The inspiration of
Buddhism was broadly human, not racial.
Every people might take
its message to heart in their own individual way. The
restraints it enjoined and the ideals it held up became
the occasions to unfold
her own inmost nature.
The abounding treasury of
Buddhist legend furnished the subjects to exercise her
poetic fancy. In the fifth century, long after Buddhism
had declined at its source in India, and when it only
prevailed in Ceylon, its real progress began among the
people who were to give it an enduring home. This religion is
popularly credited with five hundred millions of adherents.
Buddhists in Burma and perhaps twentieth of
that number in Ceylon, together with the half million Jains
of India, are practical Buddhists of the world.
rest has sunk to an empty name, as in China
and Japan, or it is lax, as in slain, or it is utterly
transformed, as in Tibet.
Two centuries away the phrase ..further India.. gives point to a wide
misconception. The surprise of so many persons on finding
that here is no caste to take the commonest
instance betrays the notion that the country is part of
India. The phrase Indo-China is also misleading unless in
respect of geography. In respect of climate, flora and
fauna, Further India is not inapplicable. A probable
Indo-Aryan admixture exists in the north-coast (Arakan -
Rakhine). But the country is as distinct from India as Tibet
The original Burman tribes
are conjectured to have
pushed their way south from the mountains of Tibet. They
divided into three principal branches, Arakan (Rakhaing,
Yakaing) on the west, Shan on
the east, and Burma (Bama), which attained to the chief
position, in the middle, on the northern Irrawaddy. Nothing is known of the early
days of these
nations. But it is certain that in 1000 A.D. this was a
large and powerful kingdom, with its seat at Bagan.
Bagan pagoda and temple panorama
About that time
the first historical conquest of the lower
was effected. From the fact that the country was
not permanently subdued it may be inferred that the power of
the Mon or Pegu (later called Talaing) was not
greatly inferior to that of the Burman. The Mons, from the
affinities of their language, are conjectured to be of
Annamitic origin. There is mention of the Bagan kingdom
the chronicles, and there is above all the evidence
of the ruins of Bagan, probably the mightiest of their kind.
They testify to the power of the kingdom and the influence
of the religion which actuated the kings to build temples on
such a scale.
Portuguese Church at Syriam 17 th Century
Portuguese Grave at Syriam 17 th. Century
In 300 A.D. the power of the
kingdom had spent itself,
in a great
degree owing, to the drain of the temple-building. But
the force of the religion was unabated. The state fell a prey to Shan invaders, who snatched the
dominion for nearly two hundred years but failed to
consolidate it, splitting up into principalities like those
of their native hills. The
allowed the Mon power to develop. The sixteenth
century saw the rise of Pegu and the establishment of
a shifting empire. Exhausted.. by wars, Pegu in turn declined and lay at the mercy of Siam ( Yodaya)
when Paung (Taung - ngu) came to the rescue. In the
seventeenth century the Peguan dynasty brought the Mutt
umpire to its zenith, from which it waned in the
Towards the middle of the latter century the Emmaus under Alaiung Paya rose against the Mum garrisons, overthrew Pegu
and finally established the empire. Arakan - Rakhine was incorporated, Siam was subjugated and made
tributary for a time. The empire directed its ambition to
the west. Manipur was overrun and the Arakanese pretensions
inn 1571 the country was in a state of chaos. High officials
plotted against King Mong Phaloung. Astrologers advised the
king to build the Htukkant Thein Temple with
the help of the plotters as well as
governors, land-lords and
common people. They
acted according to a saying common at that time,
'when the city is worn, support its ceiling.' The temple was built on a 70 metre by 80 metre
platform. The structure is built of stone blocks with brick
pagodas on top of the hall and on the four corners. Inside
the temple there are two pavements with many images and
carvings picturing the various donors. It is a very
interesting collection of different costumes and ornaments.
Sixty four varieties of coiffure, forty different
head-dresses, twenty different bracelets, eighty-one rings,
sixteen types of pendant and various other body decorations
are a creative showcase.
The Shite-thaung Temple
Shite-thaung Temple at Mrauk U
a great travel destination is Mrauk-U or Myohaung
in Arakan or Rakhine, plenty of ancient still can be seen
one of the big temple is the
Temple of Eighty Thousand Images, was erected in 1536.
The building was funded by a
donation from King Mong Ba Gree to commemorate the
victory over the twelve provinces of Bengal and the
Portuguese marauders who came to assault the
capital. The basic structure is a hall topped by a main stupa surrounded by 26 smaller stupas. The temple is 53
meters long, 41 meters wide and 29 meters high. There are
several passage ways with galleries throughout the inner
temple. The temple is richly decorated with statues of
Buddha as well as images of the animals or persons which
Gautama Buddha occupied in his 550 previous life's. People
in native costumes with faded colors are shown wrestling,
boxing and dancing.
