Mandalay palace,U Bein Bridge, Burma

The palace of Manday was constructed between 1857-1859 by King Mindone , the second last king of Burma. He loved Mandalay mountain and built the palace near the mountain and named his emperor Mandalay based on the name of the mountain.

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The palace ceased to be the resident for royal family in 1885 when British leading Anglo Indian army invaded the palace and sent the royal family to India. The last king was King Thibaw who got the throne when he was barely 20. His wife x a 19 year old Queen Suphayalat was a fearless and fierce lady despite her small figure. She masterminded to get  position of the king for her husband by assassinating the senior royal members who were elderly siblings of King Thibaw. It was documented that the massacre involved 80-100 royal family members.

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King Thibaw and Queen Suphayalat

Queen Suphayalat was interesting and she broke all the Burmese royal culture..For example, she intervened the marriage of king Thibaw to her elder sister Suphaya Gyi at the wedding ceremony by sitting in between the couple. Later her sister was cancelled as the Queen and she took over her sister’s position .

She also forced the king not to marry any other women in contrary to Burmese royal tradition in which a King could choose many women as much as he desires.

It is also interesting to know that Thibaw and Suphayalat were the half siblings born from the same father and different mothers. Among all sons,Thibaw was King Mindone’s favorite as he was mentored not only by Royal Burmese teachers but also by a British tutor. King Thibaw could speak English fluently and also interested in modern gadgets. When he was in exile at Ratnagiri, India, King Thibaw used his binoculars and predicted weather as well as ship wreck to the villagers.

He lost a lot of his jewels as he needed to sell them to pay for the workers they brought from Burma. Eventually, his precious jewels were sold with miserable price. King Thibaw passed away in Ratnagiri and later the Queen and two daughters returned to Burma. Out of four daughters, one of them married to a Local Indian who was their servant from Ratnagiri. The Queen fiercely protected scandals of her daughter by saying that it was not the fault of her daughter and The Brits should be blamed for detaining the royals in a place where the girls could not be exposed to good suitors aka other Burmese Royal blood.

If you want further detail of the exciled , you can read the following book called “the glass palace” written by Amitav Ghosh..

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King Thibaw was well known  as a soft and indecisive person who was puppetted by his fierce wife. It was difficult for them to manage the country by the young and inexperienced couple as they also sent a lot of wise national advisors into excile as there were afraid of retaliation after the massacre.

After getting the throne for a few years, British government invaded Burma and cut down trees to get timber without paying any taxation to royal family . When the king ordered to pay tax, the British army invaded and took away jewels belong to the palace. Burmese army who did not have advanced weapons could not defend the colonial army.

At the same time, the looters came inside the palace to take advantage of situation. The Queen was mad and ordered the looters to back off from her room which they surprisingly obeyed. She had that sort of aura.

When the royal family was sent to the harbour in carriage led by horses, thousands of Burmese followed them on foot in tears. By that time, they had forgotten the fact that the royal couple had cost a lot of mortality in the palace. The only thing they had in mind is they do not want to lose their king and queen.

Mandalay mountain has lots of big trees and many wild animals that time. Later the pagoda was constructed by a hermit at the top of the mountain and it became one of the famous pilgrims’ attractions.

There was a legend that two big snakes came to the pagoda and stayed there for years looked after by the monks..After they passed, the pilgrims put the statues of the snakes there.

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It is nice to see sunset at the top of the Mandalay hill and you can enjoy the panorama view of the town. Here are the photos

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I was lucky enough to see blossoms of red color flowers at that time which make the scenery with red patches in lush green forest.

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The pagoda is named “sutaungpyae phayar” meaning whoever pray and wishes at pagoda will be granted with their wishes.

Its very common to see college students in group trying to engage conversation with tourists to practice their speaking skill. Similarly tourists ask lots of questions to monks regarding Buddhism

If you ever drop a visit to Mandalay hill, do not be alarmed if the youth approach you and speak to you. They are harmless and will be happy if you can spare a few minutes for them.

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For people who like shoping, you can buy souvenirs along the stairs.

As it is a great place to see the sunset, you should pay a visit to Mandalay hill.

