Mon State

Mon State

Mon State is situated on the southern part of Myanmar between North Latitude 14′ 51′ and 17′ 34′, and between East Longitude 96′ 52′ and 98′ 12′. It has an area of 4,747.750 square miles. The state borders Bago Region and Kayin State on the north, Kayin State and Thailand on the east, Tanintharyi on the south, Gulf of Martaban and Andaman Sea on the west. Majority of Mons are Buddhists. They also worship traditional spirits. Two Mon trader-brothers called Taphusa and Balika obtained eight sacred Hair Relics of Gautama Buddha became Buddhist devotees. During the reign of King Siri Damma Soka, the Third Buddhist Synod was held and Buddhist literature and others were propagated.So Buddhism has reached Suvamna Bommi or Thahton state. Reverend Shin Buddha Gosa in 4th Century A.D, had copied Tripitaka Buddhist Scriptures in Sri Lanka in Mon alphabets. Mons were so pious a people that they used to set up stupas and pagodas. In lower Myanmar, Mon architecture has been seen in two famous pagodas namely Shwedagon and Bago Shwe Maw Daw. Mon State has a population of 2,337,000.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon State, Myanmar. It is a small pagoda (7.3 metres (24 ft)) built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male devotees. According to legend, the Golden Rock itself is precariously perched on a strand of the Buddha‘s hair. The balancing rock seems to defy gravity, as it perpetually appears to be on the verge of rolling down the hill. The rock and the pagoda are at the top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo. Another legend states that a Buddhist priest impressed the celestial king with his asceticism and the celestial king used his supernatural powers to carry the rock to its current place, specifically choosing the rock as the resemblance to the monks head. It is the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma after the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Pagoda. Presently, women are not allowed into the inner sanctuary of the rocks vicinity, maintained by an employed security guard who watches over the gated entrance. Women are permitted in the outer balcony and the lower courtyard of the rock.

Kyaikpawlaw Buddha Image is situated in Gangaw Ward. Kyaikhto. Mon State. About 221 years after the Parinibbana of the Buddha. Sri Lankan King Dewanampiya Teiktha in consultation with Ashin Maheinda floated four statues each enshrining a hair relic with four barges made of teak. jackfruit. thingan and rock cartwheel. Of the four. the one on jackfruit barge became Kyaikkami Mid-water Pagoda. the one on thingan barge became Shin Moktee Pagoda in Dawei. the one on the teak barge became Thihoshin Phondawpyi Phaya in Pathein. and the one on the rock cartwheel became Kyaik Paw Law Image with a live mole in Kyaikhto. Kyaik Paw Law Live-Mole Image had a mole on the right of the forehead. The image hid the wonders of its eyes blinking; its immobility despite two thousand elephants. horses and men; its floating in water in the form of a rock cartwheel; its live mole never disappearing despite repeated gilding thereon and  its face always turning to the Sri Lanka side.

Mawlamyine sit next to Kyaikhtiyo City, this is the 4th largest city of Myanmar. Previously, this city was the capital of the Mon Kingdom. And seaports Moulmein is known as the most crowded and vibrant place in the city. So far, the city is a quiet and peaceful, with lots of green trees that make the city become green and cool with some infrastructure of British colonial’s architecture. A place should not be missed that is the mosque located on the bank of Thanlwin River. The mosque was built by Indian slaves who were brought to this area mining by British colonial from decades ago. There are also a few works of the first church beside the river was still kept until now.

Kyaikthanlan Pagoda is the highest structure in Mawlamyine and stands 150 feet tall on a ridge overlooking the town centre. It can be seen for miles, especially at night where its lighted brilliance dominates the skyline. From the top of the pagoda grounds, an excellent 360 degree panoramic view of the whole of the city can be seen. From this vantage point, Mawlamyine’s British built prison strikes you immediately as you look westwards towards the Thanlwin river and the Gulf of Mottama. Out to the east, the visitor will see the Dai Wun Kwin quarter and well as the Mawlamyine train and bus terminus in the Myay Ni Gone quarter. Kyaikthanlan Pagoda was built in 875 AD and enshrines the Tripitaka Buddhist manuscripts as well as a hair relic from the Buddha. The circumference at its base is 450 feet and is surrounded by 34 smaller Zediyan pagodas.

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 in Mawlamyine after the Annexation. She and other members from 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.

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 the 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 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.

The is a two storey building dedicated to the Mon history of the region. The exhibits are displayed downstairs while reading rooms are upstairs. The modest collection of the museum includes scales with Mon inscriptions, hundred year old sculptures of wood, ceramics, thanaka grinding stones, silver betel boxes, an English language letter dated 22 December 1945 from Bogyoke Aung San to Mo Chit Hlaing, a famous Mon leader lacquerware and folding manuscripts. In front of the museum you can see a British cannon dated 1826 and a huge Myanmar gong. Most labels are in Myanmar on although some are in English.

