There are several other temples and monasteries at the base of Mandalay Hill. The most impressive is probably Shwenandaw Kyaung, a teak structure built within the palace walls as a residence for King Mindon. The building was converted to a monastery and moved to its current site east of the palace after Mindon died in it, as it was considered bad luck by his son, Thibaw; this later saved it from burning alongside the palace’s other buildings.
Close by is Atumashi Kyaung, a temple originally built in the 1850s to house a Buddha statue that went missing – complete with the diamond in its forehead – when the British took the city. The current building is a reconstruction dating back to the 1990s.
Kuthodaw Paya, just north of Atumashi Kyaung, is home to a set of 729 marble slabs inscribed with the Tipitaka (the canon of Theravada Buddhist scriptures), each kept in its own small stupa. Impressive in its sheer scale, the set has been described as the world’s largest book. The nearby Sandamuni Paya has marble slabs with commentaries on the same scriptures, while the centrepiece of the Kyauktawgyi Paya (just west of Sandamuni Paya) is a huge Buddha carved from a single piece of marble. It’s the site of the city’s biggest festival every October.