Myanmar (Burma)

Golden Palace Monastery, Mandalay


Shwenandaw Kyaung, otherwise known as the the Golden Palace Monastery, in Mandalay, was moved to its present site by the last King of Burma.


Roof line of Golden Palace Monastery, Mandalay

Thibaw, as the story goes, believed his father’s ghost lingered within the teak building. The idea bothered him. This may have had something to do with a guilty conscience. Thibaw’s ascension to the throne was assisted by some very clever manoeuvring and quite a lot of blood letting. Following the death of his father, King Mindon, Thibaw’s supporters killed off many of the other contenders to the throne.

To rid himself of his father’s ghost Thibaw had the teak building moved to its current position ouside the old palace walls and made it a monastery. It turns out this was a good thing. Almost the entire Palace was destroyed during the bombing raids inflicted on Mandalay during WWII.

I was intrigued by the intricacy of the carvings—the detail is astounding.


Not a bad place to pass away, I thought, thinking of King Mindon. In his day, when it was his private rooms, the building  would have been covered in gold leaf and glass mosaics. Even without those decorations, and despite the effects of the  weather on the external carvings, it was beautiful.


Weathered carved gnat at  Shwenandaw Kyaung


Detail of a restored carving on the wall of Shwenandaw Kyaung


Detail from the roof line of Golden Palace Monastery

I got goosebumps as I attempted the perfect door photograph, perhaps King Mindon does linger here, afterall, I thought.


Through a portal and past many doors, Shwenandaw Kyaung (The Golden Palace Monastery)


Interior of The Golden Palace Monastery


Shweanadaw Kyaung, The Golden Palace Monastery, Mandalay

This is a temple with a multitude of  doors and portals, welcoming the curious, the wanderer, the tourist, and the devout.




Making merit at Shwenandaw Kyaung

Currently, the monastery is the focus of another equally concerted creative effort, as work begins on restoring the building. The  World Monuments Fund is helping with the project.

Top tips:
Remember to remove your shoes, this is a working and functioning temple.
Allow plenty of time – there’s a  lot of atmosphere to soak up here.
The combo entrance fee of 10,000K included entrance to the Royal Palace Complex and Mandalay Hill.

Where’s My Backpack: Travel Theme: Creative

28 replies »

  1. What beautiful pictures of a breath taking temple. Thanks for taking me along for the visit. I’m always so pleased to find out that such important places are being restored and preserved.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Jill I love the way time weathers and use wears down steps.
    Then someone puts a couple of Philips screw in to hold it together.
    Not too worried as they have realised clinging is no good,
    as all things are subject to change. _/\_

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jack, That screw stands out doesn’t it. Perhaps restoration techniques will get more sophisticated in time and the scews won’t be necessary. I really don’t know anything at all about how the original carvings were achieved, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were carved from one tree, rendering screws, or their equivalent, unnecessary in the original but making restoration somewhat challenging.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting, Norm. It’s great to be part of the Thursday Doors, challenge. In fact as we wandered around the temple I was took photo after photo aiming for the perfect door shot for the challenge. But what with one thing and another, it took me a while to get it in!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The teak carvings are amazing. This monastery seemed such a unique place in our travels, but with the absence of all the usual gold plating the light throughout the wooden structures was very striking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi there Lisa, It is a very beautiful place, the atmosphere is reverential without being over done. So the women, for example, go there to pray and make merit, but take time for a chat and a laugh as well. I liked that, a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

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