Gaung Say Kyun meaning Head Wash Island in Myanmar. This beautiful little islet off Mawlamyine north-western end is a good picnic spot. The islet was named Head Wash Island because the yearly royal hair washing ceremony during the Inwa (Ava) period, used the water taken from a spring on the island. It was believed to be named during the 19th century. You can take a stroll around and visit the Sandawshin pagoda, a whitewash and silver pagoda enshrining hair relics of the Buddha, and a Buddhist meditation centre by the pagoda. It is famous for the hair washing ceremonies.

Bilu Island is an island of Chaungzon Township, Mon State, located west of Mawlamyine. The island is roughly the size of Singapore, and inhabited by 200,000 people. On 8 February 2015, the Mon State government began a construction project to build a 1,586 metres (5,203 ft) bridge, the Bilu Island-Thanlwin Bridge, to connect Mawlamyine’s Mupun jetty to Bilu Island’s Ka-nyaw village, the first to be constructed. Bilu Island is not connected to the national electricity grid. The people in this island depend on some interesting home industries such as black boards for schools, rubber bands, cane products, wooden pipes, pencils, pens and tobacco.

Death Railway is located in Thanbyuzayat. It was built by fascist Japan, Thailand and Burma during World War II with 415 km length of railway line. Tens of thousands of prisoners died to build this railroad, including prisons come from Australia, the Netherlands, USA, UK, and all the workers from Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia.

A cemetery called Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery which was built to commemorate 3771 died prisoners and the cemetery is under the management of Commonwealth War Graves Commission. One other monument built at the end of the railway line in the city.

Located 9 kms northeast of Thanbyuzayat. Kyaikkami was a small coastal resort and missionary center known as Amherst during the British era. The main focus of Kyaikkami is Yele Paya, a metal-roofed Buddhist shrine complex perched over the sea and reached via a long two-level causeway; the tower level is submerged during high tide. Along with 11 Buddha hair relics. the shrine chamber beneath Yele Paya reportedly contains a Buddha image that supposedly floated here on a raft from Sri Lanka in ancient times. Some legends say that Buddha in Maha Sakarit 111 around 581 BC came on sojourn to Thuwunna Bhumi and got to Kyin Maing (Kyaikkhami). the land of Yanaka. Buddha rested on the rock that would site the pagoda and gave the 20 sons of the king of Kyin Maing and mentor Kappina the hermit hair relics before he went to Thuwunna Bhumi. In Maha Sakarit 117 that was 575 BC. Hermit Kappina and ten of the princes built a pagoda enshrining the relics they got at the sacred rock cave. It has since been known as Eka Dasa. In Sakarit 237 that was 307 BC. after Parinibbana. Shin Mahainda. Arahanta Upatittha and King Devanampiyatittha sent afloat four sandalwood Buddha statues enshrining the Buddha’s relics entrusted to them. making an oath to have them get to a place where there were repositories of Buddha relics. One of them came to Eka Dasa Pagoda in Kyaikkami. Eka Dasa Pagoda is now one with five wonders midstream. The Buddha Images inside face the sea towards the south.  A notable fact is that although the shrine is located at some distance from the shore. Its basement is not engulfed even during the highest tide. Women are only allowed to worship from a pavilion removed from the shrine while men may do so from the hall facing the main image. Other attractions in Kyaikkami are the colonial administrative buildings that are nearly 100 years old.

Shwe Saryan Pagoda was built by King Thuriya Sanda. and believed to have enshrined eight hair relics of Kakusandha Buddha, the staff of Gonaguna Buddha, the emerald alms bowl of Kassapa Buddha and four tooth relics of Gautama Buddha and gold images. It was built on Thuna Pranta Hill. Gautama Buddha arrived in Thaton on the first waning moon day of Thadingyut of 105 Maha Sakarit. He was taking leave of Weluwun Monastery donated by the king after four months when the king implored Him and He gave the four tooth relics. They were enshrined in gold. silver and ruby caskets Then Buddha was implored to give a name to the pagoda whereupon Buddha was said. to name it Shwe Saryan for its longevity. It is 251 feet night. with Mya Thein Tan Pagoda or Thagya Pagoda in the east. with Shwe Chegan Pagoda on its platform. and Pitaka Taik Pagoda in the north.

