Mandalay located east of the Irrawady River and north of Yangon is the second largest Myanmar city. It used be the last capital of the royal dynasty of Myanmar and therefore the city has got immense historical significance. The city is presently inhabited by a million people and has of late opened up to Chinese businessmen creating a unique blend of ethnicity exclusive to Mandalay. It is one of the fastest developing Myanmar cities and deemed to be the cultural capital of the traditional Asian country. The city is also the primary health, educational and commercial hub for Upper Myanmar.
The city draws its name from the Mandalay Hill located close by. As mentioned, from which the city’s name is taken, Mandalay Hill is referred to as the holy mountain of the land. Mandalay people experience a tropical dry and wet climate with January being the coldest month and April being the hottest month. Mandalay features 3 of the most prominent higher educational centers in Myanmar which include the University of Medicine, Mandalay University and the Mandalay Defence Services Academy. The city celebrated its centennial anniversary in 1959 with a carnival at the foothills of Mandalay.
Mandalay’s strategic position in the center of the country has enabled the entire nation to connect within and outside. The city has a well developed transport facility and its international airport is the largest in Myanmar. Apart from the rails, buses and cars the mighty Irrawady River also serves as an effective route of transport. Mandalay has several landmarks dotting the city. Foremost is the Mandalay Hill which is referred to as the holy mountain of the land. A motor road has been constructed to reach the top of the hill. The hill has an elevation of 230 meters. Once atop the hill, one can see the entire surrounding features of Mandalay.
The Maha Muni Pagoda is of immense significance for the Buddhists because it is believed that the lord embraced the pagoda 7 times to bring it into life. Erected by King Bodawpaya, this is the holiest Buddhist temple in the land. The Mandalay Palace is another imposing structure in the city. Though major part of the palace has been destroyed, one can see the Cultural Museum inside the palace.
About 600 kilometers north of Yangon is Mandalay – the historical royal capital of Myanmar and the second largest city. The city is the center of Myanmar culture and is steeped in history. The city is named after Mandalay Hill which stands quietly in the northeastern corner. It is believed that Lord Buddha had prophesied the birth of a great city in its foothills and King Mindon fulfilled his wishes.
Today, the city of Mandalay is an unusual blend of the modern and the classic. Buildings and houses bearing the imprints of modern architecture harmoniously blends with the Mandalay Hill.
Mandalay has a host of tourist attractions. Mandalay Palace is a magnificent complex which the British in the year 1885 turned into their military headquarters. During World War II the entire palace ground was bombed and nothing was left of the ancient buildings. New buildings have been constructed in its place.
As Mandalay is fast opening its doors to tourists the demand for accommodation is ever increasing. All kinds of accommodation are available in Mandalay ranging from costly to moderate ones.