Kanbawzathadi Palace – Remnant of An Immortal Empire

13 Jun 2019 by Admin

Located in Bago – the ancient former capital of Myanmar, about 80 kilometers from Yangon, Kanbawzathadi Palace is the reflection of one of the most glorious dynasties in the history of Myanmar. This is a must - see place if you are a fan of majestic palaces and royal constructions.

Kanbawzathadi Palace in  Bago
The Majestic Appearance of Kanbawzathadi Palace

The Original Kanbawzathadi Palace

The original palace was built in a very prosperous era in Burmese history (in the 16th century) by the order of King Bayinnaung, who established Taungoo dynasty and controlled a vast empire of Myanmar stretching from the border of India to some region of present day China and Thailand.

The construction of Kanbawzathadi Palace commenced in 1553, two years after the King’s coronation. It was built at the center of the city on a plot with the area of 70 acres as the residence of the monarch.

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Teak Pillars Used In The Construction Of The Palace

Some written records of European to the Bagon city vividly described the majesty and magnificence of the golden Kanbawzathadi Palace. Several buildings like the Great Audience Hall were said to have their roof covered by gold plates.

According to archeological documentations in 1990, several hundred of teak pillars were used in the building of the palace in the 16th century, many of them had Mon inscription on their trunks. Approximately 2,000 Buddha images were also found.

The palace was ransacked and set on fire in 1599 during an armed conflict. The ruin of the Golden Palace was left forgotten. It was not until the late 20th century was the palace rebuilt.

The Reconstruction of Kanbawzathadi Palace

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The Great Audience Throne Hall

Thank to archeological findings and remaining designs, several buildings of the palace have been rebuilt. Largest among the buildings is the Great Audience Hall where the King discussed affairs with his ministers and officials. The hall is also recognized under the name “Royal Lion Throne Hall” because it is the place where the Thihathana Throne or Lion Throne is installed.

Recent excavations have revealed 167 teak pillars, 135 of which have names of the towns, regions, and people contributing them for the construction. The great Audience has a spacious interior with its roof supported by rows of huge pillars and covered entirely in golden paint. A replica of the Royal Throne as well as some logs of teak wood dated in the 16th place.

kanbawzathadi golden palace
The Lion Throne

Another building to be mentioned is the Bhammayarthana Throne Hall (or Bee Throne Hall) which provided private spaces such as the bed chamber and living chamber for the King. Roofed with the Burmese style of seven tiers (known as Pyatthat), this well-embellished building has multiple roof sections and false floors. The chambers for other members of the Royal family are allocated in other buildings.

Once in Kanbawzathadi Palace, there were 9 Royal Thrones, each of them was adorned with a different style and used for different occasions. In the fire in 1599, most of the thrones were burnt down, except for Thihathana Throne, also called Lion Throne (its name comes from the lion figures carved on it). Nowadays, this throne is exhibited in theNational Museum in Yangon.

Museum of Kanbawzathadi Palace

In the area of the palace is the Nandawya research museum. This museum puts on display the items and artifacts discovered during the excavations and the information about the history of King Bayinnaung’s empire.

In the exhibition, there are several logs of teak pillars dated in the 16th century and items used in trading such as pottery, scales, and ancient coins. The museum also holds a collection of Buddha images in Mon, Siamese and Burmese style found in the ruin of the original palace.

How to Get to Kanbawzathadi Palace

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A Palankeen of The King

The palace is located east of NH1 National Highway in Bago, south of Shwemawdaw Pagoda. From the downtown, you can get there by trishaw with the cost around 1,000 Kyat.

You may consider booking our Luxury Myanmar River Cruises to explore more appealing destinations in this beautiful country. 

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