Mandalay - Land of myanmar antique Capitals

The area around Mandalay city is very glamorous in old capitals, which leave countless valued historic and religious relics. Thanks to this, it is considered as the most important cultural hub of burma.


1. MANDALAY CAPITAL


Mandalay is now Myanmar’s second largest city, but if pull out the history in 19th century, it could see that its role was not less important than it is today. Mandalay imperial capital was founded at the foot of Mandalay Hill by King Midon in 1857, ostensibly to fulfill a prophecy of the foundation of a Buddhism metropolis in an exact site on the 2,400th Buddhism jubilee. To construct this new capital, the former royal palace of Amarapura was dismantled, and materials were moved by elephants to the new location.
The capital is surrounded by four rivers. For the next 26 years, Mandalay was the ultimate royal capital of Konbaung Dynasty, the final individual Burmese kingdom before its last annexation by British Empire. It ceased to be the capital in 1885.

Relics till current days
Mahamuni Pagoda (Mandalay, Myanmar)
* Mahamuni Paya (Mahamuni: the fantastic Sage; Paya: Buddhist temple)
This pagoda is one of Myanmar’s most important pilgrimage sites, founded in 1785 and located southwest of Mandalay. Mahamuni image, which was taken from Mrauk U after Konbaung Dynasty conquered the Kingdom of Mrauk U, is very much deified in here. It is highly venerated such an extent that Burmese devotees contain pasted thick layers of gold leaves on it, morning ritual of face cleansing of Mahamuni takes place daily, and women are forbidden to approach it.
Kuthodaw Pagoda (Mandalay, Myanmar)
* Kuthodaw pagoda (Kuthodaw: royal merit)
Settled on the foot of Mandalay Hill and constructed by King Midon in 1868, Kuthodaw pagoda contains the world’s largest book, which stands upright, sets in stone, and spreads on the pagoda’s ground with 729 stone tablets carved Burmese Buddhist scripture.
Mandalay Royal Palace, Mandalay, Myanmar
* Mandalay Palace
It is the last imperial palace of the last Burmese monarchy, the main royal residence of King Mindon and King Thibaw, the two last kings of the country. It was built between 1857 and 1859 after King Midon’s decision to relocate capital.
Shwenandaw Monastery (Mandalay, Myanmar)
* Shwenandaw Monastery (or Golden Palace Monastery)
Built in 1880 by King Thibaw Min, son of King Mindon Min, it is very well-known thanks to its teak carvings of Buddhist myths on the walls and roofs. It is a typical construction of traditional Burmese architectural style.

* Sandamuni Pagoda
Situated southwest of Mandalay Hill, this pagoda was erected by King Mindon in 1874, with aim to be memorial to Mindon's younger brother, Kanaung Mintha, who was assassinated along with other three princes, Malun, Sagu Minthu, and Maingpyin during the 1866 Myingun Prince rebellion. It covers the graves of these four murdered Princes and an iron image cast in 1802.

2. AMARAPURA CAPITAL

Amarapura was founded by King Bodawpaya of Konbaung Dynasty in 1783 as his new capital and also a center of Buddhist reforms and learning. It was the capital of myanmar twice during Konbaung period (1783–1821 and 1842–1859) previous lastly being supplanted by Mandalay in 1859.

Due to the royal treasury depleted by the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852, Mindon decided to reuse as tremendous materials from Amarapura as possible in the construction of Mandalay. Its palace buildings were disassembled and caried by elephants to the new location, and the city walls were pulled down for use as building materials for roads and railways.
Until now, part of the moat is still recognizable near the Bagaya Monastery.

Relics till current days
* U Bein bridge: It spans over Taungthaman lake and is just the world’s oldest and longest teak wood bridge.
When the capital shifted to Mandalay, the residents in Amarapura made use of teak wood from the imperial palace to erect this bridge. It is 1.2km long and consists of 1086 main pillars and thousands of boards. It was curved in the middle to resist assaults of wind and water.
U bein bridge, Mandalay Myanmar

3. INWA CAPITAL


It is an ancient imperial capital of successive Burmese kingdoms for almost 360 year, on five separate periods, from 1365 to 1842.
Inwa became the capital of Ava Kingdom, the main polity of Upper burma from the 14th to 16th centuries. After undergoing repeated attacks and sieges in the last time of Ava Dynasty, it was chosen as a royal capital again on four periods of Toungoo and Konbaung Dynasties (16th to 19th centuries).
Throughout history, it was sacked and rebuilt many times. The capital was lastly abandoned after it was completely destroyed by a series of significant earthquakes in March 1839, and King Tharrawaddy decided to rebuild a new palace in Amarapura in 1842. However, few traces of its former grandeur remain until now.

