Inwa, Sagang, Amarpura, Mingun: "Ancient Cities"

January 22, 2005

Back to Mandalay for two day's visit to the Ancient Cities. Day one - Inwa, Sagang, Amarpura. Day Two - Mingun.

Inwa. Nanmyin - a 27m high masonry watchtower. This one I climbed. Bagaya Kyaung - the entire monastery is built of teak and supported by 267 teak posts, the largest measures 18m in height and 2.7m in circumference.

Sagang. Colorful temples. Colorful market.

Amarpura. U Bein's Bridge - 1.2km footbridge, for two centuries now, the longest teak span in the world.

Mingun. "If we had to choose just one of the four ancient cities around Mandalay to visit, it would be Mingun."

A pleasant boat trip up the river to see BIG Stuff!

Mingun Paya. "If King Bodawpaya had succeeded in his grandiose scheme, Mingun might now boast the world's largest zedi. Thousands of slaves and prisoners of war labored to build the massive stupa, beginning in 1790. Work halted in 1819 when Bodawpaya died, leaving a brick base that stands about a third of the intended height of the stupa."

"An earthquake split the monument in 1838 and reduced it to a pile of rubble - possible the world's largest pile of bricks. But what a pile of bricks! The base of the projected stupa, badly cracked by the earthquake of 1838, stands 50m high, overlooking the river. Each side of the enormous base measures 72m, and the lowest terrace measures 140m."

"Despite its dilapidated state, you must still go barefoot if you intend to climb the base. You can climb he zedi on the crumbled corner, and from the top you have a fine view of the Hsinbyume Paya, Mingun village and the river. The view of the delta region alone makes this trip worth it."

Need you ask? Of course I made the barefoot climb. The view was excellent.

In Mingun, the emphasis in on Huge. I posed with the huge stone elephants along the shore, and with the huge Mingun Bell.

"In 1808 Bodawpaya had a gigantic bell cast to go with his gigantic zedi. Weighing 90 tonnes, it is claimed to be the largest hung, uncracked bell in the world. There is said to be a larger bell in Moscow, but it is cracked."

Hsinbyume Paya. "Built by King Bagyidaw in 1816, this stupa was constructed in memory of his senior wife, the Hsinbyume princess. It is built as a representation of the Sulamani Paya, which according to the Buddhist plan of the cosmos, stands atop Mt Meru (the mountain that stands at the center of the universe). The seven wavy terraces around the stupa represent the seven mountain ranges around Mt Meru, while the five kinds of mythical monsters can be found in the niches on each terrace level."

I did get to each terrace level and some great views of the river. But, where is my Hsinbyme princess?

I was sorry to leave Mandalay. There are many more sights to see and friends to visit. I expect to return and to travel further north for more adventure.

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