Beikthano Burma

Mykthano Burma

nearthano Bekthano is the Myanmar term for Vishnu, the Hindu god who is manifested in a string of godly or avataric manifestations (i.e. in chronological order), with the two main incarnations being Rama, the good kingdom whose actions are listed in Ramayana, and Krishna. Though it is named Beikthano Myo or Vishnu City, it is not an Hindu or Hindu site, but an early Buddhist centre constructed by the Pyu in Myanmar.

In the whole main plains of Ayeyawady and parts of the Sittaung valley the Pyus founded villages, with the most important ones being Thayekhittaya (Srikshetra) near Prome (Pyay), Beikthano and Halin (near Shwebo) in the south. Beikthano is probably one of the first of these three main pyu settlements, as it bloomed from the first to the fifth cent.

From Yangon, Mandalay or Bagan you can take the railway to Beikthano. Get off at Taungdwingyi Station in Magway Division and take a cab or a car to the old site, which is about 12 nautical leagues south. Though there are no contemporary accommodation in Taungdwingyi, the closest city, you can stay in cosy guesthouses visited by native travellers and also taste good Myanmar, China or India cuisine with the characteristic Central Myanmar taste.

On the first glance, for the occasional tourist, there doesn't seem to be much to see in Beikthano any more, except for the destroyed tilework. Beikthano is one of the best example of early Pyu civilisation and definitely deserves a visit for travellers and those interested in it. In Beikthano, no epigraphs or Buddha pictures were found, indicating a very early phase in Buddhism.

This early Buddhist practice had convents and stupas, but no pictures of Buddha as seen in Thayekhitaya and later in Bagan. First thing you'll see is the rampart, which is more like a diamond, with each side about two of them.

More than 35 years ago, digs were conducted to uncover large gates that progressively arch inward, the walls of the town stretching along an entry on both sides to give the troops full command of the invaders. A large tile texture can now be seen in the town' s remains, which measures about 100 by 35ft.

Close to the monastic site are the remnants of a Stupa; only the pedestal is preserved and round, with two concentrated supporting wall. The deceased Director General of Archaeology, U Aung Thaw, who conducted the early excavation in person, suspected that incinerated bone was either laid to rest or deposited until a number of it had collected for a secundary rite cemetery.

In a recently published research report, U Chen Yi-Sein, a former member of the Myanmar Historical Commission, identifies Beikthano as Lin Ying (Vishnu City) of the old China Record. This was an important commercial centre on the highway between India and China, but also with the Pyu and Mon. Currently there is no site history collection and small pyu tokens, pottery and rock labels with characters in the southern Indian Brahmi typeface found in Beikthano are now on show in the National Musuem in Yangon.

Beikthano is a mythical place for the Myanmar tribe captured in our histories, a place that has finally been dug up so that we can come and see it to discover the remains that our spirit evokes the competition between a handsome prince and a mighty monarch, her half-brother. Myanmar's legends begin in Tagaung, the capitol of Myanmar's first monarch.

Once she was reigned by a mighty queen whose beloved was a fire-breathing Naga snake that could take shape in man. When the Naga fan was killed and Maung Pauk Kyaing became the queen's queen, twins were borne. Once an ogre nannymph had healed her blind, the younger Baydayi princess got divorced in Pyay and had a Duttabaung boy who became a mighty king in Thayekhitaya.

Duttabaung's sire also had a little girl by the name of Panhwar, who became a great queen in Beikthano. According to legends, the rivalries between Thayekhitaya and Beikthano and the battles that took place are documented. First, the Queen could fight off all her foes and powers sent by King Duttabaung with the help of a large magic cylinder known as Atula Sidaw, which was given to the Queen of Sakkra, Lord of Heavenly Beings.

Wherever enemy forces were approaching the town of Beikthano, which according to Vishnu, the great drums would sound and the waters of the Yan Pe (Repelling enemies) quickly rose and flooded the plains so that no invading armies could pass over them. Before Duttabaung could conquer the town, he had to use a strategy to take away the magic power of the basket.

Her Majesty Queen Panhtwar finally died and Duttabaung brought her back to Thayekhitaya to become his wife. Surrounding the area of the remains is a beautiful landscape where today's inhabitants are living in tranquil towns like Kokko Gwa. "There is another small town named Inywa Gyi near In Gyi Lakes.

Townspeople cultivate paddy and vegetable, as the pyu would have done two thousand years ago. Queen Panhthwar's famous Panhthwar Northeast Panhthwar Yaung Daw is situated northeast of the "palace grounds". Locals Villeger, the Taungdwingyi and Sayadaw (abbot) of Shwe Yaung Daw Abbey have all worked together to restore and preserve this sacred sac.

Antique woodcarvings in excellent finish are also available. Its wide cultural plains, quiet towns and lovely countryside with ponds and streams that surround the old remains bear witness to the peace-loving countryside of the inhabitants, who will welcome tourists from near and far who come to them.

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