Looking at Mandalay

Rudyard Kipling wrote the famous Mandalay poem in 1890. His father was a museum curator and you may remember this from my visit to Lahore a few weeks ago. Kipling was born in Bombay in 1865 and became a journalist and writer. His most famous offering was The Jungle Book, published in 1894.

I had arrived in Mandalay at a good time and considered trying the next staged route Google maps gave me, but some of the roads are not really up to it, and I can’t guarantee getting the distance. Sunset is about six, and its not great arriving somewhere in the dark. I therefore find a nice spot off the road and decide to stop over and take a look at Mandalay for the afternoon.

Mandalay fort

Sacred hill

The city is almost exactly central in Burma, and sits to the east of the Irrawaddy river. The area is on the Sagaing Fault, which had its last major earthquake in 1956. Mandalay is central to the Buddhist religion and has over 700 pagodas. Kuthodaw Pagoda was built by King Mindon in 1857, this pagoda modeled on the Shwezigon Pagoda at Nyaung U, is surrounded by 729 upright stone slabs on which are inscribed the entire Buddhist Scriptures as edited and approved by the Fifth Buddhist Synod. It is popularly known as “the World’s Biggest Book” for its stone scriptures.

Kuthodaw pagoda

A modern Mandalay city centre

After a good walk around, I retire to the camper and have a simple meal of flatbread, rice and fruit. Tomorrow I will head further south.

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