Interesting Places in Myanmar

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Mandalay

Mandalay

King Mindon founded Mandalay on 23rd May 1859 AD. It is the last capital of the Myanmar Kingdom, the second capital of Myanmar, both a bustling commercial centre and a cultural tourism site with the lord royal city, many old monasteries, showcasing Myanmar arts and architecture of the 19th century. It is also the commercial centre with rail, road, river and air links to all parts of the country.

Mandalay Hill

One thousand seven hundred steps uphill will give you a bird's–eye view of the city. It will give you a spectacular sight with the outlaying areas of the Ayeyarwady plains and the misty Shan hills. You can also take mini-taxi to the top of the Mandalay hill and then walk down. Along the stairways are fascinating and interesting sights along the way including the souvenir stalls, the Peshawar Relics Shrine where the Relics of Buddha is enshrined and the gold-plated Shweyattaw Buddha image of immense size.

Mandalay Palace

Mandalay palace was the first palace to be built in Mandalay, by King Mindon when he shifted his capital from Amarapura in 1861, to fulfill an old prophecy. The site was chosen with the auspicious omen and astronomical calculations. The magnificent palace was built of teak wood on raised brick plinth gilded with gold and vermillion. The queens' chambers is in order of priority 1 Southern, 2 Northern and 3 lesser queens in the West. All ancillary buildings for the court, the fortified high walls with ramparts, the moat, water systems, roads, gardens with shady tamarind trees, recreational playgrounds, swimming pools, mint, security ports with infantry, cavalry, archers, artillery, sheds for royal elephants, stables, audience halls, throne halls, religious edifices and monastery and devotional halls were superbly planned and executed to minute details. The implementation and completion of construction took five years (from 1857 to 61). The artistic workmanship and handicrafts depicting the glory of the golden age of the days gone by is still amazing, awe inspiring and the beholder will be spell bound with wonder. The entity of the palace cannot be separated from the Mandalay Hill, from where the prophecy and name is dewed. It is located right in the centre of the palace grounds, which is meticulously a true square, enclosed within fortified high walls with ramparts and the beautiful deep moat all the layout in perfect squares. So much so the city surrounding the place too had been laid-out in blocks of squares enclosed by sheets. The supply of water to the moat is fed by a muddy canal. It is surprisingly strange that the red muddy water turns crystal clear. This moat water is potable and the source of home consumption and is free from lime content. It also serves a double purpose as a good protection from enemy assault of those days. The reflection of the Mandalay on the eastern moat is a beautiful scene to behold from the south-eastern corner. The panoramic view of the Palace and the surrounding areas as far as the Sagaing Bridge, the Ayeyarwady River and the hill ranges seen from the Mandalay Hill during sunset will be an enchanting experience. The beautiful palace with many other buildings were destroyed by fire due to the ravages of been reconstructed in brick masonry from photographic records, plans and drawings. As seeing is believing, a practical visit will confirm an enchanting experience than a thousand words in theory

Shwenandaw Monastery

This beautifully built monastery was originally inside the palace compound. King Thibaw had it moved to its present site east of the palace in 1879 after his father's death

 

 

Mahamuni Pagoda

King Bodawpaya built Mahamuni pagoda in 1784. In 1884, the original shrine was destroyed by fire and the current one is comparatively recent. This Pagoda is also known as Payagyi (Big paya) or the Rakhaing Paya. The centerpiece of the shrine is the highly venerated Mahamuni image that was transported to Myanmar from Mrauk U in Rakhaing (Arakan) in 1784.

 

 

 Atumashi Monastery

Not too far from the Kuthodaw Pagoda is the Atumashi Monastery (the Incomparable Monastery), built in 1878 by King Mindon, and partially destroyed by fire in 1890. It was however, rebuilt in 1996.The "Atumashi Kyaung" (meaning the Incomparable Monastery) is also one of the worth-seeing places. Built by King Mindon in 1878, it was partially destroyed by fire in 1890. It was indeed an inimitable one in its heyday. The reconstruction work on the monastery has been done by the government in 1996.

