Shwenandaw Kyaung, or the Golden Palace Monastery, is a temple constructed largely of teak which is located near the Royal Palace in Mandalay. To enter to Shwenandaw Monastery you need to buy a ticket for the Mandalay Archaeological Zone which costs $10 and lasts for week, allowing visitors ample time to visit other attractions in the archaeological zone such as Mandalay Palace and Kuthodaw Paya.
About Shwenandaw Monastery
The main building at Shwenandaw Monastery was originally located in the Royal City of Amarapura, which is slightly over 17 km by road to the south of the current location of Shwenandaw Monastery. The building was first constructed in King Bodawpaya in 1783 as part of the complex of royal buildings in Amarapura. King Mindon dismantled the building in 1859 and moved it to the newly constructed Royal Palace in Mandalay (the new capital) in 1859 for use as his private living quarters. The building was then moved again in 1878 to the grounds of another monastery a few hundred metres away from the Royal Palace after the death of King Mindon. His son, who became King Thibaw, reputedly believed that the building was haunted by the ghost of his father and the superstitious King Thibaw decided that he did want the building, and therefore the ghost, located within the palace grounds. This move turned out to be a fortunate one, as most of the buildings in Mandalay’s Royal Palace were destroyed by bombing during World War II, and the Shwenandaw Monastery survived because it was located somewhere else. This is one of the things which makes Shwenandaw Monastery so special: it’s the only substantial building from the original Royal Palace in Mandalay which remains intact.
Shwenandaw Monastery is a large structure made almost entirely of tropical hardwood. The design of the monastery is in a classic Burmese style, featuring a roof with four tiers. The roof panels and the walls of the building feature intricate wooden carving depicting Buddhist religious scenes, mythical creatures, animals, flowers and representations of Burmese life and culture. The carved panels on the exterior of the building have suffered because of the weather and the fact that the whole building got moved twice. The wooden panels inside the building are better preserved and have wonderful carving depicting the story of the life of the Lord Buddha. The main Buddha image is in the central part of the monastery. As with a number of other religious sites in Myanmar, only men are allowed into this central area. The Buddhist clergy in Myanmar has chosen to hold onto some archaic religious beliefs relating to women being unclean because of menstruation and this ancient belief is still a guiding principle in determining who can and cannot enter certain parts of religious sites in Myanmar.
Location of Shwenandaw Monastery
- Shwenandaw Monastery is 5.5 km from Mandalay Railway Station.
Travel to Shwenandaw Monastery
Shwenandaw Monastery is located near Mandalay City Centre. Follow the links below for information about travel to Mandalay: