Mandalay Hill at Sunset
Located just to the north-east of Mandalay’s city centre, Mandalay Hill offers wonderful views over the city. At the top of the hill you find the Sutaungpyei Pagoda where many Burmese people come on pilgrimage. There are four stairways leading up to the top, but most guests enter through the south where you find two leogryphs (lion figures) guarding the approach. Mandalay Hill was the scene of a fierce battle in the Second World War, when the British were trying to retake Mandalay from the occupying Japanese. A Gurkha battalion stormed the hill, fighting hand-to-hand all the way to the top, brandishing their Kukhris (knives) shouting ‘Ayo Gurkhali’ meaning ‘the Gurkhas are coming’. The Japanese fled into the cellars at the top of the hill. To capture the hill, petrol drums were rolled down into the cellars, and set alight by tracer fire by the approaching Gurkhas. This created an almighty explosion that sadly destroyed many of the historic pagodas.