Another interesting place to visit in Mandalay is U Bein  bridge which was built by a Burmese mayor  called U Bein more than 100 years ago. (1849-1851)

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You can watch lots of birds and observe the fishermen fishing in various ways. Some use boats and fishing nets. Some use fishing rods and some use bare hands.

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a man catching fish with bare hands

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You can also hire a boat with cheap price. The bridge is the most beautiful at the time of monsoon.

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It was the oldest and the longest (1.2km ) teak wood bridge in the world.

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Thank you for reading.

Ps. Thanks to wikipedia and facebook photos

Hninn

 

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Jade pagoda, Mandalay, Burma

Burma is the country which has the maximum amount and the best quality of jade.

In 2012, a highly spirited Buddhist couple  donated the jade pagoda with two aims.

1) to attract more tourists and to use the jade they have collected for 25 years for a good cause

2) to make the evidence that Burma has the best quality of jade in case if all the resources of jade runs out after many years.

Why jade is used for building pagoda? May be its because there was none before. Apart from that, there are 3 characteristics of jade such as

1) beauty

2) long lasting

3) rarerity

There are 7 facts which is related to donation of jade. Burmese believe that  donation of certain things can give you special rewards either in this life or next life. Regarding jade, it can give

1) generosity

2) courage

3) justice

4) humility

5) wisdom

6) safety

7) wealth

The donor has invited Japanese technician to make sure the pagoda can withstand earthquakes. It took 2 years to build and used 1000 tons of hade. The highest quality jade were inserted at the tip of pagoda. The price of jade used alone is 30 millions usD without the cost of building it. The most qualified artists were hired to build scultures and statues.

It is located in Mandalay State, Amarapura township, near Yangon Mandalay highway. If you arrive at bus station, you can hire motor bike to send you. It takes only 20 minutes and they can charge you 6000 to 8000 kyats.  It was built in the area of 5 acres. Both the width and height is 133 feet 6 inches.

Now you can see a few photos of jade pagoda.

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The monk paying homage to buddha

Thank you for reading.

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While you can visit other pagodas at four am in Mandalay , Jade pagoda opens the gate only at five am most probably due to security reason.

 

Maing Thouk. Shan state. Burma

Today we went to the place where you can climb the hill and see the overall view of Inn Lay.

Maing Thouk is 20 miles more or less away from Taunggyi and  it is located on the Eastern shore of Inn Lay lake, half village is on the dry land and half is in the lake. Most population rely on farming and most of them use boats as a way of transportation.  We drove up the hill and observed the monastery and paid homage to a small pagoda. The view is lovely .

The pagoda on the hill

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The pagoda on the hill

 

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There is also an orphanage on the hill which is organized by the monastery. The original in charge monk of the monastery passed but his statue is placed at the pagoda. It was written that he became a novice at young age.

 

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Admirable Sayadaw statue

 

 

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Cows are  essential for dryland farming
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Farmer  on the boat among tomato trees
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450 meter long bridge

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We then walked on the bridge and savor the view of mountains and vegetable farm. We saw farmers being busy rowing the boats and digging the soil.

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Maing Thouk in water
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Surrouned by ranges of mountains
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Green and refreshing view

 

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Long legged houses. Every house has a boat

 

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Beautiful velvety flowrrs

 

 

Some houses have restaurants and selling beers and local delicacies. At first we wondered how to go to restaurant. It was easy. Just shout to the person whoever is visible on the house. They will row the boat and pick you up at the bridge. At certain part of bridge, they have ladders where you can climb down and up.

The water was up to only knee length as the rain has not come yet. The girl who picked up with a boat was very skillful in handling the boat. The weather became hot as it was almost 11 am. But we still enjoyed our boat ride and snack at the restaurant.

When you step on the boat , it is shaky a bit , but you do not need to worry once you sit down.

Afterall, it was such a nice outing.

On the way back, we had a nice lunch , fish curry at Pauk Kyaw restaurant beside Nyaung Shwe road. The restaurant is in chalets made of bamboo and thetch . The chalets are inside the lake which has many fish. Phone. +95-9-5215934. ( the dishes are cheap and yummy)

On the way , we saw a lot of tourists on bicycles . They bike around Inn lay as using bike  is less costly and more enjoyable.

I recommend Maing Thouk as a good place to visit as you can observe the unique agriculture and nice scenery.