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Kuthodaw Pagoda

King Mindon built this Pagoda in 1868, surrounding it with 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Tipitaka text (the Three Baskets of the Buddhist Pali canon). It is often called the "World's Biggest Book".

 

 

Sandamuni Pagoda

The Sandamuni Pagoda is located to the southeast of Mandalay Hill and bears a resemblance to the nearby Kuthodaw pagoda. It was built by King Bodawphaya in 1164 with 11368 vise of cast iron while he was temporarily on the other side in Mingun, and conveyed to Amarapura. In 1299, King Mindon conveyed it from Innwa to Nanmyay Bontha Palace at the foot of Mandalay Hill. It is said that in 1275 Hermit U Khanti while doing missionary work enshrined 1774 slabs of manuscripts of Athakatha Tika of the Pali version of Tipitakas in 758 cave-like pyathats there.

Kyauktawgyi Pagoda

Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (the Pogada of the Great Marble Image), also built by King Mindon, stands at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Build in 1865, the Pagoda is so called because it houses a large image of the Buddha sculpted from a single block of beautiful Sagyin marble. It was hauled to its position by nearly 12,000 men and took 13 days to transport the marble. The statues of 80 Arahants (the Great Disciples of the Buddha) are around the Image, 20 on each direction. Other attractions are Sandamuni Pagoda Eindawaya Pagoda, Shwe In Bin Monastery, Mandalay Museum and Library, Zegyo Market and Silk Weaving Cottage Industry.

Amarapura

Amarapura was an ancient capital of Myanmar Monarchy, 11 km south of Mandalay. It was a capital until 1857 when King Mindon decided to move the capital to Mandalay. Although there are little remains of the old palace area, the other attractions include, Patodawgyi Pagoda, U Bein's Bridge and the silk weaving industry.

 

U Bein's Bridge

Amarapura, an ancient capital, is situated about 11km south of Mandalay. Pohtodawgyi Pagoda, 1208 metre long U Bein Bridge which was built with teak planks and silk weaving industry are places of interest to visit.

 

Innwa (Ava)

After the fall of Bagan, Inwa was the capital of Myanmar Kingdom for 400 years from 1364 until the shift was made to Amarapura in 1841. Places of interest are Nanmyint- where 27m high masonry is, Maha Aungmye Bonzan and Bagaya Kyaung where one can witness the art and architecture of Myanmar.

 

Pyin Oo Lwin (Maymyo)

Pyin Oo Lwin is situated on the Shan Plateau about 42 miles to the north-east of Mandalay. As it is over 3,000 feet above the sea level, it is cool the whole year round. Pyin Oo Lwin was known as Maymyo in the past. It was named after Colonel May of the 5th Bengal Regiment, who established it as a Hill station to enable officers of the British Army based in Mandalay to go up to Maymyo on vacation. The town became famous as a hill station and summer resort in the time of British colonialism and is still so. Pyin Oo Lwin can be reached by road or rail; it takes over two hours to travel by car from Mandalay. The road to Pyin Oo Lwin winds up the hills and there are many hairpin bends along the way. As one reaches the View-Point at the 21-mile which is half-way to Pyin Oo Lwin, one can have a bird's-eye view of Mandalay in the distance below. There are many food shops at the 21-mile station and cars stop over there to change water in the radiator. Different kinds of food are available there, and a traveller can take his pick. Climbing higher from the 21-mile station you can breathe fresh air from the hills. The climate gradually becomes colder and colder as you climb further up. The scene everywhere is green and pleasant. As you approach the Aungchantha village near the outskirts of the town, long lines of stalls selling vegetables and fruits can be seen on either side of the road. There, flowers of different kinds and colours, fresh and green vegetables and fruits can be bought to your heart's content. Coffee, damson, strawberry, plum and pineapple are grown at orchards and plantations on commercial basis. Different kinds of flowers and many varieties of orchids grow in profusion in Pyin Oo Lwin. Once a hill station of the British Colonial government, it still has some offices, houses, bungalows, churches and recreation centres. Another interesting place to visit in Pyin Oo Lwin is the Central Market and the clock tower nearby. Another place of interest is the Botanical Gardens, which occupy a land of 432 acres with different kinds of flowers, shrubs and plants, beautiful lawns, huge trees providing shade, and different kinds of medicinal plants. You get a thrill in riding horse-drawn coaches known as "gharry while going on a sight-seeing trip in town. The Pwegauk Waterfall, known in days of old as the "Laughing Water" is about five miles north of the town. At this waterfall water flows constantly throughout the year and there are many spots around the waterfall where people can relax in the shade of the trees and everything there is peaceful and quite. There is also the Peik Chin Hmyaung Cave some 15 miles away from the town. This natural cave has many springs and Buddha images and pilgrims visit the cave all the year round. You can also visit the Goehteik Viaduct 42 miles away from town. Photographers and video and movie producers shoot outdoor scenes in Pyin Oo Lwin because of its natural beauty spots.

