Atumashi Monastery

King Mindon (1852-1872) founded a new capital on 16 June 1858. In founding the new capital, he established seven monuments simultaneously. They were the following:
1. The city
2. The moat
3. Mahalokamarajain pagoda
4. The ordination hall
5. The monastery
6. Pitaka taik or Royal library
7. Sudhamma Zayat or Rest-house

On 27 April 1859 king Mindon issued and order to build seven monuments simultaneously. On 15 May 1859, the pits were dug for the seven monuments to lay foundation simultaneously. On 23 May 1859, the foundation stones were laid at the seven monuments simultaneously.

Of seven monuments, one was the Mahaatulaweyan monastery. monastery. The name of monastic establishment was Mahaatulavijiyarama Taik. The Mahaatulaweyan means the incomparable monastery like Sakra's Abode (Wejayanta). The name Mahaatulavijiyarama means an incomparable monastic establishment where gained a great victory over enemies. King Mindon entrusted the Atumashi monastery and the monastic establishment to Pakhan Sayadaw U Nandasarasirisadhammadhaja Mahadammarajaguru to keep monastery under his custody on 26 April 1877. The king visited to monastery in state and dedicated it as Sanghika kyon: by making a libation on 30 May 1877. After the monastery had been adorned with carved figurines and floral designs, king Mindon visited to the monastery by waterway in state on 29 November 1877.

The king had left to the temporary abode at the top of the moat and had looked at the occasion before Pitaka texts were carried from Mahavisutarama to Atumashi monastery on 10 May 1878. The Pitaka texts were carried from Mahavisutarama Taik to Atumashi in May 1878. The Atumashi monastery was completed in 1878. It was found in a record that a Buddhist Synod was convened from 19 May 1878 to 6 June 1878 and from 7 June 1878 to 6 August 1878. A big diamond on the forehead of the Buddha Image was stolen on 29 November 1885. Atumashi monastery was burnt down in 1892. Atumashi monastery was used as a Christian Church in the early Colonial period.

The notification for preservation of the fourteen buildings was issued by the English Government according to the 904 Act No. 7, Article 3(1) on 12 December and ratified. The Atumashi monastery was included in them. The English Government preserved Atumashi on 10 August 1908.

In 1995, Atumashi monastery was reconstructed when it had burnt down after 103 years. Atumashi monastery was reconstructed at a cost of 1467.88 kyats lakhs. The ceremony for opening the Atumashi monastery was celebrated on 18 September 1996. The reconstruction of Atumashi monastery was conpleted on 30 November 1996. Atumashi monastery was transfferred to Archaeology Department on 9 January 1997.

The Atumashi Kyaung, or Incomparable Monastery (Maha Atulawaiyan Kyaungdawgyi) , was originally built in 1857 by King Mindon (1853-1879), who had founded his new capital of Upper Burma at Mandalay just a few years earlier in 1855. It was one of the King’s last great religious construction project. The original Atumashi was a magnificent wooden structure with considerable exterior stucco and set on a high platform reached by a formal ceremonial staircase. Instead of the traditional “pyatthat” (graduated wooden spires of decreasing size) and multi-roof design of traditional monastic buildings, the Atumashi was a huge grandiose structure surrounded by five graduated rectangular terraces. It was considered one of Southeast Asia’s most magnificent buildings.

It originally contained a very large, almost 30 ft (9 m), image of the Buddha made from the king’s lacquered silk clothing. There were numerous treasures within the structure, including a large diamond set in the forehead of the Buddha, four complete sets of the Tripikata (the ‘three baskets’ of the Buddhist sacred texts), and much more. When the British annexed the city and Upper Burma in 1885, the large diamond vanished, perhaps taken by the British or other marauders. The building and its entire contents burned down in 1890.

For many years the ruins of the building lay open to the elements. Stumps of the charred teak pillars, a grand staircase and some colonnaded walls remained. The area was cleared in the 1990s and was rebuilt according to the original plans in 1996 by the Burmese archaeological department with the use of convict labor. While somewhat impressive, it does not come close to recreating the magnificence of the original building. The Atumashi Kyaung is near the Kuthodaw Pagoda, built at the same time, and next door to the Shwenandaw.

Mandalay Division

Mandalay Division is an administrative division of Myanmar. It is located in the center of the country, bordering Sagaing Division and Magway Division to the west, Shan State to the east, and Bago Division and Kayin State to the south. The regional capital is Mandalay. In the south of the division lies the national capital of Naypyidaw. The division consists of seven districts, which are subdivided into 30 townships and 2,320 wards and village-tracts.

