Mandalay, scenes from everyday life • Myanmar

Journey through the heart of Myanmar in a captivating 9-minute video on Mandalay, a city that resonates with vibrant life and spiritual serenity. Witness the divine craftsmanship of Buddha sculptures, the intricate process of making delicate gold leaves, and gain an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of monks and nuns. This captivating journey through Mandalay's cultural tapestry is complemented by an enlightening narrative, enriching your understanding of this unique corner of the world. Seize this chance to transcend borders and time zones, discovering the golden threads that weave together Mandalay's rich cultural fabric. Mandalay beckons you – seize the moment!

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip Myanmar • Burma (EN)

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Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.

00:41 • the surroundings of Mandalay, seen from the dumpster of the truck

01:25 • monks and nuns

04:19 • buddhist sculpture workshop

07:35 • gold leaf making workshop



Mandalay is full of magnificent temples, golden pagodas and sacred stupas. Giant Buddhas, teak buildings and many other wonders

But Mandalay is first and foremost a city where people live. And in Mandalay as in the rest of Burma (or Myanmar to use the country's now official name), a lot of things revolve around the Buddhist religion.

So the streets are full of monks. Whether they are men with their burgundy coat or women with their pink coat, monks are omnipresent. All of them have shaved heads. The monastic function is so deeply rooted in mentalities that practically all Burmese are or have been monks for at least a few weeks in their life.

In this film we see a Buddhist nun who goes into town on the back of a motorbike but also, a little further, a host of young monks playing football. Even if these young people are monks and submit to monastic discipline, they remain children.


All the temples and a good part of the dwellings of Myanmar have at least one statue of Buddha. But somebody has to make these holy images. All over the country, but perhaps even more in Mandalay, workshops are responsible for carving heavy blocks of marble to give life to these statues which will be painted, once completed.

Gold leaves

In all the places of pilgrimage in Myanmar, it is customary for men to cover sacred statues with gold. Whether at the famous Golden Rock, at the Mahamuni temple or in the Hpaung Daw U pagoda on the shores of Inle Lake, we see practically all the men with fine gold leaves. The gilding of statues is reserved for men, and very often women are not allowed to approach Buddha statues in temples.

And that gold leaf has to be made somewhere as well. In Mandalay there are several such workshops where young people spend their day hammering a small piece of gold until it becomes a leaf of extreme finesse.

about the place, Mandalay:

Located on the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay is Myanmar's second city after Yangon (Rangoon). Founded in 1857 by King Mindon, Mandalay became the capital of the Konbaung dynasty in place of Amarapura.

It was also the last royal capital of Burma before annexation by the British in 1885. However, it remained a leading commercial and cultural center during the British era.

The city was devastated during the conquest of Burma by Japan in World War II and it became part of the newly independent Union of Burma in 1948.


Spoken comments in the film: 

We made a triumphant entry into Mandalay, Myanmar's second city after the capital Yangon ... Our bus broke down about thirty kilometers from our destination and a charming truck driver took us to Mandalay in the dumpster of his truck ...

It gave us the opportunity to see the road differently.

A scene from everyday life in a female monastery in Myanmar.

The novices of Buddhist monasteries may be monks, but above all they remain children.

The production of Buddha sculptures remains a very widespread activity in Myanmar.

The fervor of the Buddhist faithful in Burma pushes them to cover with gold the statues of Buddha and certain sacred places like the Golden Rock. For this they use very fine gold leaves which are made in artisanal workshops like this one.



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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of burmese traditional music in "Mandalay, scenes from everyday life • Myanmar ", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

Buddhist nuns Mandalay, Myanmar, Mandalay • Myanmar
sculpture workshop, Mandalay • Myanmar

sculpture workshop

Mandalay, at the entrance to the city, Mandalay • Myanmar

Mandalay, at the entrance to the city

young monks playing football, Mandalay • Myanmar

young monks playing football

gold leaf making, Mandalay • Myanmar

gold leaf making

Mandalay, Myanmar

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