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INFORMATION SHEET No.A-0175(I) (r)
The Burmese Army has been permanently occupied the Mandalay Palace.
> INFORMATION SHEET
> No.A-0175(I) Date. 19-10-97
> MANDALAY PALACE RECONSTRUCTED
> (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.