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Home Tour Destinations Mandalay & Vincinity
Mandalay & Vincinity

(Mandalay,Amarapura,Innwa,Saggaing,Monywa,Shwebo,Kyaukmyaung,Pyin Oo Lwin,Kyaukme,Hsipaw,Lashio,Muse,Moegok) myanmar travel tips myanmar travel tips myanmar travel tips

Profile of Mandalay

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Mandalay age is nearly 160 decades which was built by King Mindon, making it the capital of  an  independent kingdom for less than 30 years, had founded the town only 29 years earlier in 1857. Contrary to other Burmese towns, especially Yangon, Mandalay has not grown from a smaller settlement to town proportions. In 1857 Mandalay was set up in an empty area, because, according to an ancient prophecy, in that exact place a town would come into existence on occasion of the 2,400th jubilee of Buddhism.

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.
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King Mindon decided to fulfill the prophecy and during his reign in the Kingdom of Amarapura he issued a royal order on 13 January, A.D 1857 to establish a new kingdom. The Ceremony of Ascending the Throne was celebrated in July, 1858. The royal city and the kingdom were demarcated. The whole royal city was called Lay Kyun Aung Mye ("Victorious Land over the Four Islands") and the royal palace, the Mya Nan San Kyaw ("The Royal Emerald Palace"). The kingdom was called the Kingdom of Yadanabon, along with other name Ratanapura, means " The Bejeweled Site ". Later it was called Mandalay after the Mandalay Hill, 2.5km far to the north east of the royal palace, and today the name still exists. The name " Mandalay " is a derivative of the Pali word " Mandala ", which means" a plains land "and also that of the Pali word " Mandare ", which means "an auspicious land ". At that time a transfer of the capital not only meant leaving an old town and erecting a new town in a different place.

As all secular buildings of that time, including the royal palaces, were built from wood, a transfer of the capital meant the complete dismantling of the houses of the old settlement, which then were loaded on carts and the backs of elephants to be reconstructed at the place chosen for the new town. This way of moving entire capitals is a tradition in Myanmar. The transfer of the capital from Amarapura to Mandalay had not been the first of its kind. The most important Burmese town of the northern Ayeyarwaddy valley had for a long time been the town of Ava, founded in 1364, about 20 kilometers southwest of Mandalay. In 1636 at that time, powerful royal family from Taungu about 280 kilometers north of Yangon and 320 kilometers south of Mandalay moved to Ava and made it the capital of a Burmese realm roughly equaling the extent of the present Burmese state.

But in 1782 the town was packed up and moved about 8      kilometers to the Northeast, to the aforementioned Amarapura. In 1823 the entire capital was dismantled again and rebuilt 8 kilometers Southwest in Ava. But in 1838 Ava was damaged by an earthquake, and was therefore in 1841 packed up again and once more transferred to Amarapura. But this was not of duration either, as only 16 years later the entire town was moved again this time 12 kilometers to the Northeast to the present Mandalay. Who, in the face of all this moving of the Burmese capital, might assume that it was more or less only a temporary camp of tents, is very wrong. At least the royal palaces, despite their being made from wood, were immensely large. Many, enormous teakwood tree trunks served as pillars to support the royal palaces, often several stories high.

The rhyming couplet easy to memorize the year of building the royal city is " Okkyit-Kyaw Aye / Mandalay " or " Aung Kyaw Chan Aye / Mandalay " ( i.e, M.E 1221 ). The city's layout of the construction is the same at that of the earlier Kingdom of Amarapura, and from the bird's eye-view, it has the structure of geographical squares and rectangular shapes, with streets and roads crossing one another at right angles. There are four parts dividing the city, namely, Ashe-pyin ( East Part ), Anok-pyin (west Part), Taung-pyin (southern part) and Myauk-pyin (Northern Part), with 54 plots. With the Ground-breaking ceremony, King Mindon laid the foundation of Mandalay on the 6th waning day of Kason, M.E 1221, (A.D 1857). The King simultaneously laid the foundations of seven edifices: the royal city with the battlemented walls, the moat surrounding it, the Maha Lawka Marazein Stupa, the higher ordination hall named the Pahtan-haw Shwe Thein, the Atumashi ( the Incomparable ) monastery, the Thudhama Zayats or public houses for preaching the Doctrine, and the library for the Buddhist scriptures.

