Mandalay, as the center of Myanmar culture, was
outstanding in the past, it holds the stage now; and it will continue to
be a place of pride in the future. It is situated about 600 kilometers
north of Yangon on the Ayeyarwaddy river, is, with about half a Million
inhabitants Myanmar's second largest city.
Mandalay is the historical old capital, a capital of Myanmar culture,
Buddhist Sasana and Myanmar traditional arts and crafts, with the life
span of one hundred and forty two years, a city which abounds in
historical sites, cultural memorials and Buddhist edifices. Accordingly,
it is the richest historical landmark next to Bagan.
Despite the wonderful sound of its name, inviting associations to an
archaic fairy tale kingdom, Mandalay is neither very old nor
particularly beautiful. But Mandalay was the capital of the last,
independent Burmese kingdom, which in 1886 was finally conquered by
British colonial forces.
The town had been founded only 29 years earlier in 1857 by King Mindon,
making it the capital of an independent kingdom for less than 30 years.
In 1857 Mandalay was set up in an empty area, because, according to an
ancient prophecy, in that exact place a town would come into existence
on occasion of the 2,400th jubilee of Buddhism.
The city was named after the Mandalay Hill, which is situated at the
northeast corner of the present city. The hill has for long been a holy
mount and it is believed that Lord Buddha prophesied that a great city,
metropolis of Buddhism, would be founded at its foot. It was King Mindon
who fulfilled the prophecy.
King Mindon decided to fulfill the prophecy and during his reign in the
Kingdom of Amarapura he issued a royal order on 13 January, A.D 1857 to
establish a new kingdom. The Ceremony of Ascending the Throne was
celebrated in July, 1858. The royal city and the kingdom was demarcated.
The whole royal city was called Lay Kyun Aung Mye ("Victorious Land over
the Four Islands") and the royal palace, the Mya Nan San Kyaw ("The
Royal Emerald Palace"). The kingdom was called the Kingdom of Yadanabon,
along with other name Ratanapura, mean " The Bejeweled Site ". Later it
was called Mandalay after the Mandalay Hill, 2.5km far to the north east
of the royal palace, and today the name still exists. The name "
Mandalay " is a derivative of the Pali word " Mandala ", which means " a
plainsland " and also that of the Pali word " Mandare ", which means "
an auspicious land ".
At that time a transfer of the capital not only meant leaving an old
town and erecting a new town in a different place. As all secular
buildings of that time, including the royal palaces, were built from
wood, a transfer of the capital meant the complete dismantling of the
houses of the old settlement, which then were loaded on carts and the
backs of elephants to be reconstructed at the place chosen for the new
But in 1782 the town was packed up and moved about 8 kilometers to the
Northeast, to the aforementioned Amaraputra. In 1823 the entire capital
was dismantled again and rebuilt 8 kilometers Southwest in Ava. But in
1838 Ava was damaged by an earthquake, and was therefore in 1841 packed
up again and once more transferred to Amarapura. But this was not of
duration either, as only 16 years later the entire town was moved again
this time 12 kilometers to the Northeast to the present Mandalay.
The rhyming couplet easy to memorize the year of building the royal city
is " Okkyit-Kyaw Aye / Mandalay " or " Aung Kyaw Chan Aye / Mandalay " (
i.e, M.E 1221 ). The city's layout of the construction is the same at
that of the earlier Kingdom of Amarapura, and from the bird's eye-view,
it has the structure of geographical squares and rectangular shapes,
with streets and roads crossing one another at right angles. There are
four parts dividing the city, namely, Ashe-pyin ( East Part ), Anok-pyin
(west Part), Taung-pyin (southern part) and Myauk-pyin (Northern Part),
with 54 plots.
With the Ground-breaking ceremony, King Mindon laid the foundation of
Mandalay on the 6th waning day of Kason, M.E 1221, (A.D 1857). The King
simultaneously laid the foundations of seven edifices: the royal city
with the battlemented walls, the moat surrounding it, the Maha Lawka
Marazein Stupa, the higher ordination hall named the Pahtan-haw Shwe
Thein, the Atumashi ( the Incomparable ) monastery, the Thudhama Zayats
or public houses for preaching the Doctrine, and the library for the
At the time of building, the royal moat was 68.58m wide and 3.35m deep,
and was fed with water from the Yadana Nadi, now called the Ye Ni Canal.
In 1995 the moat was dug anew and the banks were laid neatly and firmly
with rocks. There existed 20 gardens, a huge earthen wall and 57 doors
palace. There existed 5 bridges spanning over the moat and 12 bridges.
