Shwenandaw Kyaung Monastery was constructed during the completion of the Mandalay Palace between 1859 and 1860. It is the only surviving wooden building from the original palace at Mandalay, most of which were destroyed during the Japanese bombing of 1942.
As was traditional, when the capital was moved to Mandalay on the orders of King Mindon, most of the existing palaces in the former capital were dismantled and re-built, and this was the case here. It taken from Amarapura Palace and re-erected as the northern section of the King’s private apartments – the Glass Palace.
King Mindon’s favourite
For King Mindon this became a favourite place of retreat and meditation, and it was here that he died in 1878.
The monarch becomes ill
The King had caught dysentry with periods of mental incapacity which even his German physician could not moderate ,and during which Mindon’s First Queen schemed to put one of the minor son’s of the King, the weak willed Thibaw, on the throne, as the First Queen was determined her daughter would marry him and thus the First Queen’s, and those of her court allies such as the Kinwun would maintain their influence and dominance in court.
Mindon learns his family is arrested
It was in this palace than Mindon recovered enough to learn that most of his family had been arrested – he realised that there was a threat that they would be executed to remove rivalries to Thibaw – who he never proclaimed as successor, and he had them released, just before he collapsed again and died. All who could be found were rearrested and 80-100 massacred.
Sad end to a great King
This the final days of the King were filled with sorry and terror here. King Thibaw tried to use the rooms, but found a cold atmosphere, apparitions and noises, and he became convinced that the place was haunted. He therefore had the structure moved outside the palace near to the Atumashi Monastery, and donated it the the Buddhist clergy to become a monastery.