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Mawlamyine(or Moulmein )is the capital of the Mon State in the Union of Myanmar. It is also the third largest city in the country, after Yangon and Mandalay. It has a population of about 240,000.
Mawlamyine is an ancient Mon town. The name according to the legend comes from Mot-Mua-Lum, meaning "one eye destroyed" . In this legend an ancient king had three eyes, the third eye in the centre of the fore-head having the power of seeing what was going on in surrounding kingdoms. The King of a neighbouring country gave his daughter in marriage to the three-eyed king, and this queen was eventually able to destroy the all-seeing third eye.
Mawlamyine is now being transformed into a modern city with many new public and private buildings coming up. Only the old pagodas on the Mawlamyine Ridge remind us of her ancient origins.
Interesting Places In Mawlamyine
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.
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.
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.
How To Go There
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