If you are planning on a trip to Myanmar, Mandalay should definitely be at the top of your list. Dubbed as the last capital of royalty in all of old Burma, Mandalay is its second-largest city.
Mandalay is said to have taken its name from various terms, one of which is “Mandala” which means “circular plains” and another, “Mandare” which means “an auspicious land” strongly suggesting that the land is believed to possess great fortune.
It is considered to be the center of Burmese culture. Due to its rich history, Mandalay has become the country’s primary venue for all artistic endeavors. It is here that the “Shwe Chi Htoe”, Myanmar’s world-renowned tapestry is produced. Various reliefs and statues made of wood, ivory and stone are created here along with metal cast figurines of silver and bronze shaped into religious images.
Mandalay also takes pride as Upper Myanmar’s main scene of trade, commerce and health. It is here that students go who want to pursue higher education. This economic role had connected Lower Burma, Upper Burma, China and India, with efforts being attributed to the Chinese influence.
If planning on going to Mandalay is what you have in mind, you might want to check these places out for the complete Mandalay experience:
Famous for its numerous pagodas and monasteries, it is considered to be a major site for pilgrimage for Burmese Buddhists. Its image is attributed to the legend surrounding the hill. The narrative has it that the Buddha himself had visited the top of the hill and foretold that a great and holy king shall build a great city there in the year 2400 of the Buddhist Era.
Travellers who had set foot on Mandalay hill would testify to the magnificent view of the entire city and the surrounding countryside.
The structure stands as the enduring reminder of an already disillusioned Burmese monarchy. It was built around 1857 in accordance to the founding of a new royal capital by then monarch, King Mindon, making it the center of the citadel. During the Second World War, this majestic structure had been devastated by a huge fire.
The towering walls that largely followed traditional Burmese architecture, along with the city gates and pavilions of wood encapsulated by a moat, retain the structure’s old glory.
Maha- Myat Muni Pagoda
Built by King Bodawpaya in 1784, the Maha-Myat Muni is looked upon as the holiest of all pagodas in Mandalay. It is here that the famous Maha-muni Buddha Image was brought and housed from Rakhing State.
Also called “Mahaatula Marrazein”, which literally means, “the royal bounty”, King Mindon had the Kuthodaw Pagoda built in 1857 along with the Mandalay Palace. Seven hundred ninety-two standing stone slabs surround this Buddhist stupa. Each slab of marble contains a page of the “Tipitaka”, the entire Pali Canon of Theravadan Buddhism. Due to this, the Kuthodaw Pagoda had also been dubbed as, “the World’s Biggest Book”.
These are few of the places worth seeing. Mandalay, with all its culture and structures of notable history, is truly worthy of a visit. And the experience that you will get will definitely get you hooked to come back again.