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Konbaung Mandalay Palace Burma
Konbaung Mandalay Palace Burma

Konbaung Mandalay Palace Burma

Konbaung Mandalay Palace Burma is a short distance from the foot of Mandalay Hill. Mandalay was previously referred to as Yadanabon or Yadanarbon “City of the Mount of Gems“, it was the last of the royal capitals founded by King Mindon in 1857. Before this, Amarapura was the former main capital of Myanmar (Burma), 11 km south of Mandalay. Today it is part of Mandalay and is now called Taungmyo (southern City).

King Mindon unhappy with the events in Amarapura and the loss of lower Burma to the British during the Ango-Burmese wars in 1824 and 1852 gave rise to moving the capital from Amarapura to Mandalay.

A group of men selected for their auspicious day of birth determined the land chosen for the capital at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Brahmans, monks and learned men were consulted on all levels. The timber used to build the palace was found on land that was considered pure. Cemeteries and land with decaying matter or were considered foul or smelly were avoided. Each tree trunk was inspected for imperfections and was to be free of knots, cracks or blemishes and had to be perfectly straight.

Whilst all this planning for the future palace, an area was set aside on the allotted land to house King Mindon on his regular visits to inspect the progress of the Palace. Construction lasted from 1857 to 1861. Canals were built to bring water to the city and 20 parks to retain some coolness. 360 teak pillars were used to symbolize the 360 days of the lunar calendar. In 1878 King Thibaw succeeded his father King Mindon.

The original palace’s architecture was built in the traditional Burmese design, with a central palace surrounded by a fortified wall and a moat, signifying the importance of the monarchy. The number of spires above each building within the palace indicated its significance. Despite the palace’s capture and the end of the Burmese monarchy during the Third Anglo-Burmese War, the site remains a symbol of national identity and pride. Today, visitors can explore the reconstructed palace and imagine the splendour of Myanmar’s royal past.

King Thibaw (son of King Mindon), his wife Queen Suphayalat, with his immediate family and entourage were exiled to India by the British in 1885. After King Thibaw and his family were exiled Mandalay Palace was taken over by the British Army, the Lions Throne Room became the garrison church, and King Thibaw’s monastery was converted into a Protestant chapel. Monks were expelled from many of the larger monasteries and also taken over by the British military.

Little remains of the original palace today, Most of the Palace’s treasures were stolen and the building fell into disrepair. This was a shameful episode in the history of British colonialism.

Much of the palace was destroyed in World War II by the Allied forces and rebuilt in the 1990s by the Junta but it is not a replica of the original palace.

About King Thibaw

King Thibaw, born on January 1, 1859, was the last monarch of the Konbaung dynasty in Burma, now known as Myanmar. His reign, which began on October 1, 1878, was marked by internal strife and ended with the British annexation of Upper Burma in 1885. Thibaw’s rule was influenced by his powerful wife, Supayalat, and her mother, leading to a tumultuous accession to the throne after a brutal massacre orchestrated to eliminate rivals. Despite efforts to resist colonial pressures, including seeking an alliance with the French, Thibaw’s kingdom fell to the British Empire, culminating in his exile to Ratnagiri, India, where he died on December 19, 1916. His life and reign reflect the complexities of Burmese history during a period of intense imperial competition and the end of sovereign rule in Burma. Thibaw’s legacy is a poignant reminder of the country’s past glories and the impact of colonialism on its historical trajectory.

Konbaung Mandalay Palace Burma
Nan Myint Watch Tower

Nan Myint Watch Tower

Mandalay Palace

Mandalay Palace

Wooden Monastery in gardens of Mandalay Palace

Wooden Monastery in gardens of Mandalay Palace

External buildings around Mandalay Palace

External buildings around Mandalay Palace

Konbaung Mandalay Palace Burma

Konbaung Mandalay Palace Burma

Mandalay Palace
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