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.
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.
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..
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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.
You can also hire a boat with cheap price. The bridge is the most beautiful at the time of monsoon.
It was the oldest and the longest (1.2km ) teak wood bridge in the world.
Thank you for reading.
Ps. Thanks to wikipedia and facebook photos