Mandalay Division is important in Burma's economy, accounting for 15% of the national economy.

The Tibeto-Burman speaking Pyu were the first historical people to dominate the dry zone in central Myanmar that includes Mandalay Division as early as the 1st century AD. By the early 9th century, the Pyu were decimated in a series of wars with the Nanzhao kingdom from Yunnan. The Burmans, who had been migrating into the region from Yunnan since 7th century, founded a city of their own, Pagan, in 849. The Pagan dynasty slowly came to dominate the central zone over the next two centuries, and by the late 11th century, all of present day Myanmar. The Burmese language and script came to prominence with royal patronage of Pagan kings.

After the fall of Pagan to the Mongols in 1287, parts of central Myanmar came to be controlled by a series of rulers: the Mongols (1287-c.1303), Myinsaing (1298-1312), Pinya (1312-1364), and Sagaing (1315-1364). In 1364, Ava kingdom led by Burmanized Shan kings reunified all of central Myanmar. Central Myanmar was under Ava's control until 1527, and under the Shans of Monhyin (1527-1555). Burmese literature and culture came into its own during this era.

Central Myanmar was part of the Taungoo kingdom from 1555 to 1752. Parts of the region fell briefly to the Mons of Pegu (Bago) (1752-1753). Konbaung Dynasty ruled the region until December 1885 when it lost all of Upper Myanmar in the Third Anglo-Burmese War. The British rule in Upper Myanmar lasted until May 1942 when the Japanese forces captured Mandalay during World War II. The British returned after the war and granted independence the country in January 1948. Upon independence, Mandalay Division ceded Myitkyina and Bhamo districts to the newly formed Kachin State.

The majority of the population in Mandalay Division are Bamar (Burmans). In the Mandalay metropolitan area, however, a large community of Chinese, most of whom are recent immigrants from Yunnan, now nearly rival the Bamar population. A large community of Indians also reside in Mandalay. A dwindling community of Anglo-Burmese still exists in both Pyinoolwin and Mandalay. A number of Shan people live along the eastern border of the division.

Burmese is the primary language of the division. However, Mandarin Chinese is increasingly spoken in Mandalay and the northern gem mining town of Mogok.

Agriculture is the primary economical source of livelihood. Primary crops grown within Mandalay Division are rice, wheat, maise, peanut, sesame, cotton, legumes, tobacco, chilli, and vegetables. Industry, including alcoholic breweries, textile factories, sugar mills, and gem mines also exists. Tourism now forms a substantial part of Mandalay Division's economy, as it contains many historical sites including Mandalay, Amarapura, Bagan, Pyin U Lwin, Mount Popa, and Ava. Hardwoods such as teak and thanaka are also harvested.

Educational opportunities in Myanmar are extremely limited outside the main cities of Yangon and Mandalay. According to official statistics, whose accuracy is highly doubtful at best, over 1 million students were enrolled in the division's 4467 primary and secondary schools in 2005. Although the statistics claim a 15% primary school dropout rate, the real rate is certainly far higher. Indeed, of the nearly 4500 schools, almost 4000 were primary or post-primary schools, while only 234 were middle schools and 227 were high schools.

Still the division has some of the best institutions of higher education in Myanmar. As medical, engineering and computer studies are the most sought after in Myanmar, the University of Medicine, Mandalay, the University of Dental Medicine, Mandalay, Mandalay Technological University, and the University of Computer Studies, Mandalay are among the most selective universities in Myanmar. Other highly selective schools are Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University and military academies in Pyinoolwin: Defence Services Academy and Defence Services Technological Academy.

Health care
The general state of health care in Myanmar is poor. The military government spends anywhere from 0.5% to 3% of the country's GDP on health care, consistently ranking among the lowest in the world. Although health care is nominally free, in reality, patients have to pay for medicine and treatment, even in public clinics and hospitals. Public hospitals lack many of the basic facilities and equipment.

In 2005, Mandalay Division's public health care system had slightly over 1000 doctors and about 2000 nurses working in 44 hospitals and 44 health clinics. Over 30 of the so-called hospitals had less than 100 beds. Almost all of large public hospitals and private hospitals as well as doctors are in Mandalay. (These dismal numbers are believed to have improved by the advent of Naypyidaw as the nation's capital in 2006 although the level of improvement remains unreported.) The well-to-do bypass the public health system and go to private clinics in Mandalay or Yangon in order to 'get quick medical attention and high-quality service'. The wealthy routinely go abroad (usually Bangkok or Singapore) for treatment.

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