The restoration of Shwe Nan Daw Monastery, also known as Shwe Kyaung, a popular tourist attraction in Mandalay Region, will cost from US$1.5 million to $1.7 million, an executive of a foreign agency helping in the project, said.
Jeffery Allen, project director of the World Monuments Fund, said the cost will depend on the scale of restoration to be done on what is considered the most significant historic building in Mandalay.
The World Monuments Fund and the Department of Archeology and National Museum has been conducting the restoration work since 2014, with partial funding from the US Ambassador’s Fund.
“We restored the rear of the building and verandahs in the southern part, including stairs. The main problem is water. We had already done work to divert the water around Shwe Kyaung,” Allen said. “If we get more funds, we will carry out restoration work in the eastern and western parts of the building.”
The US embassy gave $500,000 from the US Ambassadors’ Fund in 2014 and $300,000 in October 2016 for the work. The first grant was used for preliminary research, laser scanning of the Konbaung-era artwork, water drainage around the monastery and maintenance on its western part with the help of foreign experts.
“We are doing a better job because the regional government is cooperating with us. We will move on with our work. Three columns were replaced. We will examine the condition of the pillars in the southern wing soon. We will conserve the Konbaung-era artwork on the verandas,” Allen said.
The pillars of Shwe Kyaung were covered with gold leaf but were damaged by extensive touching, white ants and rain. The floor has also been damaged by Mandalay’s hot and dry weather, according to architects involved in the work.
“The archeology department did not allow replacing the pillars. The old pillars should be replaced with new ones or visitors will not be able to climb on them,” said U Win Maung, a traditional Myanmar artist.
Shwe Kyaung, built in the Konbaung era, is supported by 150 pillars and has 42 columns engraved with ancient figures. It is different than other ancient monasteries because it has a three-tiered roof, according to archaeology records.