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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”…
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.
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.
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.
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. Click to see the map of this destination.