Mandalay is the last monarchial capital of Myanmar. Situated on the east bank of Ayarwaddy River, the city has a population of one and a half million. Mandalay boasts many places of historic interest. The Royal palace, destroyed by Allied bombing during the World War II, was once the pride and glory of the monarchal Myanmar. It has been reconstructed and preserved as a museum.
The second most popular place of interest is U Pein bridge, a three-quarter mile long trek bride, and build about 200 years ago, spanning Taungthaman Lake. The Mahar Myat Muni Pagoda, known as Phaya Gyi by locals, in the Southwest quarter of the city, draws crowds of people- both worshippers and sightseers. The large image is cast in bronze and completely covered with 15 cm thick gold except for the head. The ornamental headwear (found only in some Buddha images) is decorated with diamonds, rubies and sapphires. The holy face-washing ceremony performed at 4:30 AM daily is distinctive to this image and attended by devotees in large numbers. It enjoys a special place of honor in the minds of Buddhists as the most scared and almighty of all Buddha images.