City of Immortality called Amarapura2019-08-31edit Htoo
There is no doubt that everyone would love to go to U Bein bridge which is the most prominent feature representing the breathtaking landscapes of Mandalay. But most of us totally forget about the city, Amayapura where U Bein bridge exists. As for myself, I have been to Mandalay several times but other than U Bein bridge, Amarapura has been an unnoticeable city for me.
Luckily, my duty at the hospital was postponed that Sunday so I made myself to have a sweet escape just for a day to Mandalay. So, I decided to travel to Inn-Wa and Amayapura which I have never been before. I started off on Saturday night from Yangon, travelled the whole Sunday and went back on the night of it so it was a pretty rush trip as I didn’t have much time. Although it was a hastily improvised trip, I had a lot of fun.
Firstly, I would like to talk about the ancient city, Amayapura. It is situated at 11 km from the south of Mandalay and also known as Taung city. ‘Amaya’ interpret the meaning of undead and the term ‘Pura’ means the city. Therefore, Amayapura literally stands for the undead city. It was shaped as a capital in honor of Boe-Taw-Pha-Yar decades ago. On the age of Ba-Gyi-Taw, Inn-Wa was established as a royal capital but Amayapura was again considered as the royal capital when Thar-Yar-Wai King was reigned. I read about all of these facts from the historical books. By the time Min-Tone-Min ruled the country, Mya-Nan-San-Kyaw palace was built and nominated Mandalay as the royal capital. At that time, Amayapura was no longer stood as the royal capital. Enough for the talking about the history. Let’s get back to the hasty trip of mine.
On the way to Amarapura
I never plan anything specifically before going on a trip. I make my decision on the very last minute so I have to book a car ticket beforehand in case the tickets might run out. This time, I booked from Star Ticket-Myanmar Bus Ticket. It provides an online based service and also has a website and a mobile application for androids. I was quite satisfied with the service they offered. You can choose variety of express cars from their service. If you have AYA bank account, you can make an account and pay from your bank account. You can just open your application, choose your favored express car, confirm and it will give you a ticket voucher right back. You have to screenshot the voucher from your phone and show it to the ticket counter. The payment will be deducted from your connected bank account. I am sure this will be a convenient use for frequent travelers.
I booked the ticket to Mandalay from that application and I chose Myat-Mandalar-Tun express. It costed 10800 kyats for the normal one.
Tourism spots in Amarapura
It was early in the morning around 6 when I got to Mandalay. I went straight to U Bein bridge to watch the sunrise. I hired a motorcycle taxi from Pyay-Gyi-Takhon car gate to the back side of U-Pain bridge. It costed me 2000 kyats. It was a freezing morning and I was shivered by the icy wind while riding on the bike to the well-known Taung-Thaman lake.
1). U Bein BridgeNo need to introduce much about U Bein bridge as it is a very famous and unmissable destination of Mandalay. It is recognized as the world’s longest and the most ancient wooden bridge and has a life span of over 160 years. It is named as U Bein bridge in honor of U Bein who was a royal author reckoned from the time Bagan King attained in the year of 1211. From what I have learnt, the length of U Bein bridge is 3,967 feet. There are two sides of U Bein bridge – the east side and the west side. The west side is usually more crowded. U Bein bridge is undoubtedly popular for the sunset from it. I frequently get to U Bein bridge when it comes to sunset. But for this time, I wanted to explore the sunrise so I went there in the morning before the sun came up. In the morning twilight, U Bein bridge was starting to be crowded with many sporty people and foreigners with their own cameras. At that time, there wasn’t much water in the lake so alluvial soil were replaced with the fields cultivated with crops. The sun rose around 6:45 from the east. The scenery of sunrise will always be a mesmerizing stamp within my heart. After that, I went to the east side of the bridge and waited for my friend as he promised me to take to the ancient pagodas from the nearby village.
2). Mahar-Thakya-Yanthi Kyauk-Taw Gyi Pagoda
Inside this pagoda, you can see antiquated paintings on the walls of stupa with a vaulted base. It was quite sad to see most of the paintings were peeling off as they are not maintained properly. Around the pagoda, there are many ancient handiworks of arch-ways and stairways but some of them were seen collapsed because of the weather conditions and lack of maintenance. You can get to this pagoda if you take a boat at U-Pain bridge and ask the boatmen to bring you to the pagoda from the east side. I had my breakfast near that pagoda and went back to Yangon-Mandalay highway road to go to Inn-Wa. I will write about Inn-Wa specially another time.