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Peik Chin Hmyaung

The cave is near Wetwun village 12 miles east of the town and it is three miles south of the village, easily accessible by car. The cave is at the entrance to the Peik Chin Hmyaung ravine, with many beautiful springs. When the rocks in the cave began to form, the place was under seawater. As lime piled up, the hillock took formation. Geologists estimate that it could be between 230 million and 310 million years old. The cave is called Peik Chin Hmyaung (Peik Chin Plants Ravine) as plenty of Peik Chin plants used to grow there, letting no light inside. This Great Cave of rock was formed out of a fault. As water seeped and dropped from rocks and limestone, there appeared stalactites and others in the shape of chandeliers. On entering the cave you see springs flowing from different directions. The water at some places is as deep as five feet. Water seeps from the walls of the rock; and is clean and cool. It is said that this water cures eye ailments and itching. So, pilgrims take this spring water home in bottles. The Great Cave covers an area about 48 acres. Once inside the cave, you shiver with cold what with the springs and small waterfalls. The Buddha-to-be's life story up to His Enlightenment is featured at appropriate places. There are also Buddha images and pagodas in corners and niches. Although the Peik Chin Hmyaung Maha Nandamu Cave did exist in successive eras in the past with its rich objects of Buddhism, it remained hidden under bushes unknown to man until now. As the Cave is now electrified, pilgrims and visitors from far and near visit often.

The National Garden (Botanical Garden)

The garden features wide expanses of manicured grass, large flowerbeds, 49 acres of natural forest with walking trails, a rose garden, an orchid house, a small pagoda on an islet in a pond and several other ponds. It is very popular with picnicking families on weekends and holdings. Open-air snack shops are on a slope overlooking the parks. Colonel May used Turkish POWs to develop this 237-acre garden during World War II. It opens daily 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM. A nominal admission fee is collected.

Mogok

Situate 128 miles to the northeast of Mandalay with a gem-bearing area of 1916 sq miles. Residents are mostly Lisu, Shan and Grokha who make their living predominately by mining, cutting, polishing and marketing gemstones. Legend brought this faith to the world of fable valley in the north where beautiful rubies and sapphires lay scattered. Treacherous swamps and poisonous snakes protected the uninhabited valley. One day a huge eagle spotted an enormous morsel of bloody-red meat, swooped down on his prey. This probably was the first ruby of the world. Mogok-since than and now is the source of the world's most fabulous rubies and Sapphires. Mogok also produces numerous gems of lesser quality such as - alexandrite, amethyst, appetite, aquamarine, black tourmaline, black John, Danbury, fluorite, garnet, green tourmaline, lapis lazuli, moonstone, period, quartz, rose quartz, spinal, topaz, white sapphire, zircon. Mogok then and now is a city of gems, the heart of the gem-zone and the center of the gem trade. It takes hours by road from Mandalay.

Arts and Crafts

For lovers of arts and crafts, Mandalay represents the largest repository of Myanmar arts and crafts. It is here that visitors can observe skilled craftsmen making beautiful articles of tapestry, ivory, wood, marble and stone carving and engravings, silverware and bronze statues according to the time-honored traditions of their forefathers. Besides those, the other arts and crafts workshops of silk-weaving and gold-leaf making are also places worthy of visiting.

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