Mandalay Region

Mandalay Region is an administrative division of Myanmar. It is located in the center of the country, bordering Sagaing Region and Magway Region to the west, Shan State to the east, and Bago Region and Kayin State to the south. The regional capital is Mandalay. To the south of the region lies the national capital of Nay Pyi Taw. The division consists of seven districts, which are subdivided into 30 townships and 2,320 wards and village-tracts.

Mandalay is located on the eastern bank of mighty Ayarwaddy river, on the northern bank of Dohtawaddy river, on the southern bank of Madayara river, on the western side of water-break, in upper Myanmar. It is on the vast pain between the Shan plateau to the east and the mighty Ayarwaddy on the west. The area is about 25 square-miles and the streets are crossed at right-angle like the pattern of a chess-board. The city gets its name from the nearby Mandalay Hill. The name is probably a derivative of a Pali word, although the exact word of origin remains unclear. The root word has been speculated to be mandala, referring to circular plains or Mandara, a mountain from Hindu mythology. When it was founded in 1857, the royal city was officially named Yadanabon. It is a cultural city of Myanmar and also the last royal capital of Konbaung Dynasty.

• Mandalay Palace

On 13 February 1857, King Mindon founded a new royal capital at the foot of Mandalay Hill, ostensibly to fulfill a prophecy on the founding of a metropolis of Buddhism in that exact place on the occasion of the 2,400th jubilee of Buddhism. In June 1857, the former royal palace of Amarapura was dismantled and moved by elephants to the new location at the foot of Mandalay Hill, although construction of the palace compound was officially completed only two years later, on Monday, 23 May 1859. The new capital city site was 66 km2 (25.5 sq mi) in area, surrounded by four rivers. The plan called for a 144-square block grid patterned citadel, anchored by a 16 square block royal palace compound at the center by Mandalay Hill. The 1020-acre (413-hectare) citadel was surrounded by four 2,032 m (6,666 ft) long walls and a moat 64 m (210 ft) wide, 4.6 m (15 ft) deep. At intervals of 169 m (555 ft) along the wall, were turrets with gold-tipped spires for watchmen. The walls had three gates on each side, and five bridges to cross the moat. It is known as “Mya Nan San Kyaw Palace”.

• Mahar Myatmuni Pagoda

Mahar Myatmuni Pagoda is located on the south of 45th street and at the corner of 84th street and 46th street.The pagoda is major site for pilgrim. It is in southwest of Mandalay. It is also known as “Payagyi” or “The Great Pagoda”. The Mahamuni Buddha image is originally came from Arakan, Rakhine. The image is cast in bronze and weighs 6.5 tonnes and is erected on a 1.84 metres (6.0 ft) high pedestal and reaches a height of 3.82 metres (12.5 ft). Its shoulders measure 1.84 metres (6.0 ft) and its waist measures 2.9 metres (9.5 ft). It is draped in royal costumes with “Brahmanic cords and regalia crossing his chest”. The image is crowned, bejewelled with diamonds, rubies and sapphires. The left hand appears imprecise, unusually large, and is seen resting in the lap with an upturned palm. The Pagoda is used to call “Mahamuni Movie Pagoda” because it was believed that the dimensions of Mahamuni Pagoda are growing even though people gild with gold leaves every day. That kind of holiest place is only one in Myanmar (Burma). In the early mornings around 4.30am, the Buddhist monks start to wash the face with fragrant scented water and clean the teeth. Sayadaw Buddhanta Panya Vamsa and Htilin Monastery and Pitaka Kyaung initiated that daily Face-Washing Ceremony. Several old bronze statues that line the courtyard of the temple have a long history as war loot. They were originally Khmer statues, found at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and were taken to Ayutthaya in 1431 by the Siamese. In 1564, the Burmese king Bayinnaung conquered Ayutthaya and took thirty such statues to Bago (Pegu). In 1599, King Razagri of Mrauk U invaded Bago and brought the statues to Mrauk U. Finally, Thado Minsaw took them to Amarapura in 1785. According to local belief, many more of these statues were brought from Arakan. However, King Thibaw melted many of them to cast cannons for fortification of his palace. Of the thirty statues Bayinnaung brought from Siam, only six remain today, and are displayed in the temple complex. They are a major attraction because of their purported healing qualities. Around the pagoda compound, there are a lot of shops selling Myanmar traditional souvenir and the visitors can see working environment of 10 arts & crafts.

• Mandalay Hill

The hill is located to the North-East of the city and rises 230 ,metre (or) 954 feet above the surrounding area. There are over 1700 steps to get the summit of it. Legend says that our Lord Buddha Gautama resided there in His previous existences as the kings of elephant, quail, lizard and sambur that is why that hill is quite venerated for Bauddhists and known for far and wide so much. On the summit of that hill, there are two stucco-figures of gigantic snakes and a pagoda call Su-Taung-Pyae pagoda. Along the eastern covered stairway from the top to the foot, the spiritual house of the grand-forefather is a little down to the relic chamber building at the top. There is a museum conducted by that of hermit U Khanti, backyard, there are a rest house in 9 marabins or spans, a grave of cholera plant or sal-trees, a grand chapel for preaching hall.

• Kuthodaw Pagoda or Maha Lawka Marazeina Pagoda (World’s Biggest Book)

It is known as the world larger book and located on a spacious land at the foot of Mandalay hill in Mandalay. It was one of the seven-monuments founded by king Mindon who was the second last king of Konbaung dynasty. These seven buildings are palace-city, moat, Maha Lawka Marazein Stupa, Goden, Sima, Uncomparable monastery, the Chapel, the Buddhist Library. The very-first stone for the seven building were laid in 1860 at the same time, 8 years after his success to the throne. All the words in the biggest books are not written on paper but on the stone-slabs covered to 5 feet height, 3.5 feet width and about 6 inches thick. The land area is 13 acres and enclosed by 3 walls. The stone-slabs were systematically set in row by row and composed in beautiful ground-plan encircled to the centre-pagoda. Then, the stone-slabs were sheltered inside the Sri-lanka type stupa, the land and the stone-slabs were enclosed by three walls in square shape. Now, Kuthodaw is situated at the foot of Mandalay hill and well preserved in houses crowned by sattavali and stone-finial with iron-rail for all four-sides. They are beautifully set on rows with shady trees. The single door-leaf in beautiful wood carving of Yatanabon style will give an account of its history and its pious donor who was well respected and loved by his people as well as foreigners for his determination, wisdom, clever, ardent-desire on propagation and promotion of Buddhism forever. It will stand as the world Biggest Book and comparative genius teaching of Buddha among the Buddhist countries.

