Thursday, April 2, 2015

Road to Mandalay

First of all, let’s have a taste the piece of poem of Road to Mandalay composed by Rudyard Kipling. In his poem, Mandalay, he expressed his feeling to Mandalay. He wrote…

For the wind is in the palm-tree, and the temple-bells they say:
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!”
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their Paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Madalay?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!

Mandalay the most important city in Myanmar is full of cultural heritage and core of Burmese traditional workplace. Everywhere the sound of pagoda bells is shedding the sweet whispering and informing you of the peace of mind. Pagodas are shedding their shades for the people who walk in the sunshine. The color of yellow covers the city with deepest tranquility. Mandalay is the heart of Myanmar and the centre for Buddhist Education. Golden Pagodas and Buddhist images persuade you of finding the life’s essence. It is Mandalay that remains still Myanmar spirit and soul.

I have lived in Mandalay for some years and spent most of my time in this city for my education. It’s not my hometown but in my bones, exists deepest. I found my life-long friends and my happy days there. Mandalay gave me exciting times and embraced me with her warm arms. The historical building and atmosphere hug me and tell me what happen in the previous time. Some characters float into my mind and perform their drama play. 
The prince, Ka Naung going to factories checked the products.
King Mingdon contemplated in his royal palace and managed to make the world largest book with stones. People walked to and fro and wore colorful dresses. Monks were going for alms food and peoples were also giving away food to them. In the Irrawaddy River, Burmese huge boats and steamships anchored. From Yunnan, Chinese merchants came down with donkey loading with silk and porcelains. From west, some merchants came to Mandalay and traded. In the reign of king Mingdon, Mandalay was somewhat prosperous and peaceful like a candle which was going to cease soon.

Under the blue sky, on the east bank of Irrawaddy, at the foot of Shan plateau, there locates the last capital city of Burmese kingdom. Mandalay the second largest and the former capital of Burma was established by King Mingdon in 1857. But in 1885, Mandalay was conquered by Britain during the reign of his son, King Thibaw. In 1853, King Mingdon came to the throne against his brother called King Bagan who could not cope with the country. And he moved to Mandalay from Amarapura, the capital of his Brother. On February 13, 1857 the first foundation was laid down and Royal Palace was built in 1861. King Mingdon founded 54 quarters for his subject peoples. Then it became a capital city of Burma. But during the Second World War, Mandalay came to ash bombing by both sides, Japanese and allies. Royal Palace, monasteries and famous buildings were also destroyed. But now these have been rebuilt and we can see them.
Around Mandalay, there are many interesting places connected with historical events. South part of Mandalay, there is a famous Buddha image called Maha Muni in Myanmar.

This Buddha statue is covered with gold and full of worshipers. It was taken from Arkan or Rakhine State during the reign of King Badon. From this site continuing to south again, there is also famous teak bridge called U Pain across the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura. Sitting on the bridge, local peoples and some tourists enjoy the fresh air and the amazing sunset. When I was in Mandalay, I used to go there to practice English with foreigners. Closed to this bridge, there is a famous Buddhist education centre, Maha Gandharama monastery in which about one thousand monks and novices study. And on the east bank of Taungthaman, Kyaukdawgyi or Great marble Statue and Yadanapon University are lying. North of Royal Palace, Mandalay Hill situates alone and as if it would look at the city. From the top of Mandalay hill we can enjoy the awesome sunset dropped down behind the Sagain hill.

On the west bank of Irrawaddy, Sagain hill stands with many pagodas and monasteries. It is also a famous to visit and we can see the beauty of the rivers and Ava Bridge. Walking through the monasteries, the reciting and chanting by novices and nuns are filling the atmosphere with some beauty and visitor can get extraordinary feeling.  At the end of the Sagain Hill, the third largest bronze bell and the Great Temple, Pathotawgyi can be seen at the foot of Mingun Hill. Many historical buildings and famous Buddhist center are hugged by Mingun Hill and Irrawaddy River tightly and closely there.
Another place that has many attractive scenes of paradise is Ava, ancient capital city of Myanmar. Thepyaytan and Sinkyone forts still remain on the bank of Irrawaddy. It was built by the help of Italian militia engineer to withstand invasion of Britain. Near these forts, Nanmadaw Me Nu’s monastery is also laying. Barkara, the huge wooden monastery charms the visitors’ eye to come. The grave of Judson who came to Burma for missionary can be observed in Ava.
There are many attractive places around Mandalay but I can’t compose their colorful beauties. The scenery of Mandalay cannot be drawn with one stroke.
Mandalay is not my birth place but I grew and studied there. It is like my step mother who looks after me well. On the wall of my heart, Mandalay nights are painted with some memory. Enjoying the cool fresh air and having tea with friends always make me feel sad. Being nostalgia, sometimes I drive myself back to past. Royal Palace and moat come into my dream. The largest book of Tri Basket of Dharma warns me to learn well. Maha Muni Image gets me notice the impermanence of life.

Mandalay hill inspires me to be strong when encountering the vicissitude of life. How can forget My Mandalay…

Like a British soldier…I hear the calling….
Come you back to Mandalay…

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