Relics till current days
Inwa Myanmar by HIT Indochina

* Nanmyin Leaning Tower: a watchtower
* Yadana Hsimi Pagodas - A small group of stupa ruins left after the earthquake.
* Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery: A brick monastery built in 1818 different from traditional Burmese monasteries, which are constructed with wood, not masonry.
* Bagaya Monastery: This teak wood monastery was first built in 1593. After burnt in the fire in the reign of King Bagyidaw, it was reconstructed in 1992. It’s known as “Monastic college" where the royals were educated.

4. SAGAING CAPITAL


With many Buddhist monasteries, Sagaing is a meaningful religious and monastic center of myanmar. Find again the past, it used to be the imperial capital of Sagaing Kingdom (1315–1364), one of the minor kingdoms that rose up after the fall of Pagan Dynasty.
During the Ava period (1364–1555), this city was the common fief of the crown prince and senior princes. It also had a brief time to be the royal capital between 1760 and 1763 under the reign of King Naungdawgyi (Konbaung Dynasty).

Relics till current days
U Min Thonze Cave - Myanmar Mandalay
* U Min Thonze cave
This pagoda comprises of 45 charming gilded Buddha images in a crescent-shaped colonnade, partly built on the side of Sagaing Hill. Each Buddha statue is featured in different sizes and facial expression.
Soon U Ponya Shin Pagoda (Mandalay, Myanmar)
* Soon U Ponya Shin pagoda
It is based on Nga-pha Hill, one of the southern hilltops of Sagaing Hill. According to a legend, it was built overnight in early 1300s.
This pagoda features a central 97ft-high gilded stupa, some delightful paintings and statues, and amazing views over the sight below. It is originally decorated with glass tiles for an unusual shimmering effect.

5. SHWEBO CAPITAL


The city was the origin of the Konbaung Dynasty, established by King Alaungpaya in 1752, which was the i political force in burma after the mid-18th century. It served as Alaungpaya's capital from 1752 to 1760.
Up to 1752, Shwebo was a village, called Moksobo. In 1752, the chief of the village - Aung Zeya - founded the Konbaung Dynasty to resist the upcoming invasion of Lower burma and renamed his village as Shwebo. Over the following eight years, Alaungpaya led the reunification of burma with Shwebo as his capital. Shwebo lost its capital status after Alaungpaya's death in 1760. The successor Naungdawgyi moved the capital to Sagaing closer to Irrawaddy river. The region then was usually held as an appanage by the most senior princes.

Relics till current days
* Shwebo palace (Shwebonyadana Mingala Nandaw)
* Myodaung Pagoda
* Shwe Chattho Pagoda: built in the place where King Alaungpaya was born.
* Mahananda Lake
* Tomb of Alaungpaya
* Shwetaza Buddha Image
* The auspicious ground (Maha Aung Myay)

6. OTHER RELICS OF DYNASTIES AND REIGNS


* From 1790, King Bodawpaya (6th king of the Konbaung Dynasty) ordered to construct a gigantic pagoda, a gigantic bell and a gigantic couple of lions during his reign until he was died in 1819.

Relics till current days:
Mingun Pagoda (Mandalay, Myanmar)
* Mingun Pahtodawgyi (or Mantalagyi - good Royal Stupa)
This incomplete monument stupa is a massive construction project started from 1790. However, when the king was died, it was intentionally left unfinished and halted. Mantalagyi had attained a height of 50 meters, one third of the intended height. A huge earthquake in 1839 caused huge cracks on it.
Mingun Bell (Mandalay, Myanmar)
* Mingun bell:
It was cast to go with Mantalagyi in 1808. Until now, Mingun bell has been in splendid ringing condition with no cracks. It does not make clangs but is rung by stunning the outer edge. In history, it had been the world’s heaviest functioning bell at several times. The primary weight of the bell is 55,555 viss. This number is conveniently remembered by tremendous burmese people as a mnemonic, and carved on the surface of the bell.

Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, Mandalay, Myanmar
* Kaunghmudaw Pagoda (in Monywa)
This pagoda was constructed from 1636 to 1648 during the reign of King Thalun (8th king of Toungoo dynasty), very well-known for its uncommon egg-shaped design, which stands out more the traditional pyramid-shaped style of Burmese pagodas. The yellow domed house is 46m tall, featuring a big white marble Buddha image in its core and a relic chamber. Over 800 stone pillars along with image-filled niches circle it.

Hsinbyume Pagoda (Mandalay, Myanmar)
* Hsinbyume Pagoda
It was constructed in 1816 by King Bagyidaw (7th king of the Konbaung Dynasty) in north of Mingun to commemorate his first consort and also cousin, Princess Hsinbyume, who was died in childbirth in a place nearby. This pagoda was painted in white and modeled the physical description of the Buddhist legendary mountain, Mount Meru. Seven concentric terraces symbolizes for the seven mountain ranges going up to the Mount.

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