• Shwe Kyaung

Shwe kyaung Monastery can be seen the corner of 12th street and 62nd street in the North-West direction. Originally it was one of the palaces of King Mindon and chief queen Sakya Devi that were built at North of the Royal Palace. On October 1, 1978, the great King Mindon died at this palace and was succeeded by King Thibaw, the last king of the Konbaung Dynasty. He moved this golden palace to the present site in order to offer the monks as a monastery. This rebuilt building measured 115 feet by 69 feet. It has 150 pillars in various rows. There are 15 rows in the East-West direction while there are 10 rows in North-South direction. The great basic foundations are constructed for artistic and architectural purposes and wonderful dragon and mythical birds are carved with artistic skill. People at that time called the monastery “Shwenandaw Kyaung” in memory of the original golden palace. In fact, it is a suitable name because it is still shining with the color of gold. Nowadays the common name is “Shwe Kyaung Gyi” the great golden monastery. This 120 year-old monastery is really a wood masterpiece of the art with four floors narrowing toward the top. Today, it is great stop place for visitors to admire the beauty in ancient Myanmar architecture and explore long-lasting history in Mandalay.

• Atumashi Kyaung

The Atumashi Monastery is a Buddhist monastery located in Mandalay, Myanmar. It was built in 1857 by King Mindon, two years after the capital was moved to Mandalay. The original monastery structure was built using teak, covered with stucco on the outside, with its peculiar feature being that it was surmounted by five graduated rectangular terraces instead of the traditional pyatthats, Myanmar-style tiered and spired roofs. The structure burned down in 1890 after a fire in the city destroyed both the monastery and the 30 feet (9.1 m) tall Buddha image, as well as complete sets of the Tipitaka. During the fire, a 19.2-carat (32 ratti) diamond, which adorned the Buddha image (originally given to King Bodawphaya by Maha Nawrahta, the Governor of Arakan) disappeared as well. In 1996, Burma’s Archaeological Department reconstructed the monastery with prison labor.

• Mahara Theta Maryazein Kyauk Taw Gyi

Kyauktawgyi Buddha Temple is a well-known Buddhist temple located near the southern entry to Mandalay Hill, Myanmar, opposite the northeastern corner of the Mandalay moat. Construction began in 1853 under the patronage of King Mindon Min, but the site was not completed until 1878 because of internal discord in the mid-1860s, including a palace rebellion. The temple was initially modeled after the Ananda Temple in Bagan, but the completed temple does not resemble the former. The Kyauktawgyi Buddha is a huge sculpted image of the Buddha seated in the Bhumipassa. The figure was sculpted from a single block of pale green marble quarried at Sagyin, 12 miles (19 km) north of Mandalay. The stone block was transported over the course of 13 days, requiring the manpower of 10,000 to 12,000 men, to the temple site, where it was carved. The image was consecrated in 1865. A pagoda festival is annually held at Kyauktawgyi Buddha Temple in October.

• Sandamuni Pagoda

The Sandamuni pagoda in Mandalay is known for its large golden zedi, its hundreds of shrines containing inscribed marble slabs and the largest iron Buddha image in Burma, the Sandamani, after which it is named. Resembling the nearby Kuthodaw Pagoda, the Sandamuni is located on the foot of Mandalay Hill with good views of the hill and its monasteries. The pagoda was built as a memorial to crown Prince Kanaung, who was murdered in 1866 by two of King Mindon Min’s sons, who were unhappy not to be the first in line to become the next King. The bodies of the crown Prince and three of his sons who were also killed were entombed on the Sandamuni pagoda grounds. In the early 1990’s the tombs were moved to a mausoleum in Mandalay. The Sandamuni pagoda houses the largest iron Buddha image in Burma, named the Sandamani image. The image was cast in 1802 by Bodawpaya, King of the Konbaung dynasty of Burma. Made of almost 41,000 pounds of iron, it is now covered with a layer of gold. The image was moved to Mandalay from the old capital Amarapura, a few kilometers South West of Mandalay. The image in the Bhumisparsha mudra of “Calling the earth to witness” is enshrined in a worship hall.

• Zay Cho Market

Zay Cho Market is not only the largest and busiest market but also as old as the city itself in upper Myanmar. It was built in 1897 in the reign of King Mindon. It was renovated in 1903, 1994. The Myanmar Language in “Zay Cho” means cheap or reasonable prices. You can find anything like retail markets. Although an interesting and lively place to wander around, the main building unfortunately now an undistinguished modern structure – the main draws here are the neighbouring dusty, bustling markets of 86th street, which are rich in atmosphere and have a huge selection of locally produced goods, from fresh food to handicrafts.

• Shwe In Bin Monastery

Shwe In Bin Monastery is located south west of downtown, by a small river on 89th and 38th streets. This beautiful and ornate teak monastery, was constructed in 1895 by Chinese merchants, and features many impressive wood carvings and contains a number of traditional art works. The setting, outside central Mandalay, is a peaceful and relaxing place to witness Buddhist monks go about their daily lives.

• Eain Taw Yar Pagoda

The beautifully proportioned pagoda at Eindawya Paya stands west of Zegyo Market. It is covered in gold leaf and makes a fine, shimmering sight on a sunny day. The pagoda was built by King Pagan Min in 1847, on the site of the palace where he lived before he ascended the throne – which at that time was still at Amarapura.

The colonial hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin (Pyin U Lwin) was a summer retreat during British rule, its altitude (1070m) and relatively cool climate allowing the British ruling class to escape the fearsome heat of Mandalay and lower Myanmar. In that era it is called Maymyo (meaning ‘May’s ton’ in Burmese, after a British colonel who was stationed there), and is still sometimes referred to by that name. Although now sadly blighted by some more recent building development, Pyin Oo Lwin’s colonial legacy still holds the key to the town’s charm, and the surrounding area offers plenty to explore. Pyin Oo Lwin’s beautiful botanical garden are unique in Myanmar and there are a number of scenic waterfalls in the area. The town itself does retain a number of characteristic examples of 19th century country houses, several of which are now hotels. The most famous is The Candacraig, a colonial mansion built in 1904.

• National Kandawgyi Garden

Officially named National Kandawgyi Gardens, the botanical gardens were opened in 1915 and are still beautifully maintained. They are home to a wide variety of colourful flora and fauna, including dedicated flower shows and wildlife including gibbons and takin, goat-antelopes that are native to the Himalayas. There is a large viewing platform with impressive 360 degree vistas of the park, town and surrounding area.

