INWA (AVA), the city of
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.
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
Nanmyint Watch Tower
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
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
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.