The Shwenandaw Monastery, Shwenandaw Kyaung or Golden Palace Monastery, is one of the most beautiful wooden monasteries in the country, built in 19th century, with the traditional architectural style. Besides being completely gilded, the kyaung had its both exterior and interior decorated with intricate wood carvings.
The original Shwenandaw Monastery was located inside the former Royal Palace in Amarapura. When the old capital city was moved to Mandalay by the King Mindon Min, a new one was rebuilt in teak wood material. At first, the King Mindon Min used the development as his personal living residence. After his death, his son Prince Thibaw Min relocated the building to its current location, just a few hundred meters from palace grounds, then converted it into a monastery in 1880. As Mandalay City was suffered a bombing raid during the World War II, all the architecture were nearly destroyed except for the Shwenandaw Monastery.
The large structure of the monastery built in typical Burmese architectural style features a four tiered roof which is split into several sections, each upper section is smaller than the one below it. The roof lines are made with very amazingly sophisticated wood carvings. The roofs bargeboards have carved paintings of mythical creatures, animals, dancers and flowers. It is supported considerably by the large teak piles inside the monastery.
The monastery is surrounded by an elaborately carved teak veranda at the first level. Some of the carved wooden panels broken and weathered over times have been replaced with new ones. These panels depict scenes from the Jataka tales, which is about the previous lives of the Buddha.
Inside the main room in the center of the building seating the main Buddha image, with Nat spirits worshipping surrounding. Like Mahamuni Image pagoda, only men can go inside to worship the Buddha image.
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