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Shwenandaw Kyaung: Wrapped in Gold

Shwenandaw Kyaung: Wrapped in Gold

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The history of the Golden palace Monastery or Shwenandaw Kyaung located near the Mandalay Hill in the Mandalay region of Myanmar dates back to the year 1880 when King Thibaw Min built it after dismantling his father’s apartment. Situated very close to the Atumashi Monastery, this historic Buddhist monastery (Shwenandaw Kyaung), acts as a wonderful specimen of traditional Myanmar wooden artwork.

This building formerly acted as the palace complex used primarily as an apartment by King Mindon along with his chief queen. Later, as already mentioned above, the king’s son dismantled it and built this monastery. Ruler Thibaw Min used the monastery as his meditation center and very interestingly the couch on which he rested can be seen even today. The primary reason behind dismantling the new building was that the king feared that it was haunted by his father’s spirit.

The building is filled with intricate wooden carvings. There was a time when it was totally covered with gold, but today only the interiors have retained the shimmer owing to the severity of the tropical climate here. There are several parts of the exterior carvings that have been seriously affected by the harsh weather. Figures of mythical creatures and motifs grace the building in its entirety. The Buddhist myths are carved in the walls and the roofs of the monastery that is etched in the traditional Burmese architectural style. 10 Jataka scenes from the Buddha’s life are carved in the interior. There is hardly any surviving monastery that’s so beautifully etched out from teak.

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