Mandalay: Mandalay Hill, the Royal Palace
January 18, 2005
I did not take The 'Road' to Mandalay. The distances are long; the pavement uncertain; the bus and train schedules, uneven. The flights are short, on time and the service personnel. . . .
I arrived in Mandalay, set out on my stroll, and soon asked myself, "Jan, what the hell are you doing here?" Dusty, noisy, unattractive city streets. Can't find a decent restaurant. Then I remembered, "Jan, this is Asia. Patience. Patience."
I hired a taxi.
I love Mandalay.
Mandalay Hill. At the top, a huge standing Buddha looking out over the city and pointing to The Royal Palace.
The Royal Palace. The imposing palace compound has immense walls measuring 8m high and 3m thick at the base. Each of the four sides extends 2km. The surrounding moat is 7m wide and over 3m deep.
Kuthodaw Paya. "The world's largest book." 729 marble slabs on which are enscribed the entire Triptaka - Buddhist scriptures. Each slab is housed in its own individual stupa (cf. zedi). "It took an editorial committee of over 200 to produce the original slabs. It has been estimated that, reading for eight hours a day, one person would take 450 days to read the complete book."
And don't forget "The Stroll."