Golden Palace Monastery or Shwenandaw Kyaung is situated at the base of Mandalay hill not far from Kuthodaw pagoda. Originally, Shwenandaw Kyaung was and apartment of Mandalay Royal Palace. Mandalay Royal Palace was founded by King Mindon in 1857 when he moved his capital from Amarapura to Mandalay. There were 114 teak wood buildings in the Royal Palace.
All wooden buildings are in Myanmar typical architecture and well decorated with intricate wood curving and gilded. King Mindon passed away in 1880, his son King Thibaw decided to move King Mindon’s sleeping chamber to present site and donated to venerable monk to use as a meditation center. And named Shwenandaw Kyaung : Shwe means gold, nandaw means royal palace, kyaung means monastery. Shwenandaw kyaung means Golden Palace Monastery.
It is said that Thibaw used to come here for meditation. Originally the whole building was gilded in real gold leaves, now under the celling outside and the whole inner body can see original it.
19th century wooden building used very few nails. The wooden bungalow has 5 stairs, stairs are made of concrete. The main building is divided into two parts, meeting room to accept visitors and living room.
At the base, the exterior line of wooden pillars are supported by elegance dragons. Beautiful teak pillars inside the building with original gold paint support the whole bungalow from the base to the top. At the center of the building there is Buddha statue on the alter, in which it was the place of Lion throne of King Mindon.
Some of the interior pillars with beautiful intricate wood curving narrate about Jataka. Interior part near Buddha statue, the shrine was well decorated with green glass panels which are valuable presents of Italy. There is a collection of some 19th century wooden furniture in the second hall. Some interior pillars are well decorated bass relief of Myanmar traditional lacquare some in the second hall see beautiful classical columns.
Several mythical creatures, spirit, dancers and flowers are intricate wood curving of spired roof of Golden Palace Monastery. Golden Palace Monastery is indeed a veritable museum of 19th century Myanmar wood curving. The combination of eastern and western culture can be see some pieces of wood curving that decorated on the building. Thousands of spirit figures can be find as well as many angels.
It is quite clear that wood curving mainly decorated on the panel of the main doors are not oriental Myanmar traditional design, highly influenced by western floral design. Many statues on the inner and outer walls of the building are very special as those are not single figures. One statue is step on the hand of another statue point out the union of living being.
Next to the main wooding building there are 2 brick building as the place had been used as monastery until 1996.