Atumashi (Incomparable) Monastery in Mandalay Burma

The decorated entrance of the Atumashi Monastery

The decorated entrance of the Atumashi Monastery

King Mindon entrusted the Atumashi monastery and the monastic establishment to Pakhan Saydaw U Nandasarasirisadhammadhaja  Mahadammarajaguru as abbot.

The king visited to monastery in state and dedicated it by making a libation to the main Buddha image on 30 May 1877.

The monastery was adorned with carved figurines and floral designs, and the building was finally completed in 1878.

After the British took Mandalay it was used as a garrison church and then as a barracks.

It then suffered an even more dreadful fate.

Erected by the pious Mindon Min

The decorated entrance of the Atumashi Monastery

The decorated entrance of the Atumashi Monastery

Formally known as the Maha-Atula-Waiyan, it as one of seven religious buildings laid down at the same time (22nd May 1859) on the orders of King Mindon.

It was the largest single religious building built by King Mindon in Mandalay, save for the Pagodas on Mandalay Hill, which are actually a collection of structures. Although it’s form was a rectangle  as usual  it was exceptional in have a five, not seven tiered roof. The reason for this is not known, although the status of the royal occupant or donor  is determined by the number of tiers of the roof, and it has be surmised that Mindon dedicated this to one of his queens or a favoured monk.

 

 

The main hall of the Atumashi Monatery

The main hall of the Atumashi Monatery

The building was supported by 246 teak pillars.

The reproduction pillars  - now painted steel by originally gold covered teak.

The reproduction pillars – now painted steel by originally gold covered teak.

The monastery housed a Buddha image made out of the ashes of silk clothes worn by Mindon Min, formed into shape and then lacquered.

The reproduction Buddha image Atumashi Monastery

The reproduction Buddha image Atumashi Monastery

It had between it’s eyebrows a  28.8 carat diamond which had been presented to King  Bodawphaya (1782-1819) as a trophy by the governor  of the Rakhine State  in 1784. After the fall of Mandalay in 1885 the diamond disappeared

In 1890 the monastery mysteriously burned down when it was being used by British troop as a barracks.

The Atumashi destroyed by fire

The Atumashi destroyed by fire

The cause was unknown, it could have been arsonist resistance to the British occupation of Burma  (there were many uprisings after the fall of the King Thibaw) or merely an un-extinguished cigarette.

Atumashi - the charred remains

It was ordered rebuilt by the State Order and Peace Council in 1990. The stone and brick base is the original and of all the recent reproductions in Mandalay this is by far the best.

Atumashi - the original building

Atumashi – the original building

At least the walls, the entrance and the concrete plinths as original, but it is a “must do” place to visit in Mandalay

Entrance to the Atumashi Monastery, Mandalay

Entrance to the Atumashi Monastery, Mandalay

For more information of this and other sites in Mandalay and elsewhere in S.E. Asia, please contact www.dtctravel.com

 

Posted on by TOBY in Burma, Inspirational, Myanmar, Tours, Walking tours 3 Comments

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