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Mawlamyine (Moulmein) – Mon State

Myanmar

Mahamuni Pagoda

Kyaik-Than-lan Pagoda1

Kyaik-Than-lan Pagoda

Kyaik-Than-lan Pagoda2

Kyaik-Than-lan Pagoda

Mawlamyine is the third largest city in Myanmar after Yangon and Mandalay situated 300 kilometers south east of the nation’s capital at the mouth of the Thanlwin river. It is the capital of Mon State with a population of almost 300,000 people. Formerly known as Moulmein, it was once a thriving teak port and the administrative capital of British Lower Burma. The town’s signature landmark is Kyaikthanlan pagoda built in 875 AD and  thought to be the site from where Rudyard Kipling wrote his famous poem, ‘The Road to Mandalay’. It’s unlikely that Kipling was referring to Mandalay Ward located at the base of Kyaikthanlan pagoda, but rather the ‘Mandalay’ in central Myanmar.

 

The Thanlwin bridge, the longest road and rail bridge in Myanmar is the most prominent landmark in the area. It stretches a distance of 11,000 feet over the Thanlwin river connecting the country’s south eastern region with its capital, Yangon.

Mawlamyine is generally considered to be off the main tourist trail for most travellers to Myanmar but the town does have a charm of its own with its rich history, buildings with colonial style architecture, World War II era wooden buses, and its close proximity to the infamous Siam-Burma “death railway”, making it a fascinating place to visit!

 Mawlamyine can be reached by road, rail or plane. As Myanmar Airways flies to Mawlamyine only on Thursdays and Sundays. it is more convenient to go by car, bus or railway. There are at present three trains from Yangon to Mottama (or Martaban ) ehe terminus across the Than Lwin ( Salween ) River from Mawlamyine. She trains leave Yangon at 3a.m. . 4a.m. and 8a.m daily, and take about seven hours to reach Mottama.

 It is a pleasant half an hour’s river crossing by passenger or car ferry from Mottama to Mawlamyine. The ferry goes in a southeast direction across the wide expanse of the Than Lwin River near its mouth. As you cross, you can see Bilu Gyun (Ogre Island) in the west. 

 

 

Interesting Places

 

Kyaik-Than-lan Pagoda

Three famous pagodas adorn the Mawlamyine Ridge. The Kyaik-thanlan pagoda was erected in 875 A.D. during the reign of King Mutpi Raja. A hair relic of the Buddha, Tripitaka manuscripts and gold images of the Buddha were enshrined in the pagoda. Successive kings raised the pagoda higher, from 56 feet to the present 150 feet. The present base of the pagoda is 450 feet in circumference. There are 34 small pagodas called Zediyan surrounding the pagoda. A lift has now been installed for easy access. Kyaik in Mon language means a Cedi or Stupa The pagoda was repaired by King Anawrahta, founder of the Bagan Dynasty, and later enlarged by Mon kings, especially King Wagaru of Mottama in 1538 A.D. On the Platform can be seen a big bell with a medieval Mon inscription and also another bell with a quaint inscription in English, dated 30th March 1885: ” This bell made by Koonalenga, the priest, and weight 500 viss. No one body design to destroy this bell.” There is also a memorial to the famous Thingaza Sayadaw who passed away in Mawlamyine in 1900.

Kyaik-than-lan was the pagoda that the famous English poet Rudyard kipling wrote about in his poem “Mandalay” which opens with the line: By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin lazy at the sea”.  

 

 

U Zina Pagoda

This pagoda is named after a person called U Zina, but no one really knows who he was. Some say that U Zina was a sage who lived at thc time of king Asoka, and that U Zina was just a villager who while collecting shoots on the hill where the pagoda now stands, found a pot of gold buried in a bamboo grove. The villager and his wife became rich and built this pagoda on the hill which gave up its treasure to them. The old Mon name for this pagoda is Kyaikpatan, named after thc white hill on which it stands. Legend says it was first built in the 3rd century B.C.

There is a record that u lugalay and his wife Daw Mi rebuilt the pagoda in 1832. They were They were buried near a water tank to the north of this pagoda. Soon after the annexation 1886 the pagoda was rebuilt by U Moe and his wife Daw Nyein to the present height of 112 feet. Their stone inscription can still be seen on the platform.

There is a reclining Buddha Image. Visitors should also see the four life-like figures, a decrepit old man leaning on a staff, a man suffering from a loathsome disease, a putrid corpse and finally a monk in yellow robes free from all worldly cares. These four figures represent the four signs that made Lord Buddha leave the palace for the life of a religious recluse.

 

 

Mahamuni Pagoda

This is a replica of the Maha Muni Image at Mandalay. The Seindon Mibaya-gyi, a prominent Queen of King Mindon from Mandalay, went to live mawlamyine after the Annexation. She and other members of the Myanmar Royal Family who were in Mawlamyine, felt a great longing to pay homage to the Maha Muni Image, and they arranged for a replica to be made in 1904. The building of this Pagoda was led by Sayadaw Waziya-yama, a prominent Buddhist monk, and Daw Shwe Bwin of Mawlamyine. The great image made in Mandalay was brought to Naga-with a Hill on the Mawlamyine Ridge,where a large building, a Gandakudi Taik, was erected to house it. The nearby monastery named after its donor, the Seindon Mibaya kyaung has some excellent wood-carvings which are over a hundred years old. 

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