Mandalay and surroundings
“Where there is a dream, there is a way”
Mandalay, on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River is Myanmar's second largest city and former capital of the country with over 1,000,000 inhabitants, of whom more than 50,000 are Buddhist monks. This city and the surrounding area houses over 700 pagodas, some of the most important in Burma, such as Mahamuni Pagoda that has the honor of having the most revered Buddha image and is one of the three holiest places of the country, with Kuthodaw Pagoda 729 stupas containing the 15 books of the Tripitaka sculpted in marble, the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda containing the largest Buddha statue sculpted from a single piece of marble, the temple of Mandalay Hill, or the Golden Shwenandaw Kyaung monastery built entirely in teak and gold leaf inside the Royal Palace built by King Mindon.
Near Mandalay are found some cities which once were also capitals of the country, all with important places to discover:
- In Mingun, located on the opposite bank of the Ayeyarwady River we can find among others Pahtodawgyi , “the unfinished pagoda”, the two Chinte lions riverfront, the Settawya Pagoda, the white pagoda Hsinbyume Phaya, or the largest bell in the world made of one piece.
- Sagaing territory spans over several hills including many temples of great beauty : Kaunghmudaw Pagoda with its massive dome, U Min Tounzeh Pagoda with 47 Buddhas or Soon U Ponya Shin Phaya with its gigantic image of Buddha.
- Inwa (Ava) was the capital of the empire between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries, and although it was demolished there are still some traces of his legacy: the Le HtatGyi pagoda , the Monastery Mahar Aung Mye Bonzan or the Nanmyin Tower, affected by the earthquake of 1838 and all that is left standing of the old palace.
- Finally Amarapura which was the eighteenth century capital and where we can tour the U Bein, the longest teak bridge in the world with over 1,000 pillars, or visit the MahaGanayon Kyaung, one of the major monasteries of the country where more than 1,000 Buddhists monks.
From here we get to Pyin Oo Lwin, place of retreat during the British colonization, located east of Mandalay, in the mountains.