Mandalay’s municipal authorities are planning to make the city the hub of Thingyan celebrations this year, an official told The Myanmar Times last week.
The Mandalay City Development Committee (MCDC) official said interested parties will be allowed to build pandals – stages equipped with hoses that spray water on passersby – across the city during this year’s Thingyan festival, which runs from April 12 to 16.
“We will allow people to build pandals on main roads around Mandalay, in addition to around the moat and Kandawgyi before Thingyan,” the official said.
“Our aim is to attract as many people as we can to the city for the festival and will provide water for pandals. We will no longer be requiring people to pay to build pandals too,” he said.
A separate MCDC official said the city will grant licenses for more than 40 pandals to be built for the upcoming festival. U Saw Htun Oo, an official in MCDC’s department of revenue, said pandals will mostly be built around the moat, as has traditionally been the case, but permits for 10 stages have been granted at the Kandawgyi public recreation, which has been off-limits.
U Saw Htun Oo said increased water supplies meant the city could afford for pandals to be set up in new areas.
“We couldn’t allow any pandals at Kandawgyi because we couldn’t supply enough water in previous years. But we’re confident that we can deliver enough water for this year,” he said on March 19.
He added that organisers must pay a security deposit of K500,000 for a pandal around the moat but that fee would not be levied in other townships.
“We will try to supply water for pandals in other townships,” U Saw Htun added.
He said permits will be made available for 15 stages on 66th Street on the eastern side of the moat; 16 pandals will be available along 26th Street on the southern side; four permits will be issued for 80th Street on the western edge; but no pandals will be allowed on the northern side.
However, in recent years revellers have gathered at 12th Street to play, despite the absence of pandals.