Our journey on the legendary Ayeyarwady River travels from Mandalay to Bagan. In the heart of Myanmar is the city of Mandalay that has a population of around a million and is the centre of Burmese artistry.
The teaching of Buddhism was given the utmost priority thus Mandalay was designed according to Buddhist tradition and the Mahamuni Pagoda is now one of Myanmar’s main pilgrimage destinations.
Mingun’s Hsinbyume Pagoda became the architectural model for a number of further pagodas that were built at the beginning of the nineteenth century at the time of King Bagyidaw. The legendary Mingun bell that weighs around a hundred tons and is the heaviest bell in the world, dates back to his predecessor, King Bodwapaya.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the River Ayeyarwady boasted the largest fleet of steam boats in the world and even today a good number of them still remain. The importance of this river is highlighted by the many small temple buildings and sanctuaries that are situated along its river bank.
Bagan has become well known for its overwhelming number of magnificent temple buildings that reflect the importance of the former kingdom. The most comfortable way to experience the wide spread sanctuaries of this first major Burmese city is to travel by ox carriage. Close to Nyaung U, the largest town on the Bagan Plains, the Shwezigon Pagoda once served as the inspiration of Burmese pagoda architecture.
Temples, monasteries and a wonderful river, the journey from Mandalay to Bagan is a truly captivating and memorable experience.