Preservation efforts secure centuries-old religious buildings in Makkara

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The Department of Archaeology and National Museum preserves over 120 ancient religious buildings from the Bagan Age to the Konbaung era in the ancient city of Makkara in Singaing Township, Mandalay Region.
An official at the department said, “We discovered evidence of human habitation around Makkara since the Stone Age. It was probably a thriving city of many ancient civilizations, including Pyu, Bagan, Pinya, Inwa, and Konbaung.”
The city accommodates 126 pagodas and temples, varying in conditions — some in ruins, others intact and well-preserved — all embellished with distinctive Myanmar architectural features.
“Among them, the Shweyaungtaw Pagoda is the most prominent. The lion statues at the beginning of its stairways are considered the second largest after those at the Mingun Pahtodawgyi.”
The pagoda is believed to be built during the reign of King Bodawpaya of the Konbaung Dynasty. The murals inside the edifice are mostly intact, and the monastery near the pagoda also houses some murals. Ancient Pagoda No 31 features walls embedded with Buddha images and a distinctive composition, setting it apart from many other structures.
To reach Makkara, take the Kyaukse-Mandalay Road and look for the directional signboard to Makkara near the ‘Welcome to Singaing’ sign. Follow this direction along the Thabyeyoe Canal road.
Additionally, use the route through Meethwebote village and the Shwesaryan Bridge, accessible from Shwesaryan Road in Ohnchaw village, 14 miles from Mandalay along the Mandalay-PyinOoLwin Road.
Travellers may find the many directional signs inside the ancient city helpful.
The city was established in 666 AD according to the saying ‘Thaw Thaw Thar Makkara’ and served as a scout town. The three Shan brothers Raza Thingyan, Athinkara, and Thihathu detained King Kyawswar of Bagan in 1298 and ruled Myinzaing, Makkara, and Pinle regions. — ASH/NT

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