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A hill Station , over 1000 metres above sea-level, Pyin Oo Lwin is a popular town, about 69km away from Mandalay. It is well known for its colonial style houses with large compound and pine trees, eucalyptus and silver-oak abound in town. Delightfully cool and pleasant the whole year round. 

Place Of Interest

 Botanical Garden

The Botanical Garden was first founded in the year 1915-16 by one British botanist named Mr. Roger who began collecting local plants and trees and cultivating them on 30 acres of land at the present site. It was only in 1919 that the Government gave official sanction to it. The original area of the Botanical Garden was 170 acres of land and 70 acres of water totaling 240 acres.

 Pwe Kauk Fall

Pwe Kauk Fall is about 8km from town. It is also called Hampshire Falls in British times. It's a very pleasant picnic spot.

 Peik Chin Myaung (Maha Nandamu Cave)

The cave is near Wetwun village 12 miles east of the town and it is three miles south of the village, easily accessible by car. The cave is at the entrance to the Peik Chin Myaung ravine, with many beautiful springs. When the rocks in the cave began to form, the place was under seawater. As lime piled up, the hillock took formation. Geologists estimate that it could be between 230 million and 310 million years old. The cave is called Peik Chin Myaung (Peik Chin Plants Ravine) as plenty of Peik Chin plants used to grow there, letting no light inside.

Pyay & Its Environs

Location

Pyay is an important commercial center for trade between the Ayeyarwady Delta, Central and Upper Myanmar and the Rakhine (Arakan) State. Pyay (Prome) is only 161 km north of Yangon travelling along a well-maintained highway by car. You can see green paddy fileds along the side of the highway. Several trains run daily from Yangon on the first railway line built in Myanmar in 1877. In the last few years the railway branch lines have been extended north towards Bagan. It is a city halfway between Yangon and Bagan. Visitors can stop over in Pyay and travel on to Bagan and Mandalay. Pyay is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwady River on a lovely location.

History

Pyay was anglicized as Prome after the Second Anglo-Myanmar war and in ancient times was known as Thaye-khittra (Srikshetra). Srikshetra, the ancient Pyu capital about five miles to the east, is interesting place to visit because of their historical importance and archaeological sites.

Interesting Places in Pyay

Shwesandaw Pagoda

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The Shwesandaw Pagoda is well known in Pyay. The Pagoda is situated on the eastern bank of Irrawaddy river and Myanmar’s most venerated structure stands here.

Sehtatgyi Paya

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Looking east from the stupa you’ll see an enormous seated Bhudda figure rising up from the treeline. From the Shwesandaw terrace you look across to the image eye-to-eye. Sehtatgyi meaning ‘Big Ten-storey’ for its height.

Bawbawgyi Paya and Bebe Paya

South of the museum, outside the city walls, are cylindrical Bawbawgyi Paya and cube-shaped Bebe Paya. Standing over 45 meters high, the brick and plaster of Bawbawgyi Paya is the oldest stupa in the area. Other cube-shaped pagodas in the area include one thought to have been used by a hermit, featuring eight Buddha reliefs along the lower half of the interior wall and a vaulted ceiling of brick.

Archaeological Museum

About a kilometer and a half from the highway turnoff by the old palace side, stands a small museum and a map of the area. Inside the museum is a colletion of artifacts collected from Srikshetra excavations.

Around Pyay

Shwedaung

This small town is about 14km south of Pyay. There are two famous pagodas in this town. The Shwemyethma Paya and the Shwenattaung Paya.

Shwemyethma Paya

Shwemyethma Paya meaning 'Paya with the Golden Spectacles' a refrence to a large white face sitting Buddha image inside the main shrine. The Buddha image wears a golden rimmed spectacles. Spectacles were added during the Konbaung era. There is a saying that this image can cure illnesses especially for eyes.

Shwenattaung Paya

Shwenattaung Paya means 'Golden Spirit Mountain'. This pagoda dates back to the Sriksetra era. Legend takes it back all the way to 283 BC, from which it was reconstructed by a long range of Burman kings with the aid of local nats(spirits) A large pagoda festival is held here each year on the full moon of Tabaung (February/March).

Akauktaung Mountain

Akauktaung Mountain stands on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River to the north of Pyay in Bago Division. It takes 15 minutes by boat ride to reach the Akauktaung. Different sizes and styles of Buddha images are carved into the wall of the bank and the visitor can climb and visit the Akauktaung pagoda, which lies at the top of the bank.

Paung Te

From Yangon, on the way to Pyay, you will come across Paung Te. The sacred tooth relic of Buddha is enshrined in the Paung Te Swedaw Seddi.

Mawlamyine (Moulmein)

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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

Kyaik-Than-lan Pagoda

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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.

Mahamuni Pagoda

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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

The Chin and the Naga compose about 3 % of the population of Myanmar. Most of Naga people live in India, such as Naga Land of northwest India, states of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. On Myanmar side of the border live much smaller population of some 100,000 Nagas. They spread around western Sagaing Division, from Patkoi range in north to Thaungdyat in south, from Indian border in west to River Chindwin in east.

