Burma's last royal capital is only 150 years old. King Mindon founded the city between 1857 and 1861, soon after deposing his half-brother Pagan Min and taking the throne. The pious Mindon, who thought he had achieved enlightenment himself, founded the city to fulfill an ancient prophecy. According to the legend, Buddha visited Mandalay Hill with his disciple Ananda and proclaimed that 2,400 years after his passing, a metropolis of Buddhist education would be founded at the base of the hill.
At the center of his new city, Mindon put his own grand Royal Palace, hidden behind an 8 kilometer long wall and moat. At the base of the hill, he built the Kuthodaw Pagoda, which houses the first complete compilation of the Buddhist 'bible', the Tripitaka, carved onto 729 marble tablets, each housed in its own small pagoda.
The buildings of Mindon's Royal Palace were destroyed during World War II, except for the Shwe Nandaw Kyaung, which had been moved outside of the palace walls after Mindon's death, and later turned into a temple. This intricately carved gilded teak wood building will give you some idea of the grandeur of Mindon's "Golden City."
Even before the founding of Mandalay, there was already an important temple in the area. The Maha Muni Pagoda houses Mandalay's most revered Buddha image.
Archaeological Zone Entrance Fees
An entrance fee of US$10 must be paid by each person visiting Mandalay. The fee may be paid on arrival at the airport. The ticket will be checked and stamped at the Royal Palace, Kuthodaw Pagoda and Shwe Nandaw Kyaung temple.