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                            INFORMATION SHEET
No.A-0175(I)					          Date. 19-10-97
(by - Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt)
		When the British annexed the last Myanmar kingdom and deported the last
Myanmar royalties King Thibaw and his Chief Queen Supayalatt to India in
1885, Mandalay Palace was ransacked and occupied by the British forces. Royal
audience halls, throne rooms and Chambers were turned into garrison church,
club and military quarters and barracks. For nearly 18 years (1885-1901) the
whole Palace complex was subjected to vandalism, abuse, and neglect. For lack
of care and maintenance some buildings on the palace platform fell into
dilapidation and destruction.
		In 1901, a turning point came when Lord Curzon' the British Viceroy of
India arrived in Mandalay during his official tour. Much to his
disappointment he found Mandalay Palace in a pathetic condition. Although
Lord Curzon was an out-and-out imperialist, supporting the " forward policy"
of the British Government of India, he left oriental art and architecture
which he tried to preserved. He issued a minute dated 2 December 1901, "on
the preservation of the Palace at Mandalay". All occupants of the Palace were
ordered to move out as early as possible, and the church and the club were
given notice to quit and alloted new sites. The Public Works Department was
assigned the task of repairing, renovating and maintaining the Palace in its
original design, with a budget specially alloted. Curzon's intention was that
"its (Palace) survival and maintenance are both a compliment to the
sentiments of the Burma race, showing them that we have no desire to
obliterate the relics of their past sovereignty and a reminder that it has
passed for ever into our hands."
		So, since then Mandalay Palace had remained for 44 years (1905-1945) as a
museum piece for the British, and foreign visitors, but for the Myanmar
peoples as a reminder that Myanmar sovereignty which had passed into the
British hands was to be redeemed one day. In the final phase of the Second
World War, Myanmar again suffered heavy damage and destruction. As the Allied
forces advanced and the Japanese retreated, both parties bombed Myanmar
cities and towns indiscriminately. In 1945 the Allies shelled and burnt down
Mandalay Palace which was occupied by the Japanese soldiers.
		Till 1989, there were only a few charred brick buildings left on the palace
platform because the Palace was mainly built of teak, gilt, vermillion and
glass mosaic which were destroyed easily by the fire.
		Under the guidance of the State Law and Order Restoration Council, the
Commander of the Central Command carried out the reconstruction of Mandalay
Palace on its original model. Based on photographic records, plans and
drawings of the Palace kept at the Department of Archaeology, modern
engineers and Myanmar traditional architects combined their efforts to
reconstruct the last residence of Myanmar monarchy. Tremendous amounts of
cash flowed in from the public (especially from Mandalay Division) for the
noble task of restoring Myanmar's past glory as an inspiration for building a
new modern nation. To-day over 95 percent of the reconstruction has been
completed and the entire Palace is open to visitors.
		Officially named "Mya Nan San Kyaw" golden Palace, it was built by the
second last Myanmar sovereign King Mindon (A.D. 1853-78). King Mindon moved
his Capital from Amarapura to Mandalay which he founded in 1857. He therefore
moved the golden spired palace "Aung Nan San Thar" from Amarapura to
		The new palace town at Mandalay was named "Yatanabon". It was a square,
measuring 600 tars (2400 cubits) on each side, totalling 2400 tars (9600
cubits) for four sides. It had 12 gates, 3 on each side, and 48 spires on the
town walls. There were 144 square blocks of living quarters inside the palace
town. In the centre of the palace town, on the site of 16 square blocks was
the palace platform fenced by walls of massive teak trunks. The palace 
platform measures 1004 feet from East to West, and 574 feet from North to
South. On the platform stood 144 buildings mainly of teak in which the royal
families resided and ceremonies and festivals were held.
		"Myey Nan Taw" or the principal Lion Throne room and two Audience Halls,
each on either side of the Lion Throne room combined is the most important
and prominent building. It is the tallest building on the palace platform. It
is 207 feet high facing East, and topped by a gilt 7 tier spire on the roof.
The Royal stairway was a flight of steps at the extreme Eastern end of the
palace platform. There were similar steps at the extreme Western end of the
palace platform. The palace platform was divided into Eastern and Western
portions. The Eastern portion was reserved for the King and male members of
the royal family and the court; and the Western portion for the Chief Queen
and female members. Buildings in the Eastern portion belonged to the King and
male members and those in the Western portion belonged to the Chief Queen and
female members.
		Next to the Myey Nan Taw were four main halls in which vassal kings and
lords paid homage and tribute to the King, thrice a year. There was Western
Zeytawun Hall in the Western Portion which was reached by a flight of steps
on the Western end of the palace platform, with four main halls in which
their Majesties received homage and tributes from ladies and wives of
Ministers and high officials.
		 In the Eastern Zeytawun hall next to Myey nan Taw were kept for royal
worship gold images of the Buddha and statuettes of deceased forefathers of
the King and Chief Queen. There were houses for keeping the royal crowns and
regalia, the King's sleeping Chamber called Glass Palace and the sleeping
chambers of four Chief Queens. On the north of them were the Byedaik of
Meeting Room of the interior Ministers and the house for keeping royal
headgears. On the South was the Treasury where Crown jewellery and important
documents and records were kept. Two royal stairways, one on the north and
the other on the south sides of the palace platform have each a minor hall
called Myauk Samot on the North and Taung Samot on the south in which their
Majesties performed other functions. Between the Glass Palace and the Western
Zeytawun Hall were six rows of 78 houses for the lesser queens.
		In King Thibaw's time, some buildings were demolished and instead the
Palace tower, royal bath with fountains, brick meeting hall and summer house
were added. But the total number of buildings on the palace platform was 144,
the same number as in his father's time.
		The eight most important function halls are the so-called throne rooms.
There were eight different kinds of thrones in different rooms. First the
Lion Throne or Sihasana Throne is the throne in the niches of which are
stylized and gilt statuettes of lion. It is in the Myey Nan Taw. Hluttaw or
King's Privy Council also had a lion throne. The other seven are Gazasana
throne with elephant statuettes, Hamsa Sana throne with Brahmany duck
statuettes, Maruya sana throne with peacock statuettes, Miga Sana throne with
deer statuettes, Bamaya Sana throne with bee statuettes, Sankha Sana throne
with conch shell statuettes and Paduma sana throne with lotus flower
statuettes. In each throne room specific royal functions and ceremonies were
		The Reconstructed Mandalay Palace "Mya Nan San Kyaw" represents Myanmar
sovereignty and independence and awakens national pride in our Myanmar
cultural heritage.