Ava, located across Myitnge River about 20 km southwest of Mandalay is the capital of Burmese Kingdom for nearly 400 years. All the major buildings, which were not destroyed during earthquake if 1838, had been transferred first to Amarapura and then to Mandalay.
Built in 1834, this enormous wooden monastery is supported with 267 teak posts, which the largest measures 18m in height and 2.7m in circumference. The doorways are decorated with beautiful Keinayi mythical birds and the monks here preserved a few Sarteik (huge decorative boxes to store Holy Scriptures). The monastery is still in use and there is a class room for the village children. In fact, Bagaya in Mon language means “Star Flower Monastery”.
This is one of a few monuments that left from King Bagyidaw’s Inwa palace before it has moved to Amarapura in 1841. The watch tower has a height of 27-m and provides a picturesque view of Ayearwaddy River and historic Inwa Bridge with numerous whitewashed pagodas dotted on the Sagaing Hills. The watch tower is also known as the “Leaning Tower of Inwa” as the earthquake in 1838 caused considerable damage and leaned to one side.
Also known as “Brick Monastery” or Okkyaung, this monastery was built in 1818 and finished in 1822 by the order of Meh Nu, the chief queen of King Bagyidaw for her royal abbot U Pok. The monasteries at that time were usually built by the woods but this one was used with brick-and-stucco and tried to imitate the traditional wooden style. The monastery was restored in 1873 after the 1838 earthquake that damaged the monument badly.
Inwa offers several other places including Inwa Archaeological Museum, which exhibits several antique Buddha images, various utensils, and old furniture of different periods of Inwa is worth a visit. It is also possible to drop at any picturesque pagoda ruins along the circuit or visit to the village where black alms-bowl are producing for the ever increasing country’s monk population.