Mandalay Hill Monastery Myanmar has an interesting history, not only is it a sacred sight visited for two centuries by Buddhist pilgrims, it was also a stronghold held by the Japanese military during WW2.
During the Burma campaign on 14th March, 1945 Mandalay hill and the monastery was occupied by the the Japanese. Various tunnels under the monastery were used as a defense post against the British soldiers, but to no avail. General William Slim seconded the 19th Indian Division the job of taking Mandalay hill from the Japanese.
Grenades were tossed into the tunnels by British soldiers, which proved unsuccessful they then used used cylindrical bombs with conical heads, each containing six pounds of high explosive, these bombs with delayed action fuses were placed on the roof of the building and detonated. The blast penetrated the depths of the monastery killing all of the Japanese inside.
Prior to the colonization of Burma there were over 15,000 monasteries in Burma, mostly built of teak wood. Monasteries were often built through donations to a village by a wealthy inhabitants of the village and community donations not only gain merit for the donator but help with the maintenance of the monastery.
Monasteries and pagodas were built in accordance to old traditional styles and modeled on earthly perceptions of what the heavenly mansions of the gods must look like.
Mandalay Hill is 770 feet high and is situated north east of the city of Mandalay, on top of the hill is Sutaungpyei Pagoda meaning “wish-fulfilling”, two giant Chinthe guard the Southern entrance to the Pagoda.
Walking to the top of this hill is an experience and once on top there is a splendid view of the the city of Mandalay and the central plains in the distance.