The Audience Hall, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Nandaw (Royal Palace) at Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar), from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Burma Circle, 1903-07. The photograph was taken by an unknown photographer in 1903 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. This is a view of the Great Audience Hall, with two-tiered roofs, which was situated at the eastern end of the palace facing the main city gate of Mandalay. Above it in the centre rises the gold-plated seven-tiered spire or pyatthat known as the "Centre of the Universe", which marked the sacred space of the Lion Throne room below. Mandalay was founded in 1857 by Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78), Burma’s penultimate king, in fulfilment of a Buddhist prophecy that a religious centre would be built at the foot of Mandalay Hill. In 1861 the court was transferred to the newly-built city from the previous capital of Amarapura and it became Burma’s last great royal capital. The royal palace or Nandaw stood at the centre of the walled city and was one of the first buildings to be constructed, re-using many parts of the teak buildings from Amarapura. The glory of Mandalay was shortlived as it was annexed by the British Empire in 1886 after the Third Anglo-Burmese war, and the Burmese monarchy was sent into exile in India. The original palace was destroyed by fire during Allied bombing raids in 1945 during the Second World War but has since been partially reconstructed.