Mandalay - The City of Pagodas

07 Jun 2019 by Admin

Tourists visit Mandalay Myanmar to look for the imprints of the ancient capital with Buddhism works dating back 200 years ago.

This is not only an interesting pilgrimage place of Buddhists in the world but also a museum filled with traces of the blending of politics, society, culture and Buddhism of Myanmar’s former empires.

Mandalay is also a major center of primitive Buddhism studies, monasteries, temples; and people still hold deep religious significance in Myanmar. The followings are some famous sites related to Buddhism, which not only attract the Buddhists, the researchers but also those who want to experience the country and people of Myanmar.

Atumashi Monastery in Mandalay

Situated near Mandalay Hill, Atumashi monastery was built with teak by King Mindon and mortared since 1857. This is the last Buddhism project conducted by King Mindon.

The monastery was a massive structure (similar to a palace) surrounded by 5 rectangle-shaped terraces. Initially, it featured a large Buddha image with nearly 9 meters high made from precious silk and lacquer. Many valuables were placed in this image, including a large diamond (19.2 carats, King Maha Nawrahta donated King Bodawphaya) placed on the forehead of the Buddha image, full four sets of Tripikata.

When the British mergered into Mandalay and the upper Myanmar, the monastery and all objects inside were burned in 1890, only a few pillars and a section of the terrace remained. The largest diamond disappeared.

Mandalay's Wooden Pagoda of Shwenandaw

Shwenandaw is a famous and luxurious wooden architecture built in the 19th century near Atumashi. This is a masterpiece showing outstanding carving qualification of Myanmar artisans.

This temple was once a part of the palace at Amarapura and King Mindon moved it to Mandalay. It was King Mindon that left his last breath in this temple. Then, King Thibaw- the son of King Mindon, moved the temple out of the campus of the royal palace and turned it into a monastery in 1880. The Palace was burned in flames in August 3, 1945. Shwenandaw was the structure surviving after bombs destroyed the city.

Initially, the temple was painted and gilded, but the time peeled off the outer layer of gold.

Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay

Near Kandawgyi Lake was Mahamuni Pagoda, also known as Maha Myat muni Pagoda, the most revered place in Mandalay. In the main hall preserved 3.8 m high Buddha statue with 6.5 tonnes. It was made of gold and decorated with precious stones; only men were allowed to get closer and gild to the statue.

According to legend, the Buddha once visited Arakan (now Rakhine) – the fourth time the Buddha traveled to Myanmar - King Candrasuriya of the region took permission to get a statue of the Buddha at the same size to worship at Mahamuni temple on Sirigutta hill.

In 1784, when King Bo Daw Paya invaded Arakan, he transfered the Buddha statue, booty and prisoners to his country. He had the temple built in the foot of Mandalay Hill to keep Buddha which was said to be the most sacred, to assure his devoutness.

The Buddhism devoutees and pilgrims continued to visit and cover the Mahamuni statue with gold leaf layers. It could be said that the statue has still been being made bigger every day thanks to the layers of gold leaf.

In the temple, there remained six bronze statues from Khmer kingdom, including lions, 2 pictures were male warriors and a three-head elephant Erawan. It was said that, all diseases would be healed if patient came to touch on the corresponding area of the bronze statue.

The Tripitaka Stone in Kuthodaw, Mandalay

The temple is located southeast of Mandalay foothills and built by King Mindon built at the same time he built the Palace in Mandalay to remove the capital from Amarapura.

The marble Tripitaka began to be carved in 1860, when Mandalay prepared to organize the event of the World Buddhist Congress for the fifth time in 1871.

King Mindon-a devoutee thought that Buddhism related to the survival of the nation; when the country was invaded, enemies often burned Buddhism texts. So, to unify and preserve Buddhism scriptures for a long period, he had the scriptures carved on 729 stones and a stoneblade for introducing the Tripitaka.

White Towers at Sandamuni Temple, Mandalay

Located near Kuthodaw temple, and quite similar to Kuthodaw, Sandamuni temples is famous for its three stone Tripitakas. In addition, there was a glossary and sub- glossary built by local people in the early 19th century.

With 1,774 sheltered stones carved with Myanmar language (Pali spelling), the group looked like a forest of white towers rising to the sky. This temple was originally built by King Mindon to commemorate his brother who helped him consolidate his power at Pagan Min in 1853.

» For these reasons, tourists should at least once come to well-known pagodas and temples of Mandalay in the shore excursions of Myanmar River Cruise to explore the Burmese Buddhism.

» For more options, check out Myanmar holiday packages.

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