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Home > Myanmar Highlights > Mandalay & Surroundings > Inwa


In-city highlights Amarapura Inwa Sagaing Mingun Pyin Oo Lwin

INWA (AVA), the city of gems

Lying 22km southwest of Mandalay on an artificial island, Inwa or the classical name “Ratanapura,” which literally means the city of gems, was once the longest capital of three major ethnic groups; Mon, Bamar, and Shan that was emerged right after the downfall of older 11th & 14th century Bamars’ Bagan. Inwa was founded in 1364 by King Thadominbya by integrating two other capitals, Sagaing and Pinya and lasted until 1841 when the kingdom was finally moved to Amarapura. Despite the short intervals of moving back and forth between Inwa and Amarapura, Inwa served as the seat of Myanmar some strongest dynasties for around 377-years. The visit to Inwa is somehow considered as a fun as you will be taken first on ferry boat across Myint Ngai River before the bumpy and dusty horse cart ride passing several scenic Burmese villages and farmlands growing sesames, peanuts, and different kind of beans.

Bagay Kyaung

Built in 1834, this enormous wooden monastery is supported with 267 teak posts, which the largest measures 18m in height and 2.7m in circumference. The doorways are decorated with beautiful Keinayi mythical birds and the monks here preserved a few Sarteik (huge decorative boxes to store Holy Scriptures). The monastery is still in use and there is a class room for the village children. In fact, Bagaya in Mon language means “Star Flower Monastery”.


Nanmyint Watch Tower

This is one of a few monuments that left from King Bagyidaw’s Inwa palace before it has moved to Amarapura in 1841. The watch tower has a height of 27-m and provides a picturesque view of Ayearwaddy River and historic Inwa Bridge with numerous whitewashed pagodas dotted on the Sagaing Hills. The watch tower is also known as the “Leaning Tower of Inwa” as the earthquake in 1838 caused considerable damage and leaned to one side.


Maha Aungmyay Bonzan

Also known as “Brick Monastery” or Okkyaung, this monastery was built in 1818 and finished in 1822 by the order of Meh Nu, the chief queen of King Bagyidaw for her royal abbot U Pok. The monasteries at that time were usually built by the woods but this one was used with brick-and-stucco and tried to imitate the traditional wooden style. The monastery was restored in 1873 after the 1838 earthquake that damaged the monument badly.


Other Attractions

Inwa offers several other places including Inwa Archaeological Museum, which exhibits several antique Buddha images, various utensils, and old furniture of different periods of Inwa is worth a visit. It is also possible to drop at any picturesque pagoda ruins along the circuit or visit to the village where black alms-bowl are producing for the ever increasing country’s monk population.





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