Amarapura is a small town lies 11km south of Mandalay. One of the ancient capitals of Myanmar before Mandalay. In the year 1860 the capital was moved from Amarapura to Mandalay. All historical buildings of Amarapura were moved to Mandalay and used for the construction of new palace in Mandalay. Amarapura means Immortal city.
Nowadays, Amaraura is well-known place for Myanmar traditional Longyi especially for ancient Loonyarkyaw cheik pattern – wave pattern. Almost all families have looms for traditional silk weaving as home industry. Some rich families have more looms and big production of Myanmar Longyi. They still use old machine from Japan for thin cotton wear. Wooden loom for Loonyarkaw cheik silk longyi which is complicate pattern. Need to prepare over 100 small looms and weave by hand to make wave pattern. It takes about a month to complete one longyi. It is recommendable for short visit at a family to see how to make traditional wave pattern longyi. If you like cotton wear, there is possibility to find good quality cotton product in Amarapura.
Mahagandayone monastery and U Bein Bridge – The longest wooden bridge in the world are main attractions of Amarapura.
Mahagandayone monastery which is school for 1200 Buddhist monks. In the big monastery compound there are many buildings which are houses for Buddhist monks and their classrooms. It has very strong discipline all monks have to follow it. Early morning before the class starts, go out to the city for alm food. If there is donation for their lunch no need to do it. Around 10:30am they all have lunch together in the hall. After ringing the bell thousands of Buddhist monks go out from their living room and enter to dining room silently together.
Next to Mahagandayone monastery there is beautiful Taungthaman lake. During raining season, always happen water flood of the Ayeyarwaddy River. At such time, Taung Tha Man lake cuts communication with Amarapura and surrounding villages. Pedlars and hawkers have to take risk crossing the rough lake with their little boats. In the year 1849, U Pein who was a high ranking clerk, got idea to build the bridge across the lake. The construction began in 1849 and completed in 1851, it took only two years. There are 1086 wooden post and 4 wooden pavilions (rest houses for leisure) on the bridge and long 1.2km. The bridge indeed is romantic, being the longest wooden bridge in the world, loving couples make appointment on the bridge, people from near city have picnic near the bridge.
In any time of the year, U Bein Bridge attracts visitors from far and near. It is recommendable sunset sightseeing by boat in the lake.