Being a devoutly Buddhist city Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar, is naturally full of Buddhist Pagodas, Temples and Monasteries. You may even get a little templed out after a visit here. But if you think there are lots of them here, wait till you go down to Bagan, be prepared for lots more.
Whilst it was normal practice for the many ancient Kings of Burma to build the Pagodas, Temples and Monasteries as good deeds to Buddha they were not the only ones who did so. It was not uncommon for local wealthy people like Jade Merchants etc who fell on good times to also contribute to the landscape by putting up their own and making them freely available to be used by the general population.
This is why you will find so many of these various types of buildings spread throughout the city. It is not unusual to find several even in the same street.
You will notice after you have seen a few that they all vary in size, building materials and styles. Some are just small sandstone carved pagodas, some are massive stone temples and others like Shwenandaw Kyaung are lovingly made from teak and carved all over. Some cover the area of a small house and some are the size of a city block.
A good number of the buildings were built around or just after King Mindon made Mandalay his capital in the mid 1850’s, say 160 years ago. However, Mandalay was there a long time before it was the capital. If you go and have a look at Shwe Kyi Myin Pagoda on the Western side of the Royal Palace moat you will find that it is probably one of the least visited but oldest pagodas in Mandalay, being built over 700 years ago.
Some like Kyauktawgyi Pagoda & Pahtodawgyi Pagoda in Amarapura are dazzling in the bright daylight whilst others like Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda at the Norh East corner of the Royal Palace dazzle at night with all the coloured lights.
Even if you are only staying for a few days it would be remiss of you not to venture out and check out some of these beautiful examples of ancient Pagodas, Temples and Monasteries when you visit Mandalay, Myanmar.