• Pwe Gauk Waterfall

The Pwe Kauk Falls is a very pleasant picnic spot in Pyin Oo Lwin where many Myanmar families come for a picnic. Pwe Kauk or B.E waterfalls is also known as Hampshire Falls in British times. It is located on the way to Lashio and not too far from Pyin Oo Lwin town. There are two waterfalls in Pwe Kauk where many people swim or play in the shallow waters. There is a market besides waterfalls where you can buy local products such as wines, strawberry jams, fruits and flowers etc. Pwe Kauk stunned by its natural beauty and breathtaking scenery. A one hour hike from the falls there is the natural caves of U Naung Gu where several Buddhas are enshrined.

• Dat Taw Gyaint Waterfall

The most impressive waterfall in the area is the Dat Taw Gyaint waterfall In Pyin Oo Lwin, just outside Anisakan, to the south west of Pyin Oo Lwin. Situated at the head of a deep ravine, the lowest part of the waterfall splashes dramatically into a pool of crystal clear water in which you can swim. There is an unusual earthen pagoda by the pool, and you can get snacks and drinks there.

• Pein Chin Myaung Cave

Peik Chin Myaung is a limestone stalactite cave situated south of Wetwang village, near Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar. The cave is an interesting site of tourism just 23 km from Pyin Oo Lwin, on the Lashio road. The Peik Chin Myaung cave is one of the most attractive in Myanmar, featuring colourful Buddhist scenes, a large number of shrines and a picturesque waterfall at its entrance.

• Dee Dote Waterfall

Dee Dote layered waterfall with crystal clear, bluish water (one hour drive from Mandalay). Dee Doke waterfall is located at the outskirts of Mandalay city. It takes about 1 hours driving distance (Car/motor) from Mandalay city. From Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin highway, near Ohn Chaw town use the road which leads to Ye Ywar HydroPower Dam. Once off the main highway, travellers will find themselves on a quiet country lane that winds through idyllic rural scenery. Nearby mountains provide a backdrop for fields of sunflowers and the clear, rock-bottomed Myitnge River, which flows adjacent to the road for several miles. It’s worth stopping along the way to appreciate the peaceful countryside. Drivers will eventually see a sign pointing the way to Dee Dote Waterfall – make the turn and park your vehicle. Your destination is only moments away. Dee Dote is actually a three-tiered cascade with a series of falls and pools filled with clear water that flows from the Shan Plateau. A footpath leads down to the lowest, most spectacular pool, which dazzles with its stunning turquoise water. The pool is big enough to accommodate those who want to cool off with a swim, so be sure to bring a swimsuit or other appropriate clothing. Inner tubes are also available for renting. Although the natural beauty of Dee Dote Waterfall has been sullied to some extent by the construction of rickety bamboo bridges and snack shops, visitors will doubtless find; that the hour-long journey from Mandalay has been well worth the time and effort. It’s a great place to beat the heat of the city and enjoy the great outdoors, Myanmar-style.

Amarapura is a former capital of Myanmar, and now a township of Mandalay. Amarapura is bounded by the Irrawaddy river in the west, Chanmyathazi Township in the north, and the ancient capital site of Ava (Inwa) in the south. Amarapura was founded by King Bodawpaya of the Konbaung Dynasty. He founded Amarapura as his new capital in May 1783. The new capital became a center of Buddhist reforms and learning. In 1800, It was the capital of Myanmar twice during the Konbaung period (1783–1821 and 1842–1859) before finally being supplanted by Mandalay 11 km north in 1859. It is historically referred to as Taungmyo (Southern City) in relation to Mandalay. Amarapura today is part of Mandalay, as a result of urban sprawl. The township is known today for its traditional silk and cotton weaving, and bronze casting. It is a popular tourist day-trip destination from Mandalay.

• Bargayar Monastery

Bargaya Monastery was built in 1834 A.D. during the reign of King Bagyidaw. Being built entirely of teak wood, the monastery has 267 gigantic teak wood posts. The biggest post measuring 60 feet high and 9 feet in circumference. The monastery is a structure of great dimension for it is 188 feet in length and 103 feet in breadth. The monastery is a storehouse of Myanmar cultural heritage, representing ancient architecture and sculpture in several artistic objects which are rarely found in the monastery of a later date.

• Mahar Gandar Yone Monastery

This Buddhist monastery is located in Amarapura (Myanmar), 10 kilometres from Mandalay. The monastery is situated by the Taung Tha Man lake and close to the famous U Bein Bridge, the longest teak bridge in the world. A thousand Buddhist monks and novices line up every morning, at 10 o’clock, to receive their meal of the day at Mahar Gandar Yone Monastery. Buddhist Monks are not permitted to work for wages, and so they depend on charity and donations, their food being donated by ordinary citizens as well as businesses. The daily duties of a monk include meditation, teaching (or studying), preaching and officiating religious ceremonies.

• Taungthaman Lake & U Pein Bridge

U Bein Bridge is a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura in Myanmar. The 1.2-kilometre (0.75 mi) bridge was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world. Construction began when the capital of Ava Kingdom moved to Amarapura and the bridge is named after the mayor who had it built. It is used as an important passageway for the local people and has also become a tourist attraction and therefore a significant source of income for souvenir sellers. It is particularly busy during July and August when the lake is at its highest. The bridge was built from wood reclaimed from the former royal palace in Inwa. It features 1,086 pillars that stretch out of the water, some of which have been replaced with concrete. Though the bridge largely remains intact, there are fears that an increasing number of the pillars are becoming dangerously decayed. Some have become entirely detached from their bases and only remain in place because of the lateral bars holding them together. Damage to these supports have been caused by flooding as well as a fish breeding program introduced into the lake which has caused the water to become stagnant. The Ministry of Culture’s Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library plans to carry out repairs when plans for the work are finalized. From 1 April 2009, eight police force personnel have been deployed to guard the bridge. Their presence is aimed at reducing anti-social behaviour and preventing criminal activities, with the first arrest coming in September 2013 when two men were reported for harassing tourists.

• Pahtodawgyi Pagoda

In the southern part of Amarapura. the Pahtodawgyi Pagoda modeled on the Mahazedi of Sri Lanka. The foundation of this pagoda was laid by King Bagyidaw and his Queen on 2nd March 1820. The pagoda was completed on 19th February 1824. The base measures 180 feet in circumference. and the height also measures 180 feet. The official title of the pagoda is Maha Vijayaramsi. This well preserved pagoda stood outside the old city walls. The lower terraces have marble slabs illustrating scenes from the Jataka. You’ll have a fine view over the surrounding countryside from the upper terrace. An inscription stone. within the temple precincts. details the history of the pagoda’s construction.