This beautiful landscape with
the Sakyamanaung pagoda in the centre is typical of the Mraunk U area.
and valleys are dotted with dozens of pagodas, temples and
Sakyamanaung Pagoda at Mrauk-U
Shwedagon Pagoda 18 th.
The Bumans had no intelligence
branch in the shape of a sea-borne trade of their own. So
they provoked a trial of strength. and after a struggle,
which they made a long and well-nigh desperate one for their
well-equipped opponents, succumbed. Burman empire was over,
the ancient kingdom only remained. The people had learned
the lesson, but not so their rulers, who suffered affairs to
come to a thrice-repeated crisis.
is the lifeline
of the people. It springs forth from
Himalayas coming down to two rivulets,
Mae Kha and Mali Kha (Myitsone) in the
Kachin State, in the far north. It runs from
north to south and eventually emptying out
Ayeyarwady’s name has been curved in stone
inscriptions in the days of yore just as the
mentioned in the same.
Ayeyarwady has fed
with food and sustenance and has
witnessed the water -
The Ayeyawady (Irrawaddy) 17th
Sailing Ship 17th Century
and landmarks all along
its colorful course.
The road from
Mandalay is 693 km
long and is shorter than 935 km long river
way; and is longer than 617 km long
railway. The passage passes through
cultivated plains, green groves of trees and
glistening array of
pagodas and stupas.
stretch is from
called Pegu and
Hanthawaddy, which produces basic
crops. In Indakaw, there are rubber
plantations. The Kingdom of Hanthawaddy - Bago
was founded by two brothers, Thamala and
Wimala in the 9th century. In the 15th
century, only Myanmar Queen, Shin Saw Pu
reigned there. She was noted for her renovation of
the Shwedagon pagoda of Yangon. In the following
century, King Bayinnaung, founder of the Second
Empire and conqueror of Ten Directions held his court and
unified the whole Myanmar nation. Famous pagodas
here are Shwemawdaw, Shwethalyaung (Reclining
Buddha) Mahazedi, Kyaikpun and Kalyani Sima. The
most imposing palace built by the great King
Bayinnaung was Kanbawzathadi Palace, which is now
rebuilt as before.
Pegu lake monastery at th entrance to the
This is another old
city, 200 km from Bago. It bestirred nostalgic
memories of Natshinnaung, warrior poet whose love
for lovely Princess Yazadatukalyar knew no bounds.
notable spot nearby is Thandaung, a hill resort.
Nearby is the Mawchi Mines which produces tin and
wolfram. Famous products here are bananas, tea and
Beyond is the Yezin dam
and a complex of teaching institutes on agriculture,
animal husbandry and forestry
The rain is scarce here less than 125 cm a year.
There are no more paddy and rice fields but crops as
groundnuts, sesamum, beans and pulses are thriving
products. Meikhtila Lake is well-known and
prominent. There are songs eulogizing peace and
beauty of the lake.
There is a nursey rhyme which runs:
“ Please pick up a small frog from
If you have caught one,
Kindly offer me a small creature
with pouting small eyes and thin body.”
Meikhtila’s location is strategic. It is the point
of access to the Shan State in the east, with
Taungyi, its capital, 170 km away. To the west lies
Kyaukpadaung, where there are oilfields and the
Mandalay it stretches 152 km. Before
arriving, one will come across Kyaukse, the
ancient home and granary of agricultureand the rice
bowl of successive Kingdoms.
famous King Anawrahta started to build his
first Empire that lasted more than two
It is too well known to dwell at length about
Mandalay, the royal capital of the last two Myanmar
Kings of Konbaung dynasty. It is the hub and
heartland of Myanmar culture, arts and crafts and
the seat of Theravada Buddhism. These culture
heritage still lingers.
Bagan is the old
Bagan is also highly reputed for Myanmar art and
architecture, sculpture and painting, archaeological
findings and artifacts and is world-famous for
thousand and one
pagodas, stupas, cetis, religious
edifices and buildings.
Suffice it to say that,
these cultural values can only be appreciated by a
personal visit there.
The Road to Mandalay or the river cruise is in fact,
a window to the beauty and wealth of Myanmar
Tattooing in the coutry
Before or after the monastic
novitiate, it is the custom to have
themselves tattooed from the waist to the knee.
Not to submit to this ordeal is to incur the reproach of
cowardice. The tattooing is ;in intricate pattern of animals
Owing to the extent of surface involved,
process is most painful. It occupies days or weeks,
according to the fortitude of the subject, who is drugged
with opium for the occasion. The instrument has a handle
weighted at the butt, and a long point of bronze, split like