Fulfililing the Buddha's prophesy upon his visit to the holy site of Mandalay Hill, King Mindon built a new city at the base of the hill in 1857 as the new royal residence "Mya Nan San Kyaw Shwe Nandaw: Mandalay" or "Yadanabon Naypyitaw", meaning "pile of gems." It was named after the Mandalay Hill and derived from Pali word "Mandalar", meaning "the center." The classical name of the city is Ratanapunja. It was founded by King Mindon in 1857 to fulfill the prophesy by shifting the capital from Amarapura.
Mandalay is Myanmar's second largest city with a population of nearly a million. The city center is the Mandalay Fort, a walled city surrounded by a moat which was also the home of the Royal Residence until the city was captured by the British. Today Mandalay is a hustling city of bicycles and motorbikes and the home to 60 per cent of the country's monks.
The monuments of Mandalay, just over a century old, scarcely possess any antiquarian interest. But viewed as representing the last of a long series of structure built by succeeding dynasties at the numerous capitals of Myanmar in gorgeous splendour, their interest as silent witness of an order of things which have now passed away forever becomes quite apparent.