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Entries in Mandalay (9)


Flowers at Mahamuni

Flower offerings for sale at the entrance to Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay. 



Entrance to the National Kandawgyi Botanical Garden in Pyin Oo Lwin. First established in 1915, it is said to have been modelled after the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.  I think we (NYBG) are also said to have been modelled after Kew. We certainly don't have "New York" written in flowers in front of a reflecting pool. 


Mandalay Kids

Peeking out from a little, shady niche containing "the bell" at the Kuthodaw Inscription Shrine (see Kuthodaw). [NOTE: Like the dot of thanaka on the tip of the nose].  


Buddhist Gift Shop

One of the many stalls that vendors have set up along the entrance to the Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay (see Maha Myat Muni Buddha). Nats, and Buddhas, and monks, oh my! 



The Shwe-Kyaung-pyi, or Shwenandaw, monastery is one of the most significant and beautiful of Mandalay's historic buildings. Originally part of the Royal Palace, in 1878 King Thibaw had the structured dismantled and moved outside as he feared that the spirits of his deceased father (King Mindon) were haunting it. The Royal Palace was completely destroyed by allied bombing at the end of World War II, King Thibaw's superstitions effectively saving the only representative of original 19th century Burmese teak architecture. 

Image above shows the main altar in the monastery. The wood carving is exquisite, and everything, including the massive teak pillars, is gilded with gold leaf. This is an amazing place.  


Maha Myat Muni Buddha

The Buddha statue in the Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay is of great importance to local Buddhists and a major pilgrimage site. According to legend, the statue was cast from Guatama Buddha himself during his visit to Arakan in 554 BC. After looking at the image, the Buddha was reportedly pleased and breathed on it "imbuing the image with his spiritual essence and consecrating it". The statue is apparently one of five likenesses of the Buddha made during his lifetime. [NOTE: Gold leaf is applied regulary to the statue by male devotees (women are prohibited from entering this part of the pagoda) and the whole lower part of the statue is completely bulbous and unrecognizeable]. 



The Kuthodaw Inscription Shrine in Mandalay contains 729 intricately positioned white shrines. Two are shown above. Each shrine containes a stone tablet which has been inscribed with a page from the Tripitaka. If the tablets were stacked on top of each other, it is said that they would be 20 stories high and would represent the world's largest book. Made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Amazing place.


Shwe-in-pin Monastery

Senior monks do afternoon chants in the beautiful Shwe-in-pin monastery in Mandalay. The monastery, which contains exquisite wooden carvings, is over 100 years old. [NOTE: The name "shwe-in-pin" means "golden dipterocarp tree"].


Mandalay Express (from the Archive)

After finishing the rattan survey in the Hukaung Valley (see Hukaung Valley Rattan Survey), we arrived at Myitkyina to learn that our flight to Yangon had been canceled and that no planes would be available in the near future. Our flight from Bangkok to New York was in four days. For lack of any better options, we decided to traverse the 919 miles from Myitkyina to Yangon by train.  We bought our tickets, got blessed by a Buddhist monk, and then wobbled and lurched and squirmed for almost 48 hours.

[NOTE: Music (local pop) was playing the entire trip - all night and all day.  They never turned the lights out in the cars for security reasons. The springs kept popping out of the cushion of my seat.]