About 40km away from the heart of Mandalay, the teak wood Monastery of Shwenandaw is a popular destination of Myanmar thanks to its ancient architecture, exquisite carvings, and tranquil beauty.
The History of Shwenandaw
The historic monastery locates in the territory of Maha Aung Mye, Dawna of the former Mandalay Capital. It lies at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Built in the 19th century under the reign of King Mindon, considered a royal monastery, Shwenandaw is well known both internally and externally as a representative of traditional architecture and unique carving art on teak wood of the country of the temples.
The monastery is regarded as a glorious trace of the past. Formerly part of the Amarapura Palace, it was later moved to Mandalay and became the northern part of the Glass Palace, with the name Mya Nan San Kyaw, which was a part of the palace of King Mindon and his Queen.
After the death of King Mindon, the monastery - or old palace was assigned to King Thibaw and became the mediating place of this king. However, King Thibaw soon moved the monastery away from the Mandalay palace to the present site, close to Atumashi Monastery because of the image of King Mindon always haunted the teak house.
Later, the teak house was rebuilt into a monastery, also the memorial of King Mindon. And so far, Shwenandaw has been the only remaining monolithic wooden work of the Royal palace of Mandalay.
The distinctive architecture of Shwenandaw
The palace is a masterpiece of Burmese wood sculpture. It includes a wooden house with 4 separate roofs that are both majestic and magnificent. Sophisticated images of Buddhist myths and elaborate patterns are carved all over the monastery from the roof, balustrade to the walls.
With its extremely unique structure, the floor of the monastery rests on a teak pillar system, 54 mythical Nayar models adorn the exterior columns of the building, displaying majesty and are also mascots defending the monastery from the attack of the evil forces.
|Mythical Nayar Model|
All the details, carvings, and patterns of Shwenandaw are highly appreciated in terms of art and craftsmanship, all evoking a glorious golden age of Myanmar teak architecture.
Inside the monastery, there are many items gilded or encrusted with crystals, the mural, interior in the main are decorated carefully and detailedly. The main corridor of the main palace with its marble panels, marble sculptures, gives the viewer an extremely convincing view of sophistication and meticulosity in each line.