Mahar Gandaryone Monastery Description:
The Mahar Gandaryone Monastery houses several thousand Buddhist monks in the city of Amarapura.
The monastery is housed in a colonial British structure built in 1914. Mahar Gandaryone is Myanmar’s largest monastery, and houses thousands of young monks during their spiritual training. The youngest of the neophytes are around 6-years-old, and they will reside on the premises until their religious educations are complete at the onset of early adulthood.
Each day starting around 10 a.m., hundreds of red-robed monks begin lining up to receive their main meal of the day. The young men stand quietly in two neat rows that spill from the front gates of the dining hall out of the monastery and down the shady lane in front of the building. Once inside, the young monks are given a simple meal consisting mainly of rice and a few other small side dishes that they share in relative silence in a large dining hall.
Buddhist monks in Myanmar are prohibited from earning money, and as such the monks’ meals are donated and prepared by the local population. Feeding a Buddhist monk is considered one of the greatest merit-making activities in Burmese culture, and many people wait for months to donate food, help prepare it, and then serve it to the hundreds of monks-to-be that live in Mahar Gandaryone Monastery.
Best Time to Visit Mahar Gandaryone Monastery:
The best sightseeing weather in the area falls between November and May during the dry season when the skies are clear and the weather is warm. The rainy season follows with high chances of rain in the mornings and afternoons starting in June and running through October.
How to get to Mahar Gandaryone Monastery:
The ritual meal preparation for the monks of Mahar Gandaryone Monastery is a time-honored tradition in Amarapura. Though there are many hundreds of boys and young men dinning together inside the monastery, the meal progresses in almost complete silence; the loudest sound will be the click of your camera’s shutter. We consider the daily ritual to be a must-see for guests on our Myanmar tours.
Mahar Gandaryone Monastery Highlights:
The Mahar Gandaryone Monastery is not far from U Bein Bridge in the town of Amarapura, just south of Mandalay. Guests on our luxury tours of Myanmar reach Mandalay via direct flight from the former capital of Yangon, and then are chauffeured in a private vehicle to the southern suburb of Amarapura while sightseeing in the region.
When visiting Buddhist religious sites it’s best to dress modestly in clothing that covers your shoulders, arms, and knees.