• Taung Pyone

Taung Pyone village, about 10 km north of Mandalay, on the Mandalay – Mogoke Road. Taung Pyone Festival is held for 6 days starting from 10 Waxing day of Wagaung to Full Moon Day (or) the last week of August every year. The background history of the festival dates back to the Bagan Period. After the empire King Anawrahta’s Army went to attack the Mongols at the Myanmar – Chinese border. On the way back, he camped at the Taung Pyone Village. In the King’s Army, the two young generals Shwe Pyin Brothers, adopted sons of the King who got the supernatural power were very popular. As youngsters, they enjoy drinking and gambling all the time. The King was building a pagoda at that village. He ordered everyone of his Army to participate. The two young generals didn’t know that information. The jealous ministers purposely did the plan by not placing the two bricks that were of the two generals. So the two bricks were missing after completion of the pagoda (We can still see this today). When the King found out that, he ordered to execute the two heroes and since then they became Nats (Spirits), and the King deified them as the guardian spirits of the area. They are the most popular among the 37 Nats deified by the people. Nowadays, Taung Pyone is the most famous Nat festival in the country. Tens of Thousands of Myanmar People attend this annual celebration, held in honour of the Taung Pyone Brother lords. Not only Taung Pyone brother statues, but also Series of 37 Nat statues on the stands are offered food and flowers, cash and alcohol. All the Nat mediums and those who believe and worship Nat’s gather in the village. Thousands of people are visiting the hundred some Nats Pavilions to consult a medium for their future prospects and fortunes. The mediums entertain the crowds with Nat dance with the traditional Nat music and performance during night and day. The whole area is occupied with circus and cultural dances, music and magic shows, fortunetellers and tattoo shops. Thousands of people come here every day during the festival.

• Wirawazana Pagoda (Jade Pagoda)

The Jade Pagoda named “Werawsana” that means name means given of peace, progress, prosperity, good fortune, glory, fame, wealth and immunity from all dangers, and wish-fulfilling is majestically located on a hillock at Hsin Ywa, Myinmu village tract in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region, Upper Myanmar. It is entirely built of one of Myanmar’s semi-precious stones, Jade. It is easily visible and accessible on the good motor roads, to and from Mandalay International Airport. The donor of the site, as well as the manager of designing and covering of jade and sculpture is U Soe Naing (Aye Aye Khaing, Gems Company). The total cost of construction up-to-date is over 40,000 lakhs and the value of jade stones used is at least over 100,000 lakhs. The Jade Pagoda is 75 feet 6 inches high, 176 feet in circumference, each terrace is 52 feet 6 inches long, 52 feet 6 inches broad and 12 feet high. The hti (decorative umbrella on the top of the Pagoda) is 7 feet high, the decorative banana bud is 8 feet 6 inches high. Four entrance cave facing four cardinal directions have each a jade Buddha statue in seating position. The jade Buddha statue housed in the east entrance cave is 49 inches high, that in the west entrance cave is 31 inches high, that in the north entrance cave is 50 and a half inches high and that in the south entrance cave is 49 and a half inches high. It is expected that sooner or later this Jade Pagoda will be engraved in the List of Guinness Book of World wonders or the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List as the world’s First Jade Pagoda.

Located across Myitnge River about 20 km southwest of Mandalay is the capital of Burmese Kingdom for nearly 400 years. All the major buildings, which are not destroyed during the earthquake of 1838, had been transferred first to Amarapura and then to Mandalay however the 88 feet high watchtower known as the ” leaning tower of Ava” and Bargaya teak monastery which is famous for its teak pillars amounting to 267 in total is still to be seen today. Visitors cross the river on a ferry and ride around the sites of Ava in a horse-drawn cart.

• Barmet Kyaung (Bagaya Monastery)

The name Bargaya is a Mon word. It literally means Khayebin Kyaung. The Bagaya monastery was built on the southwest of Inwa palace on 1593. During Hsin Phyu Shin’s reign (1763-1776. Atwinwun Mahathirijeyathankhya, town officer of Magwe, built a monastery in the Bagaya monastic establishment and dedicated to Shin Dhammabhinanda. During King Bagyidaw (1819-1837) the great fire broke out to Kontha quarter. to the south of the palace on 15 April 1821 and Hluttaw. tooth relic tower. watch tower and to northern gate caught fire and seemed that the Bagaya monastery was burnt in the fire.The government tried to reconstruct in 1992. It intends to build a ( gadhakuti) special shrine for the use of Buddha image and Pitaka scriptures. So it put the new Brick building in the place of the old monastery. It was recorded that the monastery was constructed on the model of the old monastery.The grand Bagaya monastery. decorated with splendid Myanma architectural works. is in the ancient city of Innwa.King Bagyidaw of Innwa era built the Bagaya monastery at the confluence of the Ayeyawady and the Myitnge rivers in 1196 Myanma Era. The site of the monastery is about (11) miles from the Mandalay City. The grand Bagaya Monastery has a three-tiered roof and its adjacent religious lecture hall. in the eastern side of the monastery. has a seven-tiered roof. The monastery has (267) teak posts. The largest teak post is (9) feet in circumference. The post is (60) feet high. The monastery is (118) feet long and (103) feet wide. The monastery has tour brick stairs. The entire building of the monastery is decorated with carvings. floral arabesques. the ornamentation with curved figurines and the reliefs of birds and animals as well as small pillars on the wall decorated with tunnery. the artistic works of Innwa Era. Large teak of the doors monastery are also beautifully designed with sculptures and reliefs. There is a reverential statue on a throne in the Marabin or a large hall with its partition reaching from the floor to the ceiling of the monastery. The statue was sculpted with the handiwork of Innwa Era. The grand Bagaya monastery is still existing today in its original form. All the Myanmar nationals can be proud of the splendid monastery which is like an ancient arts museum.

