Mandalay History and Info
Mandalay history is relatively recent when compared with Bagan.
Founded on a clear flat plain by King Mindon in 1857 Mandalay is the last old capital of Burma. The capital was built there after several shifts due to earthquakes and royal decrees. Fulfilling Buddha’s ancient prophesy of a town created for the future of Buddhism, it took the name from the holy Mandalay Hill near by.
Between 1782 and 1857 the future capital city had been packed up and moved 5 times, wooden buildings and all. On the last move the teak palace buildings of Inwa (Ava) were dismantled and moved by elephants to the new locality at the base of Mandalay Hill.
Only 30 years later in 1886 Mandalay was conquered by the British, with the last of the Burmese monarchy King Thibaw Min and Queen Supayalat exiled the following morning. The British sent them off down the Ayeyarwady River, banished them to Ratnagiri India, and took over their palace as the British military headquarters.
Known as Fort Dufferin, the palace was ransacked by the British with the Japanese taking over in WW 11.
Bombing destroyed the palace, the ancient buildings and the city. Today Mandalay is managing to bridge the classic past and modern images with temples and heritage sites restored, although we will agree square concrete buildings and hotels are not the same.