Mandalay Palace Description:
Mandalay Palace housed the last kings of Myanmar (Burma) from its construction in 1859 until the British took total control of the country in 1885.
Reeling from his defeat at the hands of British colonial forces after the First and Second Anglo-Burmese Wars, King Mindon Min decided to found the city of Mandalay as a new capital near the city of Amarapura in 1857. The treaty signed after the Second Anglo-Burmese war required Myanmar to pay a massive indemnity that left the royal coffers bankrupt. Facing a dearth of funds, King Mindon had the Royal Palace in Amarapura dismantled and moved several miles north as raw material for the construction of the Mandalay Palace.
The palace was constructed in the traditional Burmese design of a walled citadel compound surrounding the central palace built on a grid pattern. The compound housed numerous structures devoted to the governing of the country including the Royal Mint, Hluttaw (Supreme Court), and the Royal Mausoleums. Buildings were ranked in importance by the number of tiered roofs that caped the single-story structures. The most important buildings, like the Glass Palace where King Mindon slept, had five tiers, and the number of tiers lowered in line with the importance of the structures.
The Mandalay Palace housed King Mindon and his successor King Thibaw, the last two Kings of Burma. British colonial forces breached the citadel’s walls in 1885 and captured the royal family in the palace, which drew the Third Anglo-Burmese war to a close with the entire country now under British rule.
The colonials renamed the citadel to Fort Dufferin, after the Viceroy of India, and used the compound to billet soldiers and store weapons. After the outbreak of World War II, the British were forced out of Burma by an invading Japanese army, which occupied the palace compound as base of operations for their campaigns in Southeast Asia. An Allied bombing incinerated the teakwood structures during the Battle of Mandalay in 1945 leaving only the Royal Mint and the Watch Tower intact inside the walls.
In 1989, the government of Myanmar started reconstruction efforts to restore the palace’s former glory. While the engineers followed the original plans closely, modern materials like concrete were used in the restoration to alleviate the high costs of recreating the original structure that was built entirely of teakwood.
Best Time to Visit Mandalay Palace:
The best weather to visit the Mandalay Palace falls between November and May during Myanmar’s warm dry season. From June to October showers in the morning and early afternoon are common, and the extra rainfall revitalizes the country’s verdant plant life.
How to get to Mandalay Palace:
No visit to Mandalay would be complete without visiting the former capital’s founding structure.
Mandalay Palace Highlights:
The Mandalay Palace is the center point of the city of Mandalay. The city of Mandalay is reached by direct flight from Yangon. Once arriving in the city, guests on our luxury tours of Myanmar reach the Mandalay Palace using our luxury vehicle service.
While the Mandalay Palace has no formal dress code, Buddhist temples and shrines require shoulders, arms, and knees to be covered upon entry. If you’re planning to visit any sacred sites before or after the palace, dress accordingly.