Kayah State

Kayah State

Kayah State is situated between north latitude 18 ̊30′ and 20’and between 97’and 55’. Total area of Kayah State is 4506 square miles. It borders Shan State on the north, Yamethin district and Kayin State on the west and Thailand on the east. This is a mountainous state. Timber extraction is the main economy of the state. Most of the Kayah people live there and use Kayah language as a state language. Population of Kayah State is about 246000 and Kayah people profess Buddhism, Christian and Nat. Although Kayah people have so many seasonal festivals, Kuhtosoe (Climbing the Tagundaing) is the most important one.

Loikaw, the capital of Kayah state, just one hour’s flight from Yangon, but it may take much longer by road. As everyone may know well by now, Myanmar abounds with pagodas, temples, stupas, caves, verily sacred landmarks of Buddhism, the predominant faith of the majority of the populace. The famous religious landmark of Loikaw is the Thiri-Mingalar Taung-kwe Pagoda Hill, scenically built on a hillock overlooking the vast expanse of the environs. You can watch desolately at the pilgrims and enjoy the marvelous landscape form the top. The revered names of some pagodas were : Shwe Yin Aye Ceti; Kyauk Thanban Ceti; Aung Taw Mu Ceti; Su Taung Pyi Ceti; Pyi Lone Chan Thar Ceti; Auk Kyaik Htee Yoe Ceti; Atet Kyaik Htee Yoe Ceti and Shwe Pyi Aye Ceti. There was a prophecy that one day the nine pagodas will be unified into one omniscient pagoda in the propagation and perpetuation of the Buddhist faith. The name of the sacred hill was also changed to Thiri-mingalar Hill in 1970.

The cluster lies in the south of Loikaw, Kayah State, atop Thirri Mingala Hill, that has nine peaks on nine broken hills. It was called Mingala Hill, Phawmye in Kayah, Taunggwe in Myanmar, and Loi Pha Phat in Shan. It is 387 feet high. There are pagodas on the nine hillocks named Pyilone Chantha, Shwe Yattaung, Shwe Yin-aye, Kyauk Thamban, Aung-daw mu, Su Taung Pyi, lower Kyaikhtiyo, upper Kyaikhtiyo and Shwe-Pyi-Aye. Pyilone Chantha Pagoda was built in 1295 (1933) to be 36 feet high and 27 feet in girth. Shwe Yattaung Pagoda was built in 1257 (1895) to be 20 feet high and 15 feet in girth. Shwe Yin-aye Pagoda was built in 1275 (1913) to be seven feet high and five feet and six inches in girth. Kyauk Tbamban Pagoda was built in 1276 (1914) to be four feet and six inches high and three feet in girth. Aung Taw Mu Pagoda was built in 1291(1929) to be eleven feet and six inches high and ten feet nine inches in girth. Su Taung Pyi Pagoda was built in 1291 (1929) to be eleven feet six inches high and nine feet six inches in girth. Lower Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda was built in 1295 (1933) to be five feet and ten inches high and five feet ten inches in girth. Upper Kyaiktiyo Pagoda was built in 1296 (1934) to be five feet and six inches high and five feet in girth. Shwe Pyi-aye Pagoda was built in 1312 (1950) to be seven feet high and six feet and ten inches in girth.

The Kayah State Cultural Museum is located in Naung Yar Quarter in Loikaw, Kayah State in Burma. It displays bronze drums used in wedding and funeral occasions, stone beads, household utensils, traditional looms, traditional dresses, silverware, weapons, paintings and musical instruments of the Kayah people. Kayah traditional musical instruments and their favourite musical instrument called Frog Drum which is made of 5 different kinds of metals can be studied. The museum holds nearly 13000 books and 405 individual objects. It was established on September 18, 1996.The Kayah State Cultural Museum is located in Naung Yar Quarter in Loikaw, Kayah State in Burma. It displays bronze drums used in wedding and funeral occasions, stone beads, household utensils, traditional looms, traditional dresses, silverware, weapons, paintings and musical instruments of the Kayah people. Kayah traditional musical instruments and their favourite musical instrument called Frog Drum which is made of 5 different kinds of metals can be studied. The museum holds nearly 13000 books and 405 individual objects. It was established on September 18, 1996.