When King Mindon passed away, his son King Thibaw ascended the throne, and in M.E 1247, Myanmar fell under the British colony. It was the old capital ruled by two successive kings the one where the last of Myanmar's monarchs reigned. After the British had conquered Mandalay in 1886 they turned the royal palaces of Mandalay into their military headquarters and christened the complex Fort Dufferin.

During World War II the Japanese installed a military camp in the same place, which then was bombed by the allies, until nothing was left of the ancient palace buildings. Mandalay today is a striking phenomenon composed of modern and classic images with the ancient cultural beauty of the royal palace and the moat surrounding it, and the natural impressionistic beauty of the Mandalay Hill, harmoniously added with new architectural photography of modern houses and brick buildings. The former palace ground is known by the name of Fort Mandalay. The ancient palaces a few concrete replicas have been built and further reconstructions are being conducted.

Profile of Amarapura

ubeinbridgeAmarapura lies on the left bank of the Ayarwaddy River. A suburb of Mandalay, it is also known as Taung-myo (Southern Town) or Myohaung (Old City). Founded by King Bodawpaya in 1783 as his new capital. Amarapura means City of Immortality. Amarapura was the capital city of Myanmar, during the Konbaung Dynasty. It was founded by King Bodawpaya in 1782 AD, as the king transferred the capital from Innwa (or Ava). King Bagyidaw, grandson of Bodawpaya shifted the capital back to Innwa in 1823, but King Tharrawaddy his successor again took the capital back to Amarapura in 1837 and it remained as the capital until King Mindon built Mandalay in 1857 and shifted the capital there in 1860.

 

Visitors to Amarapura can still see the tombs of King Bodawpaya who died there on 5th June 1819, located to the north of Shwezaga Pagoda, and also of King Bagyidaw, located east of Pyatthat Gyi Village . King Bagyidaw died in Amarapura on 15th October 1846 after being de-throned in 1837. These two white washed brick mausoleums have inscriptions in English and Myanmar. They are actually small chedis (pagodas) enshrining the cremated bones of the two famous kings. There is another smaller chedi enshrining the bones of King Tharrawaddy who died in Amarapura on 17th November 1846. This is located to the north of the palace site close to the present family lines of the 3rd Battalion, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corps II. Tourists can ask the local people to guide them to these mausoleums.

Profile of Innwa

innwaInwa was formerly known as Ava and it is located 21km from Mandalay. Inwa was also known as Yadana Pura. It was first founded as a capital by King Thado Minbya in 1364 A.D. It is the confluence of the Ayeyarwaddy & Myint Nge rivers. But the king had a canal dug to join the Myint Nge and Myint Tha rivers thus cutting off the capital as an island, safe from enemy attacks. As successive kings ruled the war with King Raza Darit of Bago for many years, the Shan chief Thohan Bwa took the advantage and overran the capital. Gradually the kingdom grew weaker and finally it became a vassal to the Taungoo Empire. Later kings shifted the capital from Inwa back and forth many times until King Bayint Naung's son King Nyaung Yan re-established his capital at Inwa in 1596 A.D. It continued to be capital till 1782 when Bodawpaya moved the capital to Amarapura. But his son King Bagyidaw moved his capital back to Inwa.

 

It was destroyed by the earthquake of 1838. The ruins of the palace, the massive fort walls and moat can still be seen of the splendour of the past when it had been the capital for more than four and half centuries. Inwa lies south of Mandalay and can from there in only 30 minutes of drive be attained. This old king city was long time capital of Old Burma. The foreign country was at present well-known Myanmar as the Kingdom of Ava.The king palace at that time does not exist any longer, however still the Nanmyint awake tower. From 27 meters height of bird perspective one can examine the range of the historical place. Numerous pagodas, temple and monasteries outlasted however Inwas' eventful past. The monastery Maha Aung Myay Bon Zan built with brick and stucco is particularly interesting. It was established to 1818 by the queen Me Nu for the royal abbot at that time U Po. On the road to Sagaing, just before you reach the Inwa bridge, there is a road branching east ward. The Inwa bridge crosses the Ayeyarwaddy River. This road leads to a ferry station where you can cross the Myittha river to reach Inwa.