In Mudon, the Largest reclining Buddha Image has been constructing at Win Sein Taw Ya Forest situated 29 km south of Mawlamyine. The largest reclining Buddha image in the world, Win Sein Taw Ya, is situated about 20 km south of Mawlamyine on the main road to Mudon. It can be clearly seen for miles as you leave Mudon for Mawlamyine on the right side of the road in amongst the hills almost directly opposite the hilltop Buddhist shrine of Kyauktalon Taung. The reclining Buddha is 180 meters in length, and 30 meters in height. The Buddha Image is named as Zinathuka Yan Aung Chantha. which has a length of 400 feet (= 180 m) and inside the image is 182 rooms in 8 storey. It has a height of 110 feet (nearly 34 m). Near to the image. 200 Standing monks collecting alms Images can be seen clearly.

Kyauktalon Taung and Yadana Taung is near  Win Sein Taw Ya, the largest reclining Buddha image in the world. Kyauktalon Taung is an interesting flat rock formation 300 feet in height with a Buddhist shrine situated on top. Although reminding you of Mt Popa in central Myanmar, the outcrop is geologically different being made of limestone rather than volcanic rock.  As you are heading south towards Mudon from Mawlamyine, Kyauktalon Taung is located on the right hand side of the road however access to the shrine appears to be quite difficult requiring a very steep climb to the top. Opposite Kyauktalon Taung is Yadana Taung and the entrance to a Hindu temple where literally hundreds of monkeys roam about freely, similar to those found at the monkey forest in Ubud, Bali. Beware, however, as the monkeys here are often hungry and if they sense that you have food on you, they’ll do whatever it takes to steal it! A hundred metres further south is the entrance to Win Sein Taw Ya.

It lies in Zotthot village. Bilin Township, Mon State. Zot Thot village is near Berlin Taungzun motor road. between Kehlata Mountain and Bilin River. The pagoda is on a hill called Mya-Oo Mountain supposed to be inhabited by ogres. The pagoda was said to have been built by ogre brothers Mani Kondala and Dewa Kondala. At first the umbrella was slanted and so it was called Hti-Saung Pagoda. Later the Sayadaw of the pagoda made a vow and put right the umbrella and since then it was called Kyaikhtihsaung Pagoda. The pagoda was built all in literate. with nothing of lime sand and cement. It was some 2600 years old. It has a height of 63 cubits. Near the pagoda are the noted Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda. Zwegabin. Zingyaik. Saketha Dhatu Kelatha. Kyaikdeyon. Kuthinayon. Mya Thabeik. Mya Theintan Zpkkali Sandawshin Pagodas.

Located 24km southeast of Mawlamyine. The famous of the town is Kyaikmaraw Pagoda. The main Buddha image sits in the position of the legs hanging down as if sitting on a chair. The name Kyaikmaraw stands for Distinctive Image. where the sitting position of the Buddha Image differs from others. Kyaikmaraw Pagoda was the temple built by Queen Shin Saw Pu in 1455 in the late Mon regional style. Queen Shin Saw Pu was a well-known Queen who devoted and donated gold to the Shwedagon Pagoda. The Pagoda festival is usually held annually during the transition of Myanmar New Year in April. It is accessible via a sealed road. Many Muslim and Hindu communities live along the picturesque road. The temple is famous for the Buddha, which is sitting in the “western manner.” The temple is also well known for its hundreds of beautiful glazed tiles. There are limestone caves with stalactites and stalagmites in the vicinity of Kyaikmaraw town and mineral springs in nearby Yebu (Hot Water) village.

Zin Kyaik Waterfall is located near the main road and rail line of Yangon – Dawei, near by Zin Kyaik Village. It is a panoramic and a pleasant place as a picnic spot.

Setse is a beach resort on the Gulf of Martaban of the Andaman Sea in Thanbyuzayat Township, of Mon State, in southern Myanmar. The beach itself is composed of brown sand, is quite wide and about 5.6 kilometers long, but the water is often muddy when currents bring down silt from the Salween river which enters the Gulf of Martaban just to the north. Setse has been a resort since the 19th century, and still remains popular. 

The Farm Caves in the Moulmein area have been well known since colonial times and the main temple cave is frequently visited by locals. The caves are in Kayon hill. The temple cave is known as Farm Cave, and also Kayon (Payon), and was previously called Nyown-beng-zeite. Saddan Cave is a much bigger cave in the same hill.

Kalegauk Island is an island in Ye Township, Mon State, Burma (Myanmar). It is located in the Andaman Sea, 8.25 kilometres (5.13 mi) from the coast of Mon State. The island has a long shape with a length of over 10 km (6 mi) and a width of 1.6 km (1.0 mi) in its widest area. In its northern part rises a 159 metres (522 ft) high summit. Kalegauk Island is located 35 kilometres (22 mi) to the NNW of the mouth of the Ye River.

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