After Yangon, Mandalay is Myanmar’s secondlargest city. Located on the east bank of
the Irrawaddy River, 716 km north of Yangon, the town has a population of 1,225,553 (census for 2014). Mandalay was founded in 1857 by King Mindon, replacing Amarapura as the new royal capital of the Konbaung dynasty. It was Burma’s final royal capital before the kingdom’s annexation by the British Empire in 1885. Under British rule, Mandalay remained commercially and culturally important despite the rise of Yangon, the new capital of British Burma. The city suffered extensive destruction during the Japanese conquest of Burma in the Second World War. In 1948, Mandalay became part of the newly independent Union of Burma.
Today, Mandalay is Upper Myanmar’s economic center and has been seen as the center of Burmese culture. Over the past 20 years, a steady influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan, has reshaped the ethnic makeup of the city and increased trade with China. Despite the recent rise of Naypyidaw, Mandalay remains the main commercial, educational and health center in Upper Burma. From nearby Mandalay Hill, the city gets its name. Although the exact word of origin remains unclear, the name is probably a derivative of a Pali word. The root word, referring to circular plains[6 ] or Mandara, a mountain of Hindu mythology, was speculated to be mandala[7 ]. The royal city was officially named Yadanabon) (when it was founded in 1857, a loan by the name of the Pali Ratanapūra (“City of Gems”[9 ]) was also called Lay Kyun Aung Myei” (Victorious Land over the Four Islands) “and Mandalay Palace” (Famed Royal Emerald Palace).
Although during the British colonial rule Mandalay would continue to be Upper Burma’s chief city, the commercial and political significance had irreversibly shifted to Yangon. The British view of Mandalay’s (and Burma’s) growth was primarily for commercial purposes. While rail transport reached Mandalay in 1889, less than four years after the annexation, the first college in Mandalay, Mandalay College, was not established until 40 years later, in 1925. The British looted the palace, with some of the treasures still on display in the Victoria and Albert Museum, also renaming the palace compound Fort Dufferin and used it to billet troops.
Myowun (Mayor) of Mandalay, c. 1900.
Old street scene in Mandalay’s Chinatown during the British colonial period Throughout the colonial years, Mandalay was the center of Burmese culture and Buddhist learning and was considered by the Burmese as the last royal capital as a primary symbol of sovereignty and identity. The town was the focal point of Upper Burma in a series of nationwide protests against the British rule between the two World Wars. Many immigrants from India were brought to the city by the British rule. A plague forced the city to evacuate about one-third of the population in 1904–05.
Mandalay endured the war’s most destructive air raids during World War II. On April 3, 1942, during the Japanese conquest of Burma, a major assault was carried out by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service. The city was in effect defenseless as its firefighting resources were weak, having been lost in earlier bombing, it had no anti-aircraft capacity, and the British RAF had by now withdrawn all its aircraft to India. Three-fifths of Mandalay’s houses were destroyed and 2,000 civilians were killed. Many residents also fled when the city was under Japanese occupation from May 1942 to March 1945. Reviews…..
Things To Do In Mandalay…
Reference From wikipedia and google….