Profile of Saggaing

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sagaing_2Sagaing lies 21km south-west of Mandalay on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. Sagaing became the capital of an independent Shan kingdom around 1315 after the fall of Bagan. Its period of importance was short, for in 1364 the founder's grandson, Thado Minbya, moved his capital across the river to Inwa. From 1760 to 1764,Sagaing was once again the capital. Today, Sagaing is known as a meditation centre. Myanmars all over the country would visit Sagaing for the purpose of religious retreat.



Profile of Monywa

monywa2Monywa is a city in central Myanmar and situated on the eastern bank of the Chindwin Rive, Mandalay Division. It lies 136 km north-west of Mandalay along the Mandalay-Budalin branch railway line. Monywa serves as a major trade center for India and Burma through Kalay Myo road and Chindwin river.
The name Monywa comes from "Mon" meaning "cake or snack food" and "Ywa" which is the Myanmar word for village. There is a legend which says that in the old days a Myanmar king fell in love with a seller of cakes from this town and made her his queen. The original name some say, is Mon - thema- ywa or " Village of the woman cake seller". There has been a big village at Monywa from the Bagan Period. The classical name for Monywa is Thalawadi. The chronicles mention that Monywa was one of the places where King Alaungphayar encamped for the night on his campaign to Manipur in 1758. During the Myanmar kings' time Monywa remained just a big village as the administrative centre for the region was at Ahlon. It was only a year after the Annexation of 1886 that Monywa became the Headquarters of the Lower Chindwin District. In the last few years with the legalizing of the border trade with India, Monywa has grown into a bustling trading.

Profile of Shwebo

kyaungmyaung_1Shwebo is 64 miles north of Mandalay on the motor and railroad to Myitkyina. It is 17 miles west of Kyauk Myaung, a river-side town on the Ayeyarwady, which is famous for glazed pottery works from toys, cups, letters, bowls, pots to huge water jars that are tied in hundreds and floated down the river as rafts. These are widely used throughout the country. Shwebo was the native town of U Aung Zeya, the founder of the Kone Baung Dynasty against the rule of the Mon Monarchy in 1752 and lasted over two centuries. He subdued all the war-lords and racial chieftains and unified the whole country under one kingdom.
As Shwebo was the first capital of the last dynasty of Myanmar kings, there is a belief that the land in this place is a land of victory. Even after the capital was shifted to other places, the Kings, their royal officials and high ranking army commanders used to come back to tread the "earth of victory land" at Shwebo, in a ceremonial way. During colonial times this belief was discouraged, but still the people, continued to believe that before any important undertaking the victory land at Shwebo should be trod. After Independence, the people of Shwebo under the guidance of Webu Sayadaw, built a Victory Land Pagoda and established a Victory Land Enclosure, and also a monastery called Aung Mye Kyaung Daik or Victory Land Monastery. Visitors nowadays usually take back a handful of Victory earth to keep in their houses.
The place and other royal parks, lakes, moats and watch tower have been neglected, disrepaired, ravaged and ruined in the last two centuries. With the promotion of the tourism industry, the government has launched upon the reconstruction of the palace buildings, parks and dredged the royal lake for the benefit of the visitors and locals.

Shwebo can be reached by car or rail from Mandalay under four hours. The Pyu culture dating back to the second century A.D. flourished at Hanlin, the ruins of which can still be seen, a few miles south of Shwebo. Travel by car under less than an hour. It is the rice bowl of Upper Myanmar with vast stretches of paddy land.

Profile of Pyin Oo Lwin(Maymyo)

 

pyinoolwin6Pyin Oo Lwin is located on the western bank of the river Ayeyarwaddy, approximately 7 miles north of Mandalay. Over 1000 metres above sea-level, Pyin Oo Lwin is a popular hill station about 69km away from Mandalay.

It is well known for its colonial style houses with large compound and pine trees, eucalyptus and silver-oak abound in town. Delightfully cool and pleasant the whole year round.

 
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