• Mahar Aung Myay Bone San (or) Mel Nu Oak Kyaung

The monastery is located in Innwa on the East bank of the Irrawaddy river, just South of Amarapura and some 20 kilometers from downtown Mandalay. The monastery is found a few hundred meters South of the Irrawaddy river in Innwa town.The Maha Aung Mye Bonzan Monastery is a fine example of Burmese monastery architecture during the Konbaung dynasty. The monastery, also known as the Brick Monastery is a well preserved building in ochre color. The very ornate structure is decorated with intricate stucco sculptures. The Maha Aung Mye Bonzan Monastery was built by Queen MeNu, wife of King Bagyidaw of the Konbaung dynasty in 1818 as the residence of the Royal Abbott. It is also known as Me Nu Oak Kyaung which translates to Me Nu’s brick monastery. During those days it was customary for monasteries to be built out of wood. Most wooden monasteries and Palaces have been destroyed by fires or have been very badly weathered. The brick monastery was built in the same style as the wooden monasteries of its time. It has a multi tiered roof and its stucco ornamentations look like wood carvings that wooden monasteries were decorated with. An inner passage way leads through the monastery building. Inside are several Buddha images. Two large Chinthes, the Burmese mythological lions, protect the entrance, as is the case with most Burmese temples. On the grounds of the monastery are a number of white stupas in different sizes topped with golden hti’s, a spire ornament in the shape of an umbrella. The monastery was damaged during the large 1838 earthquake and was renovated four decades later.

• Nan Myot Myaw Zin (Watch Tower)

 Nan Myot Myaw Zin (Watch Tower) which is about 90 feet (30 m) high is a solitary masonry building that remains of Bagyidaw’s palace built in 1822. Owing to the earthquake of 1838. only the lower part was left but it was restored as its original structure. The watch tower is one of the examples of Myanmar architectural style of early 19th century.

It is located across majestic Ayeyarwaddy River approximately 12 km north of Mandalay. Mingun today hosts the world’s second largest ringing Bell of 90 tons in weight and unfinished pagoda to go with it. Mingun Pagoda was dedicated to be the world’s largest monument however which today stood to be the world’s largest brick pile. Mingun is a place which Mingun Sayardaw, who is a record holder in the Human memory category in 1985 in the Guinness Book of Records, lived from 1930 until his death in 1993. It is reached by ferry boats across the river and takes 1 hour for up-river and 40 minutes for down-river. A boat trip to Mingun is pleasant with plenty of life on the river to see.

• Mingun Paya (Pahtodawgyi)

It is one of the most famous buildings in the world. The building of Mingun Pahtodawgyi started in 1791. Hand it been completed it would have a height of some 500 feet. It was stopped at 162 feet height. Its girth is about 450 square feet. This is Pandawa Pagoda which is prototype of Mingun Pahtodawgyi. You can study Myanmar arts and crafts of Kongbaung period in Mingun Pahtodawgyi. King Bodawpaya built Mingun Pahtodawgyi aiming to worship from Shwebo in the distance where he has ascended the throne. The pagoda was left unfinished. Two enormous prominent statues of lions in Mingun. one of the tourist attractions is at the east stairway of Pahtodawgyi which faces the Ayeyarwaddy river.From here. you can also enjoy the natural scenic beauty of Ayeyarwady river and green and pleasant Minwun hill. If this pagoda was completed. then it would have been the largest monument. This unfinished structure was badly damaged with cracks by the earthquake of 1838 but it is still the largest brick base in the world.

• Mingun Bell

King Bodawpaya dedicated a big bronze bell near the Mingun Cedi at Mingun on the west bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River facing Mandalay. The Bell was made of bronze; but it is said that Buddhist devotees inserted gold, silver, ornaments and jewellery into the bronze. The weight of the bell is 55,555 viss (90,718 kilograms or 199,999 pounds). This number is conveniently remembered by many people in Myanmar as a mnemonic “Min Hpyu Hman Hman Pyaw”, with the consonants representing the number 5 in Burmese astronomy and numerology. The weight of the bell and its mnemonic words are written on the surface of the bell in white.The outer diameter of the rim of the bell is 16 feet 3 inches (4.95 m). The height of the bell is 12.0 feet (3.66 m) on the exterior and 11.5 feet (3.51 m) in the interior. The outside circumference at the rim is 50.75 feet (15.469 m). The bell is 6 to 12 inches (15–30 cm) thick and stands 20.7 feet (6.31 m) high from the rim to the top. According to the current record, at 90 tons, the Mingun Bell reigned as the largest ringing bell in the world until 2000, when it was eclipsed by the 116-ton Bell of Good Luck at the Foquan Temple, Pingdingshan, Henan, China.

• Myatheindan Pagoda

It was built by King Bagyidaw in 1816, three years before he succeeded Bodawpaya as the King. The pagoda was constructed in memory of his senior wife the Hsinbyume Princess. It is built as a representation of the Sulamani Pagoda. The seven wavy terraces around the pagoda represent the seven mountain ranges around Mount Meru. This pagoda was badly damaged in 1838 by a quake but King Mindon restored it in 1874.

• Daw Oo Zun Home for the aged

It is one of the tourist attractions. It was founded by Daw Oo Zun herself in senior year in 1915 with a view to looking after old destitute and in need of care and comfort. The pioneer to this humanitarian cause of establishing homes for the Aged in modern Myanmar was a sublime lady, a silk merchant from Mandalay named DawOoZun. She was born in 1868, when King Mindon still reigned. Her compassion towards the poor and helpless aged motivated her to establish 5 old age homes around the country within short span of 22 years from 1915 to 1937.  

DawOoZun founded the first Home at Mingun in 1915 at the age of 46. The second Home was established at Thaton in 1923, the third Home at Paungde in 1929, the fourth Home at Hninzigon Ward, Yangon in 1933 and fifth Home at Pakokku in 1937. Remaining celibate and deeply pious, she renounced the worldly life to become a nun of the Buddhist Order at the age of 62 at Paungde Home.

Bagan, located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, is home to the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world with many dating from the 11th and 12th centuries. The shape and construction of each building is highly significant in Buddhism with each component part taking on spiritual meaning. Bagan became a central powerbase in the mid 11th century under King Anawratha, who unified Burma under Theravada Buddhism. It is estimated that as many as 13,000 temples and stupas once stood on this 42 sq km plain in central Myanmar.

1) Ananda Pagoda

Ananda Pagoda is Bagan’s holiest temple, built by the third king, Kyan-zit-tha in 1091. Ananda comes from the Pali word “anantapannya”, which means “boundless wisdom”. The temple houses four Buddhas facing the cardinal directions, which represent the four Buddhas who have attained Nirvana. The fifth, Maitreya, is yet to appear. This is the most important temple in all of Bagan. Location: Left side on the southern stretch of the Bagan-Nyaung Oo Rd. just before the road heads to Tharabar Gate of Old Bagan.

