A full day sightseeing in Mandalay with exciting sites including Mahamuni temple, Mingun 'unfinished pagoda' and Mingun bell (the second largest ringing bell in the world). The day will draw to an end with a horse-cart ride to the village of Inwa. Evening free.
Overnight in Ayarwaddy River View Hotel, Mandalay
Meal plan: Breakfast
The Mahamuni temple is an important site of pilgrimage and the shrine to the Mahamuni Buddha. According to traditional belief there are five images of the Buddha, of which the Mahamuni Buddha is the fifth. The Mahamuni Buddha image was created in 554 BC when the Buddha journeyed to the city of Arakan, and his teachings inspired King Sanda Thuriya and his wife to solicit an image of him. Legend has it that when the Buddha breathed upon the finished image it became the resemblance of the Mahamuni. This image is hugely respected in Myanmar and is considered a representation of the Buddha's life.
Mandalay Palace was the last royal palace of the last Burmese monarchy, built between 1857 and 1859 to represent the establishment of the new royal capital city of Mandalay by King Mindon. Although the sovereignty didn’t last long, ending in 1885 during the Third Anglo-Burmese War, the palace stands as a representation of identity and sovereignty in the eyes of Burmese tradition. Unfortunately, much of the palace was destroyed during the Second World War, leaving only the royal mint and the watch tower standing. In the 1990s the palace was rebuilt using modern materials.
During the Second Myanmar Empire the Village of Inwa was known as the Kingdom of Inwa. Now it is a small town located south of Amarapura, but still holds many attractions. There is the lacquerware factory, Nanmyint Watch Tower, the Inwa Bridge which spans the Ayeyarwady River, Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery and Bagaya Monastery.
Amarapura literally translates to ‘City of Immortality’ and is located on the left bank of the Irrawaddy River. It was claimed as the capital of Myanmar by King Bodawpaya in 1783 – intended to represent a fresh start for the people upon his accession to the throne. There are many workshops which make Longyis (traditional waist garments) using the loom.
The Mingun Unfinished Pagoda was a huge project started by King Bodawpaya in 1790, of which he intended it to be the largest pagoda in the country. The pagoda was left at a third of the intended height when the king died in 1819, thus earning the title of Mingun Unfinished Pagoda.
In 1810 the enormous Mingun Bell, that King Bodawpaya had requested to go with his gigantic soon to be finished pagoda, was built. Weighing 90 tons it is the second heaviest hung, uncracked, functioning bell in the world behind the Chinese bell of good luck which was recently cast in 2000. The bell is about four metres high and over five metres in diameter at the bottom. It can fit people standing inside and, if you desire, you can get someone to ring it so that you can hear it ring from the inside.