“By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ eastward to the sea,
There’s a Burma girl a-settin’, and I know she thinks o’ me;
For the wind is in the palm-trees, and the temple-bells they say:
“Come you back, you British soldier; come you back to Mandalay!”
Come you back to Mandalay,
Where the old Flotilla lay:
Can’t you ‘ear their paddles chunkin’ from Rangoon to Mandalay?
On the road to Mandalay,
Where the flyin’-fishes play,
An’ the dawn comes up like thunder outer China ‘crost the Bay!”
On the Road to Mandalay by Rudyard Kipling
Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar, and the last royal capital of the Kingdom of Ava. It is also a major commercial center and the cultural capital of Myanmar. Situated in the middle of Myanmar (Burma), it occupies an important position since it was built. The city was built by King Mindon of Konbaung Dynasty in middle of 19th century as the new capital of Burma. Although Rangoon became the capital of Burma after the British conquest of Upper Burma in 1885, Mandalay never lost its place as the cultural and religious center of Burma. Even today, Mandalay remains the cultural and Buddhist religious capital of Myanmar.
The city got its name from the near by hill called Mandalay Hill. The official name of the city when King Mindon built it was “Yadanabon” meaning “A Heap of Jewelry”. During British colonial era, while Rangoon became the city of foreigners – British, Europeans, Armenians, Indians and Chinese, Mandalay remains the purely (almost) Burmese city. However, in recent years, Mandalay saw a mass influx of foreigners from China. Although the city is now a mixed of Burmese, Chinese and other ethnic people of Myanmar, it remains the most important cultural center in Myanmar.