2) Shwesandaw Pagoda

This is the “sunset temple”, where foreign and Burmese tourists alike gather every evening to view the spectacular Bagan sunset. Get here early, as the top levels are small and space is scarce. There are many peddlers around the temple selling T-shirts, drinks and souvenirs. The climb up is a reasonably easy 5 minute walk up a flight of stairs, but the steps get narrower and steeper near the top. Not recommended for those with vertigo, but if you can make the climb, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking sunset as the temples and landscape are set ablaze in golden sunrays. A good compromise is to climb to the 3rd or 2nd highest level, where the steps are much more manageable than the topmost level, is less crowded, and the view is just as good. It starts getting crowded here as early as 4:30pm, so consider taking a view from the Shwe-Gu-Gyi temple nearby instead (easily passable if on bike).

3) Shwezigon Pagoda

It is on the North bank of Nyaung U, this is one of the most important pagodas in all of Myanmar that was built in the 11th century and served as the original model for the pagoda of the same name in Yangon. This gourd-stupaed golden pagoda is the first and prototype monument (including for the iconic Shwedagon Pagoda of Yangon) built in Myanmar style in 1087. Careful on the stall vendors, they are the pros employing hard sell psycho tactics. Location: Heading south, right side on the northern stretch of the Bagan-Nyaung Rd. after passing the bus station. A long covered walkway with souvenir stalls starts from the road to the compound.

4) Thatbyinnyu Temple

The tallest pagoda measuring 66 meters built in the 12th century. Location: Left side after entering the Tharabar Gate of Old Bagan, the second road.

5) Shwegugyi Temple

Commissioned by King Alaung Sithu in 1131, one of the most intact temples in the site that needs a little less of imagination to appreciate Bagan’s olden days. Nearby the Shwe-San-Daw pagoda, this temple is just as good for watching the sunset and far less crowded; a great alternative for an astounding view. Location: This temple sits closely in front of Thatbyinnyu Temple.

6) Manuhar Pagoda

This complex has some attached drama into it. It was built by King Manuhar from the nearby kingdom of Thaton, a POW of King Anawratha. He sold his jewelry and poured out his pent up sentiments by constructing this temple. Location: The last major Temple at the southern end of Myinkaba Village along Bagan-Chauk Rd. and marked by a towering free-standing column.

7) Dhammayangyi Pagoda

Another complex with an attached drama, this was commissioned by King Narathu to atone for his sins of assassinating his father, brother, and wife. The eccentricity of this king is reflected in the building’s finely set brickwork (it was noted that he executed a bricklayer for his not too perfect masonry work – gaps are too wide) and its unfinished construction (work abandoned after he himself was assassinated). These generate so many riddles and mysteries that lead to be known as ghost haunted temple for some inhabitants. From estimates, there were roughly 6 million pieces of bricks used in the construction of this temple.

8) Sulamani Pagoda

Nearby Dhamma Yangyi, but even more impressive since of the same architectural style but even better preserved. The decreasing six terraces and the main structure resemble the plan of a pyramidal shape. It was the copy of Ananda temple, and has two corridors inside constructed in a plan in perfect Greek cross. But the interior passage has been closed by bricks for unknown reason. The masonry job of this temple is so remarkable that even a needle can’t penetrate between two bricks. Besides, the complicated architectural style of this temple creates the arguments on the number of floors and on the completion of the building. Location: A kilometer southeast off the southern stretch of Anawrahta Rd. The Sulamani temple was severely damaged during the earthquake of 24 August 2016.

9) Gubyaukgyi Temple (Wetkyi-Inn)

This durian-shaped stupaed temple was modeled after Bodh Gaya in India. It has also murals depicting scenes from the Jataka tales. But the best feature in this temple is the rooftop view of the surrounding area even if it’s not as high and acrophobic as those in its category. Access is guided by the caretaker who will reveal his intention after such a wonderful tour by soliciting appreciation for his sand paintings. Remember, nothing is free in Myanmar. Location: Better accessed through Bagan-Nyaung Oo Rd. although Anawrahta Rd. is nearer but remote, just north of the dry creek.

10) Gawdaw Palin Pagoda

A fusion of Myanmarese and Indian styles, this temple has a beautiful courtyard with a medium-sized stupa and interesting bell hangers. Location: Inside Old Bagan, just north of the Archeological Museum.

11) Myazedi Pagoda

Myazedi pagoda, Mya Zedi paya was built in the first half of the 12th century by Prince Yazakumar, son of King Kyanzittha. It located in Myinkaba village, East of Bagan – Chauk road between old Bagan and new Bagan, nearby Gubyaukgyi (Myinkaba), Mingalazedi pagoda, Manuha temple. The Myazedi pagoda is a gilded stupa sitting on a number of square receding tiers, located in Myinkaba village South of old Bagan. The Myazedi was built during the first half of the 12th century by Prince Yazakumar to make merit and to serve as a memorial to his mother. The name of the paya translates to “Jade Pagoda”. A small building next to the pagoda contains the famous Myazedi inscription, the oldest stone inscription in Myanmar, inscribed in 1113 by Yazakumar, son of King Kyanzittha and builder of the Myazedi. Prince Yazakumar dedicated the stone inscription to his father. A large four sided stone is inscribed in four languages, ancient Pali, Mon, old Burmese and Pyu. Each side contains the same text in a different language, which allowed archaeologists to decipher the previously unknown Pyu language. The Pyu inscription also shows the influence of the Pyu, the earliest inhabitants of upper Burma, in early Bagan history. This inscription was recorded in UNESCO’s  World Heritage Record List in 2014.

12) Bupaya Stupa

This lone golden gourd-shaped structure is sitting on a complex temple by the river. Location: Inside Old Bagan, a northbound road leading to it branches out from the main road as it turns south, the stupa is visible from the outside and not necessary to explore the temple complex.

13) HtiloMinlo Pagoda

Htilominlo Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Bagan in Burma/Myanmar, built during the reign of King Htilominlo, 1211-1231. The temple is three stories tall, with a height of 46 metres, and built with red brick.

14) Nathlaung Kyaung

The Nathlaung Kyaung Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu. The temple is located inside the city walls of old Bagan, Burma. Nathlaung Kyaung Temple is to the west of the Thatbyinnyu Temple, and it is the only remaining Hindu temple in Bagan.

15) Lawkananda Pagoda

Lawkananda Pagoda is a Buddhist zedi located in Bagan, Burma. It was erected on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, and built during the reign of King Anawrahta. It contains a replica of a Buddha tooth relic.

