Shwenandaw Monastery

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Shwenandaw Monastery, All teak monastery originally part of the Royal Palace

      The Shwenandaw Monastery is one of the finest examples of traditional 19th century wooden monastery building in the country.
      The monastery that is also known as he Shwenandaw Kyaung is a very finely carved teak wooden monastery building just outside the Mandalay Royal Palace, on the same grounds as the Atumashi Monastery.
      The monastery is also called the Golden Palace Monastery, because it used to be part of the Mandalay Royal Palace and was completely gilded.
      Both exterior and interior of the monastery are decorated with intricate wood carvings.

History of the Shwenandaw Monastery

      The Shwenandaw Monastery was originally part of the Royal Palace in Amarapura. When the capital city was moved to Mandalay, the building was dismantled, transported to Mandalay and rebuild there as part of the new all teak Royal Palace in 1857. King Mindon used the building as his personal living quarters. After the King died, his son relocated the building to its current location outside of the Palace grounds, where it was converted into a monastery in 1880.
      The Golden Palace Monastery is a great place to get an impression of what the Royal Palace once must have looked like. As the Palace was destroyed by fire during the second World War, the Shwenandaw Monastery is the only major original teak wooden building left of the original Mandalay Royal Palace.

Intricate wood carvings outside and inside the monastery

      The large structure built in typical Burmese architectural style has a four tiered roof that is made up of several sections, each section smaller than the one below it. The roof lines are decorated with very detailed intricate wood carvings. The roofs bargeboards contain carved depictions of mythical creatures, animals, dancers and flowers.
      An intricately carved teak verandah at the first level surrounds the monastery. Some of the carved wooden panels ravaged by time and weather have been replaced with new panels, especially on the outside.
      Large teak pillars inside the building support the roof. There is still some gold plating inside the monastery; Once the structure was completely gilded and decorated with glass mosaics.
      Some of the best preserved panels are inside the building, sheltered from weather and sunlight. Among them is a number of carved panels depicting scenes from the Jataka tales, the tales about the previous lives of the Buddha.
      Inside the main room in the center of the building is the main Buddha image, with Nat spirits worshipping it. Only men can go inside to worship the Buddha image.