Mandalay Travel Guide – Atumashi Monastery

Maha Atulawaiyan Kyaungdawgyi (or) Incomparable Monastery

A few hundred meters south of Kuthodaw Pagoda is the Atumashi Monastery (Maha Atulawaiyan Kyaungdawgyi or Incomparable Monastery). Originally built by King Mindon, the founder of Mandalay, in 1857, the original monastery was burned down in the fire in 1890. This was one of King Mindon’s greatest religious projects. The temple was built at the same time as Kuthodaw Pagoda. It was built in the traditional Burmese monastic style – a masonry base on top of which is the wooden structure. However, here in this monastery, the traditional multi tiered roof structure was replaced by five levels of graduated terraces. The whole structure was a magnificent wooden structure with beautiful and detailed exterior stucco. The upper wooden structure is reached by a traditional ceremonial staircase (zaungdan).

Burmese girl in front of Atumashi Monastery
Burmese girl in front of Atumashi Monastery

Inside the monastery was a huge famous Buddha image. This image was made from old silk clothes worn by King Mindon, with a huge diamond on the forehead. Sadly, the diamond was stolen during the British occupation of 1885, and the once famous Buddha image was also destroyed in the fire of 1890. This fire also destroyed the once magnificent monastery, leaving a part of brick foundation and a few burned teak pillars. The monastery was left in ruin for a hundred years until 1996 when the whole temple was reconstructed to its original form although, this time, the structure was constructed entirely of brick and concrete instead of teak wood.

Editor’s Note: Many of the above information has been obtained from our reference book Lonely Planet Guide to Myanmar (Burma). This is a very good guide book on Myanmar, and essential book that you must bring on your trip to Myanmar. The book can be obtained from Amazon store.

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