16) Tharabar Gate

Tharabar Gate is the only surviving gate of Bagan. The gate is located to the east of the old city.

17) Mahabodhi Pagoda

The Mahabodhi Temple is a Buddhist temple located in Bagan, Burma. It was built in the mid-13th century during the reign of King Htilominlo, and is modelled after the Mahabodhi Temple, which is located in Bihar, India.

18) Dhammayazika Pagoda

It was built by Narapatisithu in 1196 A.D. It is a solid circular pagoda of the Shwezigon type, but its design is elaborate and unusual. The three lower terraces, which are adorned with terracotta tablets illustrating the Jatakas or Birth Stories of the Buddha, are pentagonal, and at the base on each side, there is a small temple with a square basement enshrining an image of the Buddha. They are all built on a raised platform enclosed within a wall, and there is an outer circuit wall which is pierced with five gateways. There are some ink inscriptions on the interior walls of the projecting porches.

19) Pwasaw Village

This region is situated between Myinkaba and Minnanthu regions. There are two villages named as Anouk Pwasaw Ywar and Ashay Pwasaw Ywar, meaning East Pwasaw Village and West Pwasaw Village respectively.

20) Min Nan Thu Village

Minnanthu is situated in the south of Nyaung U. The monuments in this region are of a later period than those in the Central Bagan.

21) Lay Myet Nhar Pagoda

Lemyethna Temple was built in 1222 A.D. by Minister Anantathura, who also set up an inscription in stone. The temple rests on a high platform and faces east. The interior walls are decorated with mural painting.

22) Payathonzu Temple

Payathonzu means “three pagodas” is a complex of three interconnected shrines. It was abandoned shortly before its construction was complete. could have been due to the invasion of the Mongols. This monument has been built during the 13th century. Since then, there are some possible that Mahayana influence. The monument has mural paintings referring bodhisattva figures. Some define that the three monuments was designed to show the worshipping of Hindu gods such as Vishnu. Shiva and Brahma. But in another way. it is the representation of “Triple Gems” of Theravada Buddhism which as Dhamma. Buddha. and Sangha. Two of the shrines contain vaguely Chinese or Tibetan-looking mural paintings that contain bodhisattva figures. The complex is usually locked. It’s best to inquire at the museum in Old Bagan to make an appointment for an inspection; in high season. it will probably be open most of the day for group tours. The Payathonzu is so called because the monument consists of three distinct small square temples with vaulted corridors and porticoes, joined together by two vaulted narrow passages leading from the one into the other. There is a pedestal in each sanctum, but the images have disappeared and their exact nature is not known. The walls of the corridors and the vaults are covered with beautifully painted and well preserved mural painting. The half decorated middle sanctum and the plain walls of the western temple indicate that the work was abandoned before completion. The date of the foundation of this temple is not known but it can safely be assigned to late 13th century A.D.

23) Thit Sawaddi Temple

Thitsawadi Temple is a three-storey building with ancient architectures of Bagan. Beautiful stuccos and interesting mural paintings can be found in this temple.

24) Pyathadar Temple

It is a double-cave type monument. It is really the most interesting monastery in Bagan. It was perhaps the last great construction of the dynasty of Bagan.

25) Sin Phyu Shin Temple

Sinphyushin temple was built by King Thihathu or Sinphyushin of Pinya. It is a cave-type Indian-style based monument. The inner walls of the temple are full of ancient mural paintings. The exteriors of the temple are embellished with beautiful patterned carved and molded stucco decorations.

26) Sedana Pagoda

Sinphyushin temple was built by King Thihathu or Sinphyushin of Pinya. It is a cave-type Indian-style based monument. The inner walls of the temple are full of ancient mural paintings. The exteriors of the temple are embellished with beautiful patterned carved and molded stucco decorations.

27) King Narathihapate Pagoda (Tayoke Pyay Pagoda)

Tayok Pye is a large temple which is located in Minnanthu. It was built by Narathihapate (1256-1287) also known as the king who fled from the Mongolian invasion. This is the meaning of Tayok Pye in Myanmar. It is one of the best temples decorated with beautiful stucco. People are still allowed to climb up at this temple to view the sunset of Bagan.

28) Tuyin Taung

Tuyin Taung or the Tuyin hill is located on the eastern side of the Ayeyarwaddy River bank of Bagan. Similar to Tantkyi Taung Pagoda, another famous pagoda in the Bagan region is the Tuyin Taung Pagoda. Tuyin Taung Pagoda was built during A.D 1059 by King Anawrahta. King Vizaraba from Sri Lanka donated one of Buddha’s tooth relics and King Anawrahta duplicated with another one and embedded in the sacred place inside this pagoda.There are 32 statues of elephants made in ratio to different directions at the base of the pagoda. It is an octagonal shaped designed platform on which the pagoda resides. Many years have passed by but still the pagoda is maintained by time to time.

29) Bagan Archaeological Museum

Bagan Archaeological Museum is situated on the south of Gawdaw Palin Pagoda, in Old Bagan. Except On Mondays and gazette public holidays, it is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The New Archaeological Museum is a three storey structure built in an octagonal design as the base. It is a complex of buildings in which ancient objects are displayed and three sheds where stone inscriptions, stone sculptures and other archaeological finds of large size are exhibited. In 1902, Mr.Taw Sein Kho, Superintendent of the former Epigraphic Office, which is now called Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, built a museum on the north of Ananda Temple, in which stone inscriptions and archaeological objects collected around Bagan were displayed. The museum was opened in 1904. It was a small museum and the displays were not systematic. On a site of 8.16 acres to the south of Gawdawpalin Temple within old Bagan, a modern museum was built and opened on 1st October,1979. It was a complex of buildings – an octagonal structure in which ancient objects were displayed and three sheds where stone inscriptions, stone sculptures and other archaeological finds of large size were exhibited. Early in 1995, the three sheds were demolished but the octagonal structure was left intact. A new magnificent new museum was constructed near the old museum and it was inaugurated on 17th April, 1998. Its ground plan measures 180 feet from east to west and 360 feet from north to south on a plot of land – 10.97 acres. There are 10 exhibition rooms  – the special display room and galleries dedicated to the following themes: Bagan Palace city, Bagan period literature, Bagan period social life, Bagan period Architecture, Bagan Arts and crafts, Buddha images of Bagan, Buddhist art of Bagan, Bagan period Frescos (Mural paintings), paintings presenting Pagodas and monuments of the Bagan period.

