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Home > Myanmar Highlights > Off-the-beaten-track > Mrauk U and Sittwe

Mrauk U and Sittwe

Info Ext Mrk / Aky

Mrauk U, the Golden City of the west

The jungle vines creeping over the some of its 600-year old temples & stupas of Mrauk U (aka Myohaung or the old city,) lies on a rocky isolated plateau in western Myanmar, is once one of most spectacular royal cites of Asia. King Min Saw Mon set the foundation stones of the great city in 1433, where it remained for next 355-year, while its golden age aroused under the King Razagyi after his conquest over the Bamar’s most powerful kingdom Bago in early 17th century, until the destruction of Burmese King Bodawpaya in 1784. Mrauk U served as a free port for trading with Middle East, Portugal, Spain, and Holland in its heydays. A European visitor, Father Sebastiao Manrique vibrantly depicted Mrauk U’s metropolis appearance and the city’s richness he’d seen at the Mrauk U market during the king’s coronation in 17th century.

Nowadays, some 157Buddhist shrines and pagodas, where a couple of large, well-known ones were renovated while others in various stages of decay, veiled with dense jungle vegetations and crumbled by the strangling green vines. Comparing to Myanmar’s most popular 11th century Bagan, Mrauk U may be smaller in scope with limited transport and accommodation facilities; it is still a well worthy Myanmar’s backwater archaeological destination at the foothills of Chin Hills. For those who tend to be more adventurous can be visited to the Chin villages along the Laymyro River to see the village women with their tattooed faces, marveled their traditional woven fabrics.

Mrauk U can be reached via Sittwe, the capital of Rakhaing State. Although there’s a road between Sittwe & Mrauk U, the best way to reach to/from these places is 65km (4 to 6hours) lovely boat trip along scenic Kaladen River. It is necessary to plan the Mrauk U/Sittwe trip separately from other Myanmar tours as it can only be reached by flight from Yangon. Depending on the seasonal demand, there might be a couple of flights from Thandwe (Ngapali Beach) to Sittwe.

Sittwe

Sittwe, situated on an estuarial island at the confluence of the Kaladan River, Myu River, and Lemyo River, is a port city of the Rakhine State sits at the mouth of the Kaladan River where it empties into the Bay of Bangal. The city started as a trading port around 200 years ago and further developed after the British occupation of 1826. But for most tourists, Sittwe is just a hurry-and-leave point for those heading to Mrauk U. In fact, Sittwe has a few advisable highlights that are worth-seeing, like the fish market, the waterfront, Rakhaing State cultural Museum, and a couple of Buddhist museums.

Mrauk U Highlights

Andaw Pagoda

The Andaw Pagoda of Mrauk U means the Pagoda enshrining the tooth-relic of Buddha. The pagoda is located about 86 feet from the Shittaung Pagoda in the north-east direction. Min Hla Raza was the original builder of this pagoda in 1521 A.D. Due to some damaged parts, the King of Mrauk U, Minrazagyi reconstructed this pagoda in 1596 A.D. The central tower of the shrine contains the tooth-relic of Buddha. It was originally obtained from Sri Lanka by King Minbin (1534-1542 A.D.)

Dukkanthein

Dukkanthein also called as Htukanthein or Htoekanthein, stands on a hill which is about 30 feet in height. Its structure is like a flat surface in the form of a drum. King Minphalaung built the pagoda in 1571 A.D. Like most of the ancient monuments in Mrauk U, Dukkanthein was built with sandstones and layers of bricks over the roof. The inner chambers and passages of the temple are constructed with well fitting and cemented stones. The pagoda is well-known for the stone sculptures in the vaulted passages, es¬pecially the figures of seated ladies, with different styles of coiffure, in the manner of offering lotus buds to the Buddha.

Koethaung

Koethaung Pagoda, the name means 90,000 and probably signified the number of Buddha images it was supposed to contain. King Mintaikkha who was the son of the King Minbin, the donor of the great Shitthaung Pagoda, built the Koethaung Pagoda in 1553 A.D. The pagoda was constructed of massive stonewalls and terraces. The small one hundred and eight pagodas, all made of sandstone, were built on the terraces. The entrance to the pagoda on the east side leads to a long vaulted passage which spirals round the tiers until it reaches the central chamber. The construction of the Koethaung Pagoda resembles a rock cave tunnel. The main tower above the pagoda is octagonal in shape. It is believed that there may be treasures of sculptures, artworks and even valuable jewelleries buried underneath the ruins. The platform is scattered here and there with vestiges of pagodas, images and many other such paraphernalia.

Shittaung Pagoda

Shitthaung or "temple of the 80,000 Buddhas" located about half a mile to the north of the palace site was built by one of the most powerful kings of the Mrauk-U Dynasty, called by the people, Minbargyi. It is an ancient temple, in Mrauk Oo of northern Rakhine state, Myanmar. According to records on inscriptions as King Minbin who reigned from 1513 to 1553. The king built this fortress-temple after repulsing a Portuguese attack on the City of Mrauk U.

Lemyathnar Pagoda

 
 

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