Shwe Nandaw Kyaung

Must See Shwe Nandaw Kyaung


Mandalay, Myanmar

Once part of the royal palace, the Shwe Nandaw Kyaung (daily 8am-5pm, entrance fee) is the only building from King Mindon's 'Golden City' to have survived bombing during World War II. It provides a glimpse at Myanmar's former glory and is one of the few truly impressive surviving teakwood monasteries in all of Asia. Most of its surfaces are covered in delicate and elaborate carvings of both figures and flora which tell the ancient Buddhist myths.

The building was adorned in gold and decorated with a glass mosaic, bits of which are still visible. After King Mindon died inside the palace, his son, King Thibaw, believed the building was haunted by his father's spirit, and dismantled and relocated the entire complex brick by brick.

Once completed, he established it as a monastery. But the move is what saved the Shwe Nandaw Kyaung from destruction. Wooden monasteries were once omnipresent in Myanmar and each village would have its own.

Today, though, many are in various states of disrepair and lack funds for maintenance, and as a result of this legacy, Shwe Nandaw Kyaung has become one of Myanmar's most important cultural destinations.

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