At present, there are four spanning bridges, namely the U-hteik Bridge
to the east the Kyaw Moe Bridge to the south, the Kye Mon Bridge to the
west and the Lay Thein Bridge to the north.
When King Mindon passed away, his son King Thibaw ascended the throne,
and in M.E 1247, Myanmar fell under the British colony. It was the old
capital ruled by two successive kings the one where the last of
Myanmar's monarchs reigned.
After the British had conquered Mandalay in 1886 they turned the royal
palaces of Mandalay into their military headquarters and christened the
complex Fort Dufferin.
During World War II the Japanese installed a military camp in the same
place, which then was bombed by the allies, until nothing was left of
the ancient palace buildings.
Mandalay today is a striking phenomenon composed of modern and classic
images with the ancient cultural beauty of the royal palace and the moat
surrounding it, and the natural impressionistic beauty of the Mandalay
Hill, harmoniously added with new architectural phonography of modern
houses and brick buildings.
The former palace ground is known by the name of Fort Mandalay. Of the
ancient palaces a few concrete replica have been built and further
reconstructions are being conducted.
There are daily flights from Yangon to Mandalay via Air Bagan, Air
Mandalay, Yangon Airways, and Myanmar Air. Mandalay now has an
International Airport, so there are also flights from other countries
directly landing to Mandalay.
Bus and Express
There are daily local express from Yangon to Mandalay and many other
parts of the country.
Pickups and vans are available to travel around Mandalay, Amarapura,
Inwa, and Sagaing.
Mandalay has a new Yadanarbon Central Railway Station in downtown area.
It is a seven-storey complex, including two floors devoted to a hotel.
The old station is on the further south of the new one. There are daily
schedules from Yangon to Mandalay.
Motorbikes can be seen everywhere in Mandalay. Travelling by motorbike
can be very convenient in local places. So, motorbikes can be rented
mostly everywhere in Mandalay.
The Inland Water Transport office is located at the Gawwein Jetty at
the western end of 35th Street.
There are several places downtown where you can rent bicycles.
Mandalay is full of variety to do shopping. The new
Mandalay Zaycho is the main market place in Mandalay. You can get almost
anything from there. Things to shop are Acheik (Mandalay Silk Longyi),
Cotton clothing, Hto Moat (greasy cakes), Laphet (Pickled tea leaves),
Kadipar slippers (Velvet Slippers), Silverware, Lacquerware, Jewelry,
gems and more.
Mandalay is a busy city which is the central
trade centre of Myanmar. There are cinema halls, beauty salons, spas
and karaoke lounge in the most populated part of the city. There are
also many well-known astrologers and palmist in this city.
The city dwellers can enjoy listening to the radio progammes
broadcast by M.B.S and watching the TV channels of MRTV and the Myawaddy.
The newspapers the Light of Myanmar and Kye Mon are published and
distributed by the presses of Mandalay for Upper Myanmar.
Mandalay is a city with great historical
heritage. Many traditional food can be tasted in this city.
- Founded at 1857
- Founded by King Mindon
- Fell under British Colony at 1885
Mandalay being the second largest capital of the
State, in accordance with the times of building a peaceful, modernized
and well developed new future State, emphasis has been given to enhance
the role of information media.
Mandalay City Development Committee has organized Public Relations and
Information Department, and has been increasing the momentum for the
progress of the information media. Mandalay Daily is published as the
Mandalay-centred, Upper Myanmar supporting media and representative
media of the State. The Mandalay Daily Press is situated on 29th road
between 73rd road and 74th road. Through this press media, the State
Policies, and feature articles, as well as the objectives, performances,
activities, information and feature articles about M.C.D.C, are
presented to the public unfailingly and in time.
The Mandalay City Development Committee has published the pamphlets,
namely, Mandalay City Profile, Mandalay City Map and Welcome to the
Golden Palace City, which will inform the foreign visitors about
interesting facts and functions of Mandalay. It is a press media which
will send good news through foreign visitors to the World. Moreover,
Mandalay Directory is published in both Myanmar and English Versions
annually, which contain information about Mandalay City Map, offices,
departments, organizations, factories and industries, companies, stores,
markets and hospitals and clinics, businesses, location and phone
Mandalay ICT Development Corporation Ltd is located at Third Floor,
Yadanarbon Zay in Mandalay. Mandalay ICT Development Corporation, a
consortium of (50) local companies with the full support from the
Government of the Union of Myanmar, initiated the Mandalay ICT Park
project with the aim of creating an ICT hub for upper Myanmar.
It is part of the ICT master plan of Myanmar to stimulate the
development of Myanmar ICT industry by attracting local and
international partners to form a cluster of ICT - Related Business,
supported by world-class infrastructure and technologies.