3). Taung-Mingyi Pagoda
- I had my lunch at nearby restaurants at U Bein bridge and decided to visit Taung-Mingyi pagoda from the west side of it. Around the Christian era of 1768, this pagoda was built and relied on by Amayapura Sin-Phyu-Shin-Mahar-Minhla-Kyawswar Taung King. It was first shaped under the heat of the sun so it was also named a reverential term as Nay-Puu-Khan Kotawgyi (heat bearable pagoda). In present, there are many buildings in the monastery and some of the stairways can still be seen as ancient works inside the compound.
4). Mahar-Wizayan-Thi stupa with a vaulted baseThis pagoda is commonly known as ‘Pa-Htoe-Taw-Gyi’ which was built around the era of Ba-Gyi-Taw-Phayar’s superintendence. This can be observed as a pagoda covered wholly with white lime from the southwest side of U Bein bridge. It is the only pagoda carved with alabaster to all three of terraces in Amayapura.
5). Bar-Khayar Monastery
6). Mahar-Gandar-Yone Monastery
It is described on the Lonely Planet that most of the foreigners learned about the lives of monks in this monastery. I didn’t get to see anything special as I got there around their resting time. So, make sure you get there on right time. Mahar-Gandar-Yone monastery was named in the honor of venerable Monk Zanakar-Biwantha who compiled lots of valuable ancient sacred texts preached by Buddha. It says that the monastery was built around 1918 which is just an estimated year in the book of Ko Pyin-Nyar(Amarapura) called historic places around Taung-Tha-Man lake. After the world war 2, this monastery was put under the control of venerable Monk Zanakar-Biwantha. The monastery became where Buddhist scriptures are taught to monks after years. The venerable Monk Zanakar-Biwantha was brilliant in compiling sacred texts in year based on the Buddhist era. Read scriptures compiled by the Monk and learn about Buddhism if you are interested. The venerable Monk Zanakar-Biwantha wrote biography of the monk not only for the religion and dispensation but also for the aged literature. ‘Get yourself good-natured first’ said by the venerable Monk could be one of the world’s most famous dictums. Make sure you explore the routines of Mahar-Gandar-Yone monastery which is a part of Shwe-Kyin sect.
There are two pagodas in Mandalay with the same name Sanda-Muni. The one from Amayapura is called Mahar-Sanda-Muni which is differed by Mahar in the first name from the one in Mandalay. It was quite hard to find the one in Amayapura since the locals only guided me to the one in Mandalay. Mahar-Sanda-Muni pagoda is situated on Sagaing-Mandalay road. It was the pagoda where the big thorny tree with whitish bark took place and also it was on the popular drama series in Myanmar called ‘Forever Mandalay’. Inside the compound of this pagoda, there is Kandaw-Mingala lake which was excavated by Padon-Min-Kyar aka Boe-Taw-Oo-Wine. The water can be gotten throughout the whole year from this lake and it has all together 19 stairs from the outside wall to the inside wall. Lots of ancient brick walls and pagodas are also surrounded by the big thorny tree.
7). Mahar-Sanda-Muni Pagoda
These are the places in order that I went through my trip. If you are travelling alone, I urge you to go along with a friend from Mandalay just in case you might miss some places to visit. As for myself, I had a hard time finding those places I have mentioned.
(Note - I was told most of the travelers couldn’t find the way so I would like to say that it is near the Nature Light charity group on the road of Sagaing-Mandalay.)
If you are travelling with your friends in a group of at least 10 people, you can book a round day tour from Naychi and Lamin tour (09795727121) and they will take you wherever you want.
If you want to travel around Mandalay with a cycle, you can search on www.mandalaymotorbike.com.
I did spend only a day to visit Inn-Wa and Amayapura as I didn’t have much time. Before the night of going back to Yangon, I walked to the downtown for a while, had some snacks beside the moat and took some photographs of the scenic evening of Mandalay. Make sure to surf on Google Map or Map me if you are wandering solo. Thanks to these maps, I got to the places I wanted to go easily with the help of them. If it weren’t with the maps, I would totally lose my ways. I would like to apologize for not taking enough photographs for this time as I didn’t have much time.
On the way back to YangonI booked from the Star ticket – Myanmar Bus ticket for my way back too and took Mandalar-Min express on 9 pm with 11000 kyats. For the whole trip, I spent about 40000 kyats including the car tickets and food. I did spend quite a lot on food this time because Mandalay street foods and snacks are undeniable for me.
I will write about Inn-Wa in the near future. I would like to ask for amendments about Amayapura in case I mentioned something wrong. To conclude, I would like to urge everyone single one of you to take care of our nature and country as much as we can. Thank you for reading.