30) Nyaung Oo Market

The colorful Nyaung U Market is definitely a must-see. It is divided into different sections selling a variety of items and especially noteworthy, it includes a wet market. You can find almost everything from fresh fish, vegetables, handicrafts, to Myanmar sarong (locals call it “longyi”). Make sure to shop around and bargain. Nyaung U Market also offers a great chance to mingle with local people and know how they conduct their daily lives. You will watch how crafters turn a block of plain wood into a work of art, smell the scent of local rice, encounter friendly people daubed with yellow face powder (local sunblock “thankaka”) on cheeks, learn where the thankaka comes from, and see novice nuns from a monastery nearby collecting alms from local residents.

Mount Popa is located in Central Burma about 180 kilometers South West of Mandalay and 50 kilometers South East of Bagan and Nyaung U airport. From either place it takes around 1 to 1½ hours by car to get there. Mount Popa in Myanmar known as the home of the Nats is an extinct volcano with a monastery on top, named the Popa Taungkalat. It is the most important site in Burma for Nat pilgrimage. Mount Popa, which means flower mountain rises about 1,500 meters above sea level. The mountain is located in Mount Popa National Park. Although the region is very dry, the mountain and surrounding area are green and look like an oasis in the desert. As the volcanic soil is fertile and there are many streams in the area the mountain and National Park contain many beautiful flowers and other vegetation. Reaching the monastery on top of the mountain requires a climb of a stairway of 777 steps. The stairway to the top is covered, along the way to the top are shops selling various items including wooden handicrafts and local flowers. Along the stairway and in the monastery itself are monkeys everywhere that are always on the lookout for food. Mount Popa is the most important site in Burma for Nat pilgrimage. Nats have been worshipped on the mountain for at least a thousand years. The Nats are spirits who have been worshipped all over Burma for many centuries. They were probably worshipped before the arrival of Buddhism. Since then Buddhism and Nat worshipping have gradually merged over the centuries. A shrine in the Popa Taungkalat monastery contains statues of the 37 most important Nats, all wearing very colorful clothing. Most of them were humans who suffered a violent death. Ancient traditions and animist beliefs still play an important role in Burmese daily life. People come to the shrines to make offerings, including food. Many pilgrims from all over Burma visit Mount Popa to pay homage to the Nats, especially during the full moon festivals of Nayon and Nadaw.

One of Snake Pagodas is situated at the town of Paleik which is approximately 30 minutes (15 miles) by car from Mandalay. It is called the Palate Snake Pagoda. The reason for its name is due to the snakes that surround the main Buddha figure. At present there are three snakes however for a long time there had only been one but mysteriously two more turned up unannounced. For the local people the snakes have for a long time been a symbol of guardians of Buddha. Whatever the reason these passive snakes are quite happy for visitors to hold them and take pictures and at 11am every morning they take a bath in the small pool nearby. Whether you’re a snake lover or not this temple is certainly worth a visit. The formal name of the Pagoda is known as “Ratana Laba Muni Su Taung Pyi Muei Phaya” but it is known to be as “Meui Phaya” or “Snake Pagoda”. In 1977, a Buddhist monk was clearing the bush in that area and found a Buddha image inside a ruined Pagoda. On top of the image were three large pythons and from that time on, the place became known far and wide in the country as the Snake Pagoda .Each snake is fed a pot of milk and three eggs every five days. But later on, due to instructions from a veterinarian each was given 50 ticals of goat meat for protein. But every morning at 11:00 a.m. The snakes are given a bath..Pilgrims from various parts of the country come to pay homage to the snake Pagoda in Paleik town whenever they arrive in Mandalay. It is Buddhist belief that even animals though merit earned in previous existences are deserving of care and attention.

Kyaukse is located near Mandalay city. It is 30 miles from Mandalay. This place is famous for the Kyaukse Elephant dance. The festival is usually held around October and November. The huge elephant is made from bamboo and paper. Then the figure is decorated with colourful and beautiful decorations on it. Two men are needed to dance in the elephant. One is for the front legs and another one is for the back legs. The front person has to take the lead and the back person follows the lead. They have to dance in rhythm to keep the elephant in balance. The elephants usually pay homage to the Shwe Thar Lyaung Pagoda in Kyaukse. They make three rounds to the pagoda and only after that they come back to the town and dance. Although these are just elephant figures. they look very much alike in nature and movements to real ones.

It is located in the centre of Myanmar. Meikhtila is a mid-sized town rich in history thanks to its geographic positioning. The town is an ideal stopover for overland travelers venturing between Inle Lake and Bagan. Starting in the 11th century, Meikhtila was an important town serving as a central trading point for upper and middle Myanmar. It developed a strong economy thanks to the steady wave of commerce passing through. Yet in the mid-1900s the town’s history took a dramatic turn when the Allied forces fended off the Japanese invaders in a grueling battle. These days, the Myanmar Air Force calls Meikhtila home and its not unusual to see jet fighter planes swooping overhead on their training flights. In the centre of town is a large lake which is a pleasant place to walk around or enjoy a drink at one of the many cafes in the area.

Mogok, where most of priceless Gems are mined, lies in a beautiful mountain valley. It is 128 miles to the north-east of Mandalay and 60 miles to the east of Ayeyarwady river. There is the Great Lake of Mogok in the centre of the town lying like a pool in the garden. The mountain ranges of Mogok are a part of the great Shan plateau but the town itself is in Mandalay Division. The residents are mostly Lisus and Shans who make their living by mining and cutting, polishing and marketing gemstones. For centuries, gems such as rubies and sapphires were found at Mogok abundantly and very easily–so easy that they were literally scooped up by hand from among tufts of grass-roots in the hill-side kitchen garden. Gems so begotten are now known as ‘grass-root stones’. And the kind of loose upper soil where they are easily found is named ‘Manipur paydirt’ because in old days Manipur immigrants were those ordered by the king to work the mines. In those days the price of ordinary rubies was almost nothing. They were seen everywhere bought and sold every day. Only extraordinary ones, large, flawless and of pigeon-blood colour were considered as something worthy. Rich men, lords and ladies, Sawbwas (chieftains) and kings used to collect only those extraordinary gem-stones. And among gems, Rubies is rank No.1. Mogok, then and now, is a city of gems and also the heart of the gem-zone and the centre of the gem trade. Some years in the past, private mines were all closed and even Myanmar nationals on visit to Mogok hadn’t the chance to see how the famous mines worked. If the foreigners want to go there, they will need the permission.

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