Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, Mandalay

Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery is an early 19th Century Buddhist religious institution located in the one time capital of Myanmar, Inwa, which is near to Mandalay city. To enter you need to pay $10 for a ticket that also allows entry to other major historical sites including Mandalay Palace.

About Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery

Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery was constructed in 1818, and extensively repaired in 1873 following a major earthquake, which caused extensive damage to the building, in 1839. The monastery was founded under the patronage of the notorious Queen Nanmadaw Me Nu, also known simply as Me Nu. Me Nu was the great grand daughter of a famous soldier and managed, after become a lady in waiting, to become the wife of the Crown Prince of the Konbaung dynasty. The Konbaung dynasty was the last royal dynasty of Myanmar notable for a series of military engagements with neighbouring Siam (Thailand) and much less successful conflicts with colonial superpowers Britain and France. On the ascendancy to the throne of the Crown Prince, Mu Ne attained a position of great importance within the administration of Myanmar, an authority which she exercised with great cruelty and a lack of common sense, resulting in several unsuccessful wars with Great Britain resulting in the eventually loss of national sovereignty and territory to the British Empire. In 1837 her brother in law successfully staged a coup d’etat and had Mu Ne executed, which a popular move amongst the local people who had suffered during the period of her de facto rule.

Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, Mandalay
Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery, Mandalay

Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery is an outstanding building, and is generally considered the most impressive intact building to have been constructed during the period of the Konbaung dynasty. The building’s longevity is due to its being constructed in brick, although similar in style to other monasteries of the period which were built in wood. Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery is a rectangular building with a large Burmese style stupa at the front. The entire structure rests upon a large stone plinth accessible by series of 7 masonry staircases. The interior of the building has two perimeter corridor which encircle two large central rooms. One of the rooms was used as a dormitory by the monks and the other contained the temple’s principal Buddha image and also served as the residence of the Abbot. The interior of the monastery is now nearly completely bare having been abandoned by the monks mostly likely shortly after the earthquake in 1839. Modern day visitors will need to use some imagination to understand what this building would have looked like during the two decade period when it was a functioning religious institution.

Location of Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery

  • Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery is 30.3 km by road from Mandalay Railway Station.

Google Map of Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery

Travel to Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery

Maha Aungmye Bonzan Monastery is located in Inwa near Mandalay. Follow the links below for information about travel to Mandalay:

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