Inwa & Amapura

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located 26 kilometers to the south of Mandalay, Inwa, formerly named Ava, was the royal capital during the period between the 14th and 18th centuries. Then, as a result from an earthquake in 1838, the capital was moved to Amarapura.

Possessing religious buildings imitating those of Bagan, not by size and wealth, it presents the golden age of Burmese culture, before being conquered by the Shans in 1527.

 

How to get there and what to see in Inwa?

It is not easy to access Inwa because this is a preserved place. To get there, we take will take a boat; begin by crossing the famous Irrawaddy River by local ferry to discover the Burmese countryside. The visit to Inwa is done by horse-drawn carriage, which makes it a very authentic visit. Travelers will then discover the sublime Bagaya monastery, built exclusively of teak and given a patina of petroleum, famous for its wood carvings. Then to the 27-metre high "leaning tower", the Nan Myint tower, which was strongly affected by the earthquake but still kept its leaning air. Finally we head to the Maha Aung Mye Bonzan monastery, built in 1822 from brick. It is one of the few remaining buildings from Ava's time. Some buildings have been dismantled and their teak pillars used for the construction of the U Bein bridge in Amarapura.

 

From Inwa Kingdom to Amarapura Kingdom…

Amarapura is an ancient capital of Myanmar. It is located on the left bank of the Irrawaddy, 25 km from Ava and 11 km south of Mandalay. It is often called Taungmyo (Southern City) in relation to it, of which it is today almost a suburb.

Built in 1783, Amarapura was the capital of the Third Burmese Empire until 1823, then from 1841 to 1860.

King Mindon (1853-1878) decided in turn to abandon Amarapura: he built a new capital, Mandalay, from 1857. He transferred his court there in 1860. The palace buildings were dismantled and transported on site by elephant. Later, the city walls were demolished for their materials, recovered to build roads and railways. Some of the moats are still recognizable near Bagaya Kyaung.

Today the city is known for its traditional fabrics (silk and cotton) and bronze work.

 

Unmissable of Amarapura

There are two ‘must see’ places for travelers:

- The Bagaya monastery: this magnificent monastery was built 100% in teak wood during the reign of King Hsinbyushin in the 18th century on this site. The whole monastery was moved here. Indeed, the monastery was initially built in 1593 18km from Mandalay, then was burned during the great fire in 1821. This pure architectural wonder is a human genius, both for its beauty and for its structure itself.

- The U Bein Bridge: Amarapura's most famous monument. This bridge was built by Mayor U Bein with teak pillars abandoned during the transfer from the capital to Mandalay. It crosses Taungthaman Lake for 1.2 km to end near Kyautawgyi Paya, making it the longest teak bridge in the world.

 

Good to know

 

Stupas or Temple? A stupa (or pagoda) is a reliquary monument (often relics of a Buddha) to which one cannot return. A temple belongs to all religious living there (and not to one person), so it is possible to enter it. 

Click on each photo to see details of the attraction