The Htee-pwint-kan or Umbrella pond is situated in Demoso Township in the heart of the paddy fields. It was just a small pond around a hundred feet in circumference. The Kayahs believe that the present ‘Htee pwint kan’ is the pond dug by the crocodile with the help of the white buffalo. There is a legend about this pond. It says ” Once upon a time in a dense forest a big white rabbit and a big crocodile lived together as friends. One day the rabbit told the crocodile that a severe drought would befall the following summer which would cause extreme hardship. The rabbit then persuaded the crocodile to leave the forest to more salubrious pastures where water was plentiful. Believing in the rabbit they both travelled till they reached atop a hillock when the rabbit ran away, leaving the poor crocodile to his dire fate. Luckily a white buffalo passed by and saw the predicament of the distraught crocodile, who requested the former to take him to where water was available. The buffalo replied that water was very far away. Then the crocodile suggested that the buffalo dig the earth with his strong hoofs, urinate on the earth to soften it and repeat the process again and again until the pit was deep enough for the crocodile to wallow inside. The buffalo obliged, and the crocodile wallowed until as luck would have it water spurted from the subterranean lake, bringing relief to the amphibian. The thankful crocodile offered to help the buffalo so that he may not suffer for want of water. Thus we now see that buffaloes never feel the scarcity of water as the crocodiles kept the promise made once upon a time. “

Padaung means long neck in the Shan language. The Padaungs ethnically belong to the larger Kayin race and their fixed abodes are to be found scattered in the area between the Kayah State, east of Taungoo and Southern Shan State. Some inhabit the plains of the basin of the Paunglaung River which are also part of Kayah State, east of Pyinmana.

Kyet cave near Loikaw was surveyed to a length of 2.2km andis the 3rd longest cave of Myanmar. The cave is reached in 30 minutes by car from Loikaw on a good road. The entrance area is developed as a pilgrim site by the monk U Wayam a who discovered the cave in a cliff in 2011. A staircase leads to the entrance hall followed by a paved path for the first hundred meters of passage. Many strangely long wooden coffins are distributed on the floor after 200 m along the passage. The visitor parts ends after 400m in a muddy hall of 30m x 35mdimensions. Here an upper passage with pristine dripstone formations continues for 300m into the mountain while a lower active part is dominated by a stream. The cave is well known in Kayah and promoted for tourism development by the local authorities in cooperation with the International Trade Center in Geneva. A reception area for visitors is built and few buildings host the monk and novices.

Ngwe Taung Dam is located in Demoso Township, Kayah and a 20 minute drive from Loikaw City. Legend said it was the birthplace of a beautiful story of Dwe Mae Naw, a mythical half-mixed human and bird creature, and her sisters who live in Silver Cloud Land. The lake where these mythical creatures frolicked is called Ngwe Taung Si (Ngwe Taung Dam). At the Ngwe Taung Dam, where you can smell the natural fresh air come across over the face of water and experience the picturesque view of dark green forest and mountains.

It is situated in Tahnee Lalei village, a 20 minute drive from Loikaw City and a 10 minute drive from Htee Pwint Kan (umbrella shaped pond). There are seven separated lakes locating nearly each other, where you can feel the fresh air and can see the scenic green atmosphere and very clean water in the lakes. The local tribes use the water from the lakes for farming and hangout for their animals.

The Lawpita Waterfalls are formed by the famous Bilu Chaung (the Ogre Stream), which flows out of Inle Lake in the far north. The drive from Loikaw to No. 2 Hydro-electric plant on scenic 13-miles-long road though rubber plantations, orchards, and typical villages is very pleasant and scenic. There are two-steps and one step falls and required to walk around 20 minutes from where the car is left. It’s beautiful when the mist covers the tree tops and the falls. Swimming is forbidden due to unpredictably strong current and whirlpools. The visit required a special permit from regional military command one day before.

The most accessible and popular waterfalls is located 15 miles in the north of Loikaw, near Shan-Kayah border, on the road towards Se Saing and Taunggyi. The lush, green forest is surrounded by the cold, clean stream that makes several refreshing waterfalls. Here, swimming is possible. There are two caves – Aung Thabyae and Lwe Tamu on this road that can be visited.

Demoso market is situated nearly from Ngwe Taung Dam, a 25 minute drive from Loikaw City where can see the several Kayan tribes buying and selling their hand-made products of their own. Explore the way of living about local tribes in the market, opening on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

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