Yangon, which was
completely rebuilt by the British
and a good education system. Over
the years all this got rotten and
partly vanished now the hope is that
after slowly opening up the country
everything will become better, this
is probably but it will take at
least one or two generations.
still retains its old
and is the centre of attractions
for its historical heritage, in the center
is the fully restored palace.
Mandalay is well-known and famous
for the presence of significant monasteries,
pagodas, temples and religious edifices and
also for the palace right in front of the hill where the last two
kings, King Mindon and King Thibaw, resided,
a reminder to
British colonial time,
means travel to see the real thing
before it vanish, there is a hotel
for every taste and budget to handle this.
Book a tour to visit some oft the
pagodas and temples in the country, such
as the Mahamuni Temple and
complex and countless other sacral buildings
A Irrawaddy River
is one of the best trips around no need to
take a long
Sagaing one of the most
Myanmar Mandalay daytrip.
long cruise. It only needs to walk to
river bank and try to find a sampan for
about 2 hours and tell the guy he should
move up and downstream and cross the
Irrawaddy to Mingun.
This old city is a
famous one with incredible pagodas, temples
and some monasteries, there is plenty to see
which give a good insight into the daily
life of the people.
would be to get a tour guide because they
know better what to do and everything goes
much faster as if you do it on your own,
guides like Lonely Planet etc. are useless
sightseeing trip could be done into the
Shan hills to
Pyin Oo Lwin or
the former British hill station. They
have a beautiful botanical garden with
plenty of exotic flowers.
Because of the pleasant climate, its
around thousand meters high, this was
This is the usual
temperature on the Shan plateau,
resulting into production of temperate
To the west
with a incredible temple and pagoda
scenery, this city in the center of the
the hub for the central and northern
part of the country, before they called this "upper
should be to
the top of
point in the
a long lens
city and the
looks like a
only at the
needs a bit
mind to find
the the interesting things.
It is almost mandatory to
take a tour guide, otherwise
everyone will miss more than
the half of the interesting
sites and views. It also
makes it more easy to get
into a monastery, temple and
Pagoda since the people
there usually know the guy
or the lady, read
and over the
Irrawaddy show a flat scenery with the
Ayeyarwady - Irrawaddy
river in between.
Legend tells that a ogress after
a arguing with Lord Buddha decided to cut off her breasts and presented
the same to Buddha.
There upon, Buddha solaced her and made a prophesy that
the ogress would be reborn as a prince. This prophesy turned out to be
when the city was founded by the pious
King Mindon who convened the Fifth Buddhist Synod (Council) in 1871,
there are several
is the landmark of the city
royal city of the Burmese Kings,
The view from the hill offers a
great panorama over the city the royal
palace, Kuthodaw Pagoda, the sleepy town of
Sagaing on the bank of ever-flowing mother
Irrawaddy or Ayeyarwady, to the west and
the blue ridge of the Shan mountains, to the
east. At a tour the Mandalay Myanmar hill should be
the first stop since it provides great scenes
and beauty that supplements the visual value
of the city. Emerald-green Nanda Lake is
close to it. The hill is 236 m high
and situated just
northeast of the city, standing there
and enjoying peace and tranquility, joy and
contentment to be in harmony with nature.
Two large and majestic Lion statues
are guarding the entrance to the hill
and will take 1729 steps to the apex. After
taking 435 steps, one will reach the
observation platform from where one can have
bird's eye view of the stunning scenes and
From my own experience I tell you
take a car to get up there to climb up the
stairs is very exhaustive and get you into
serious health trouble if you are not in good fitness conditions. There are a
couple of similar situations in Thailand and
Cambodia. Legends tell, there is a strong
tradition belief that at one times, Buddha
and his faithful disciple Ananda happened to
visit the hill.
emphatically prophesied that in the 2400th
year of Buddhist Religion (1857), a great
metropolis would be founded at his
foot. That prediction came into reality
during the reign of King Mindon (1853-78)
who transferred his royal capital of
Amarapura to his newly built city.
To commemorate the great
event a huge
constructed, pointing his right arm to the
direction of the city.
was originally commissioned by King Mindon
and later restored by famous Great Hermit, U
Khanti. It is known as Byadeikpay Buddha
statue (Foretelling Buddha).
Peshawar relics, at this place, one will
find a pagoda that shrines relics of
Buddha. It is surprising; the
Buddha relics came from Peshawar,
2000 years ago. Peshawar is also
called Purushapura, well known as
the centre of Ghandara Art, the
ancient and oldest school of
in the world. The Ruler of Kushana
dynasty, in the 2nd century, opened
up the stupa of the Great Emperor
Asoka and redistributed the
During the 20th century, when the
British made archaeological
excavations there, they
discovered a reliquary containing
Buddha' relics, belonging to Kushana
Kings. As the Muslims had no idea to
deal with those relics, the British
had no option but to present the
same to the people. Hence,
the authentic Buddha relics are to
be enshrined in the said pagoda. One
of the most beautiful Burmese Buddhist pagoda - temple is
Because of the population
growth and a unhealthy environment the King intended to shift his capital from
foundations were laid about 1856-57, precise square
and oblong blocks were planned. The city
started flourishing in the year 1859. The King’s
palace was built at the centre of Myanmar
Mandalay covered by moats and city walls, it was
King Thibaw was the
last King of Burma
was the last Queen,
above - the picture is from 1880. He has
been the last Burmese ruler. His short
reign (1878'85) ended with the occupation of Upper
Burma by the British. He was strongly influenced by
When King Mindon
throne, the King
found a new and flourishing city at the
foot of the
hill, to be known as Yadanabon. Here, Buddhism will be promoted and
King Mindon (1853-1878) was upright, wise
and compassionate, he ruled the
country efficiently. He made vast and far-reaching reforms in the fields of
administration, economy and judiciary. He also sent envoys to Europe for the
first minister who
visited the West was distinguished minister, Kinwun Mingyi, eminent
administrator and jurist.