Naga burn their field and grow rice, millet, corns, taro potato and so on for cultivation. Some fields are terrace-styled for growing rice and taros. Naga people live in the between Hukawang valley and Assam, India had a custom of sacrificing boy or girl slaves for the better autumn harvest.

Men's tatoos indicate his villages and tribes. Women do not cover their breasts either but wear tattoos since when they are little girls in villages of animism. At some of Naga villages under strong influences of Christianity or Burman culture, tatoos are disappearing. Black carpet woven with black fur of dogs with red rectangular-shapes embroideries used to be the typical design. Today Naga people use wool instead of dog fur. Shells used in the textiles with different pattern show the person's social status, experience of head-hunting and wealth. Yet now the textile with head-hunting glory pattern are inherited to the younger generations who has never hunted and its meaning are becoming history.

Festivals

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Naga's biggest festival is new year festival of January, called Kaing Bi and organized by Naga festival committee who choose each year's festival location and details under the control of central government. All Naga tribes send a few delegations to this occasion, thus it is the perfect opportunity to see variety of different Naga people at once.

At the same festival one year before, midnight of new year's eve, Naga chief made a pray pouring Naga wine at the festival site. When the pray was over, youngsters killed cattle, pigs and chickens with big knives, which were carried away by females and cooked to be served as Naga dishes at the festival. When festival starts, white and red Naga wine made of rice are served in bamboo glasses. Before and after this grand festival, various villages of Naga held their own small gatherings with children and others.

Location

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Mogok, where most of priceless Gems are mined, lies in a beautiful mountain valley, 128 miles to the north-east of Mandala y, and 60 miles to the east of Ayeyarwady river. There is the Great Lake of Mogok in the centre of the town, lying like a pool in the garden.

 

The mountain ranges of Mogok are a part of the great Shan plateau but the town itself is in Mandalay Division. The residents are mostly Lisus and Shans who make their living by mining and cutting, polishing and marketing gemstones. For centuries, gems such as rubies and sapphires were found at Mogok abundantly and very easily–so easy that they were literally scopped up by hand from among tufts of grass-roots in the hill-side kitchen garden. Gems so begotten are now known as 'grass-root stones'. And the kind of loose upper soil where they are easily found is named 'Manipur paydirt' because in old days Manipur immigrants were those ordered by the king to work the mines. In those days theprice of ordinary rubies was, almost nothing. They were seen everywhere, bought and sold everyday.Only extraordinary ones, large, flawless and of pigeon-blood colour, were considered as something worthy. Rich men, lords and ladies, Sawbwas (chieftains) and kings used to collect only those extraordinary gem-stones. And among gems, rubies rank No.1.



Mogok and its environs – Momeik, Twin, nge', Thabeikkyin and Waphyudaung – together has a gem-bearing area of 1916 sq. miles. There are now over 1000 mines, which are of two main types –tunnel and open-cut. Small-scale traditional mines, such as lay-bin-gyin (four-sided pits, three feet square) are also worked in some places. Rubies and sapphires are found in most of the mines and they bring the highest prices. Mogok also produces numerous gems of lesser quality such as – alexandrite, amethyst, apatite, aquamarine, black tourmaline, black John, danburite, flourite, garnet, green tourmaline, lapis lazuli, moonstone, peridot, quartz, rose quartz, spinel, topa z, white sapphire, zircon.

 

Mogok then and now, is a city of gems, the heart of the gem-zone and the centre of the gem trade. Some years in the past, private mines were all closed and even Myanmar nationals on visit to Mogok hadn't the cha nce to see how the famous mines worked.
If you really are interested in gems, Mogok in Myanmar is a must in your tour program, among other gem sites of the world.You should have enough time (at least 3 days) for the round trip from Mandalay to Mogok because it is a 128 mile motor-road (about 7 hour drive) and you have so many things to see and study about gem-mining, not to mention those lovely Lisu and Shan villages which adorn the misty valleys. After you have passed Letpanhla, the halfway stop for lunch, you are among the famous gem-producing hills, and the rock-formations will mesmerise you if you are a geologist. At Mogok you'll be very busy the whole day. First, make a pilgrimage to Chanthagyi Pagoda – the name implies you'll be immensely rich soon! Then to Mogok gem-market, where you just watch others buy and sell and get thrilled. At Shwepyiaye ruby mine, see the collection of gem gravels which are then washed and scrutinised the work of mining from start to finish. You'll have to go to the lapidary works to study how the stones are cut and polished, ready for making jewellry. In the evening, climb up Kyeenitaung to take a sunset view of Mogok and to gaze wistfully towards those lovely Lisu villages.At Kyatpyin, 7 miles from Mogok on your return journey, you have the opportunity to see all kinds of gem-sites, large and small, worked in different method.

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