Mandalay, the last royal capital of Myanmar, celebrated its 150th anniversary as a three-day festival event from May 14th to May 16th.
Mandalay is the capital city of Mandalay Division, and is the 2nd largest city in Myanmar.
Ye Lwin Oo wrote in his blog the background story of how Mandalay was founded:
Rich with cultural heritage, Mandalay, also known as Yadanabon, was historically built by King Mindon in 1857, standing as the last royal capital of Myanmar.
In 1857 Mandalay was set up in an empty area, because, according to an ancient prophecy, in that exact place a town would come into existence on occasion of the 2,400th jubilee of Buddhism.
King Mindon decided to fulfill the prophecy and during his reign in the Kingdom of Amarapura he issued a royal order on 13 January, A.D 1857 to establish a new kingdom. The Ceremony of Ascending the Throne was celebrated in July, 1858. The royal city and the kingdom were demarcated. The whole royal city was called Lay Kyun Aung Mye (”Victorious Land over the Four Islands”) and the royal palace, the Mya Nan San Kyaw (”The Royal Emerald Palace”). The kingdom was called the Kingdom of Yadanabon, along with other name Ratanapura, means “The Bejeweled Site”. Later it was called Mandalay after the Mandalay Hill, 2.5km far to the north east of the royal palace, and today the name still exists. The name “Mandalay” is a derivative of the Pali word “Mandala”, which means “a plains land”and also that of the Pali word “Mandare”, which means “an auspicious land”.
The event attracted many onlookers, photographers as well as bloggers. Nyi Min San, one photographer/blogger wrote in his blog:
The (parade) will begin from Mingalar Bridge (73rd St.) and will be walking along the 26th St., passing the pavilion built in front of MCDC (Mandalay City Development Council) City Hall, until the corner near Sedona Hotel. Then they will turn back, and walk back to the City Hall. When we reached Mingalar Bridge, there were a lot of photographers there. There must have been hundreds of them there. We joined those photographers, and we took photos and they were also taking photos. Many of them had worn white shirt & longyi, so when we looked at them from far away, everyone was white. When I touched my camera, I couldn’t stop myself (from taking photos)…..
Mg Hla, another blogger from Mandalay wrote:
…. (In the past) The 100th Anniversary Festival was held as a state-level festival, but this 150th Anniversary was only held as a division-level. I didn’t know when the ceremony will start, so I asked some journalists, and they told me that it will start at 8am. So I took half-day leave from work, and went there to take some photos. For the ceremony, real horses were used just like in the ancient times, but the elephants were kyauk-se elephants (puppet elephants with real people inside to move around). They originally planned to use real elephants, but they didn’t want the elephants to be frightened by the crowd and run away, so they only used puppet elephants.
This article was originally published on globalvoicesonline.org