Shwenandaw Kyaung, otherwise known as the the Golden Palace Monastery, in Mandalay, was moved to its present site by the last King of Burma.
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.
I got goosebumps as I attempted the perfect door photograph, perhaps King Mindon does linger here, afterall, I thought.
This is a temple with a multitude of doors and portals, welcoming the curious, the wanderer, the tourist, and the devout.
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.
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.