Thaton in south Myanmar

This was once the capital of the flourishing Mon Kingdom of ‘Suvarnabhumi’, established in the 3rd Century B.C., Thaton has lost much of its former grandeur and importance. Situated due east of Yangon – across the Gulf of Moattama (Martaban)- it is located on the rail and road route, it is also very close to Kanchanaburi, Thailand but road travel is impossible.

The city came onto “the Radar” in early times when two missionaries were sent by India’s King Asoka to introduce Buddhism. It was a thriving port then carrying on trade with South India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). In the 11th Century, Shin Arahan, a monk went north to Bagan and converted King Anawrahta to Theravada Buddhism.

Anawrahta’s religious zeal led to his conquest of the place in 1057 when he obtained not only the ‘Tripitakas’ he desired but also brought back the Mon king and his court, thereby affecting the influence their culture to the capital.

The present day town has been built over the old one

means very little of the ancient city can be seen today. What remains are traces of the village walls and pagodas like the Shwesaryan, believed to date back to the 5th Century B.C. and enshrined four Buddha teeth and the Thagyapaya.

Nearby are the ruined fortifications of Taikkala – a site at Ayetthema Village- regarded as the actual city of Suvarnabhumi. A bit to the south is an interesting old pagoda, the Tizaung stupa.

Thaton or the old Suvarnabhumi

Thaton Nun with umrella walking
Nun with umbrella walking

Thaton Elephant Pagoda
Thaton and the elephant Pagoda Thaton now occupies a fairly level area in Mon State which is fairly hilly, being a coastal region hemmed in between the Moattama and Taungnyo Hills in the east and the Gulf of Moattama or Martaban in the west.

Islands such as Balu-Kyun, Kalagok-Kyun, Hintha-Kyun, Green and Onion fringe the coast. It is a rice, rubber and sugar cane producing region.