History and Background
Mandalay Hill, in the Burmese language “Mandalay Taung”, formally formed with a giant ogress naming Sanda Mukhi. In its legend, Gautama Buddha once visited this place and the ogress, Sanda Mukhi looked something to offer to the Buddha and didn’t find anything, she finally decides to donate her breasts. And so, for this extreme doing of merit, Buddha said Byadeikchway words (prophesying) that this Sanda Mukhi Ogress would be reborn as a King who builds a great city at the foot of this hill and would become a supporter for the Theravada Buddhism with the pointing of his right hand towards the city (future Mandalay city). Many Buddhism believes that King Mindon who founded Mandalay was an ogress Sanda Mukhi. With this belief, one statue of ogress paying obeisance to the Buddha on each of the four corners of the terrace.
Before you start to climb to the top, two giant leogryphs (lions) are standing side by side as a welcoming sign at the foot of the Mandalay Hill. There is also a free service to keep your slippers and shoes at their shoebox because it is a pilgrimage site and not allowed to bring your shoes to the top of the hill. It is worth the effort of the barefooted climb on the covered stairway on the hill’s southern slope.
There are four covered stairways (we called it “Saungtan”) getting to the top of the hill from the west, north, south, and southeast. Along all the stairways, you can take a break at the seats of masonry work. You can also drive from one-way motorbike road but then you would miss the colorful processions of prayer and the opportunity to take the views at your own space.
The climb takes about 30 minutes with 1,729 steps, usually depends upon your stepping skills.
At the top of the hill, Sutaungpyi Pagoda (wish-fulfilling Pagoda) and the most stunning, magical sunset are waiting for you all! Maybe, it’s a long way to reach the top. But, really worth it! Just overlook the whole city’s sunset view over the Ayeyarwaddy river from the large courtyard area. And you can share and engage your experiences with the local young Buddhist monks each other to practice their English skills. Get relaxed and take beautiful moments to share and show your lovely ones as one of your amazing trips to Myanmar.