King Mindon convened the Fifth Buddhist Synod (Sangayana), engraving the Buddhist scriptures at the Kuthodaw Pagoda at the
foot of the hill. The
Buddhist Canon of
were inscribed on 729 marble slabs and
housed in small shrines there. It
constitutes the “World’s Biggest Book”. If piled up it will reach the
height of 20 storied high rise building.
King Thibaw (1878-1885), the last king who ruled the country.
scriptures at the Kuthodaw Pagoda.
The city probably
has together with
Amarapura and the
Sagaing Hills on the
other side of the
monasteries. Some of
them went with
modern times and
Some of the most
are in Myanmar
amazing to see all
this artwork, there
is no problem to
visit them, the
people are very
but visit the places
together with a
guide since you
don't know how to
handle this in the
proper way, a
donation would be
before leaving, most
Mandalay Myanmar is
a incredible oriental city on the best
historical sense, full with everything
which makes the old orient so
interesting. At a first glance not much
to see and also the flat area in this
part of the dry zone shows lots of dust
and nothing interesting, but a second
and third look is needed to get the old
Among other, there are
still the old quarters where arts and
crafts are made. Silk weaver, marble
sculpture, wood carver, bronze and brass
casting, jade carver and so on, have a
look at the images.
work is done mainly in open air,
sometimes even just at the pavement.
Everyone at Mandalay Myanmar is positive when
people are watching, this places
are also ideal to buy genuine
and unique items and souvenirs.
are constructed by solid teak
wood including rich interior
decoration done by teak carving.
There is plenty of
art and crafts
Mahamuni Temple and Pagoda
is probably the most
venerated in the city,
actually its not only the
temple which is very
interesting, its the same
with they area around the
temple which is one of the
oldest quarter for arts and
crafts in the modern history
of the country.
woodcarver, artists creating
marble Buddha statues
creator and everything
around this theme,
Brief Chronology of
11.Sept.1853 a general meeting of monks and
held at Masoeyane Monastery decided against
the move of the capital to a new site.13.Sept.1853 A petition was put up to the king to convey the fact that
public opinion was against the
move of capital.
30.Oct.1856 A survey team was sent to inspect site for the new capital.
31.Oct.1856 A plan was drawn for the new capital.
29.Dec.1856 A detailed program was written to carry out the ceremonial and
ritualistic side of the
construction scheme, care was taken that none of the formalities omitted.
13.Jan.1857 A Royal Order was issued sanctioning the built of a new capital
at a site called Mandalay. 2.Feb.1857 Repair of water reservoir around the new site started and
finished in two month’s
13.Feb.1857 City and Palace plan and fortification plan were marked out
25.Feb.1857 Leveling the ground for the Palace.
6.Mar.1857 The earth was ploughed up at the city and Palace sites by gold
and silver ploughs.
14.Mar.1857 A camp was put up at the northwest corner within the Palace site
to serve as a temporary
abode of the royalty.
7.May.1857 Construction for an arsenal began.
14.May.1857 Coronation; prisoner released; decision to revive the Thathameda
25.June.1857 Exterior decoration put up at the royal palace camp.
2.July.1857 The king moved to the royal Palace camp with the idea to supervise the
himself, monsoon flooding couldn't stop him.
24.July.1857 A stockade put up around the palace site.
26.July.1857 The king inspected the various constructions in the city.
7.Aug.1857 Cutting wood for the Palace began.
July-Aug.1857 New city area was divided into plots for residential and
1864 With the help of Bishop Bigandet, a steam printing press
was set up that could pro
duce Pitaka written on 864 palm leaves by only single impression.
March 1864 Ten homes for the aged poor were put under a German medical man
6.July.1865 King Mindon made six of his sons promise abstinence from drinking
11.July.1884 Telegram mentioned the Chinese attack of Bhamo; 1670 soldiers
17.July.1884 Another 1650 soldiers dispatched; the Chinese surrender after
7.Nov.1885 King Thibaw declared war on the British and ordered the march of
troops along three
routes ' 5000 men down the Irrawaddy river, 5000 men along the Taundwingyi route
5000 men along the Toungoo route.
25.Nov.1885 The British occupied Myingyan, King Thibaw considered evacuation
but the queen was sick,
queen mother too old and the royal princesses too young and so abandoned the
leaving the city; decided to give in to all demands made by the British.
1.Mar.1889 386 miles of the railway line to Yangon were completed.
1901 The British Viceroy of India Lord Curzon visited the city; he gave
order to move the
British troops out of the Palace immediately and to preserve the palace as a
19.Feb.1942 Mandalay Myanmar was bombed by the Japanese for the first time.
1.May.1942 Occupied by the Japanese.
17.Mar.1945 The Palace was destroyed by the Japanese.
11.Mar.1949 Mandalay Myanmar was occupied by Karen rebels, they left on 6.April.
7.July.1967 The Ludu Daily, the only newspaper of Mandalay Myanmar was stopped from
Ref: From DR. THAN TUN books
This tram or
streetcar in Mandalay City was the first in
Asia, was running in the city during the
same time as the Meiji dynasty was on in
Japan. During this time the development
of Burma was about the same as the
development in Japan.
colonialists destroyed everything
according to the doctrine to keep the
country purely as a supplier for raw
material. This is one of the reason why
there is this mess in the country, the foundation for
this was laid by the British.