Pyay and around
Pyay was formerly known as Prome, located on the Ayeyarwady River and is 160 miles northwest of Yangon travelling along a well-maintained highway by car. The name “Pyi” means “country” in Burmese, and refers to the ruins of the Pyu Capital of Sri Ksetra (Thaye-khittra), which is located 5 miles to the southest of modern Pyay and is in the village of Hmawa. 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.
Places to see
• Shwesandaw Pagoda
• Sehtetgyi Pagoda (The gigantic sitting Buddha image)
• Baw Baw Gyi Pagoda
• Be Be Gyi Paya
• Payama Pagoda
• Payagyi (The Great Stupa)
• Laymyethnar Temple
• AsheyZeyGu Pagoda
• Phaya Htaung Pagoda
• Mingyi Hill
The Shwe San Daw Pagoda is located on a hillock and the landmark of Pyay. Shwe San Daw means the Golden Hair Relics. It is situated on the eastern bank of Ayeyarwaddy river and Myanmar’s most venerated structure stands here.
It was built by two merchant brothers Azzika and Phanllika with the help of King of the Dagons Etrapatha, King of the Ogres Sambhu and King of Devas Sakka on the Sudassanan Hill in Tabaung(Pisees) in 589 B.C. Enshrined within the pagoda are four strands of sacred hair as well as eight other relies of Gautama Buddha. The pagoda was rebuilt to assume the present shape and size by King Duttabaung, who founded Srikshetra in the Sasana of 126.
Sehtetgyi Pagoda (The gigantic sitting Buddha image)
Sehtatgyi means ‘Big Ten-storey Buddha’ for its height. It is situated near the famous Shwesandaw Pagoda at Pyay. It is a colossal seated Buddha Image and most proportionate. From the Shwesandaw Pagoda you can look across to the image eye-to-eye.
Baw Baw Gyi Pagoda
The cylinder-shaped Bawbawgyi Pagoda is one of the earliest Pagodas in the history of ancient edifices in Myanmar. Built in the early part of the Thayekhittaya Pyu period, approximately AD 5th Century, this Pagoda is known to be the earliest in the region. No stone inscription of its history has been excavated yet. It measures (153) feet in height. According to the oral tradition and old chronicles, the pagoda was built by King Duttabaung. Architectural design of the Pagoda is earlier than the work of Bagan period.
Be Be Gyi Pagoda
This Pagoda is one of the ancient pagodas in Pyay. A cube-shaped Pagoda with a cylindrical top and inside is a statue of the Buddha with his two great disciples, each on either side. Below stone statue are some inscriptions believed to be ancient Pyu letters. According to its architecture and that of the inscriptions, it was probably built in A.D.10th Century. Its donor is still unknown. This temple is prototype of Bagan architecture.
Phayama Pagoda known as Therinemar Pagoda was one of the nine Pyu Pagodas built by King Duttabaung. It enshrines the finder and toe nails and collar bones relics of the Buddha. It is an earliest type pagoda of 5th century AD in Myanmar. Payama pagoda is contemporary of Payagyi pagoda to which it is similar in design.
Payagyi (The Great Stupa)
It is now located just outside the city-wall to the north-west of Therakhittra ancient city, datable to the later phase of 6-7 century A.D, as the oldest stupa of the vicinity.
Laymyethnar Pagoda is very rare existing monuments in cave-liked pagoda built in Thayaykhittaya Pyu Period. The pagoda stands on a square house with four arched entrances. On the square house, there are three low terraces with curvilinear roofs all conjuring inward.
Inside the cave stands the central pillar. On four sides of this pillar are stone slabs on which are sculpted relief figures of the Buddha. Now only two slabs of the north and south side are survived.
AsheyZeyGu Pagoda, facing the east, is one of the unique temples of the ThayaykhittayaPyu Period. This is the evidence of significant constructive technique in niches and plaster moldings which resembled the ancient Pyu technique. It also shows the arch making with wedges. More artistic decorations are found at this pagoda than at any other monument of this period. It is a prototype of early Bagan architecture.
Phaya Htaung Pagoda is one of the pagodas built in Thayaykhittaya Pyu Period. The pagoda stands on a Kala Kyaung house like some pagodas in Bagan. Each side of the house is measures 38 feet (12m) in length and 8 feet (2m) in height. The pagoda had four entrances on each side before but now they are all blocked with bricks. It is learnt that the pagoda was repaired and renovated over 70 years ago. The pagoda has been in the care of Archaeology Department since 1985.
It is the best place to take photos on newly built Nawaday Bridge, Ayerwaddy River, Po U hill on the opposite bank and enjoy the sun-set. The Buddha- images and other statues; just like, the hermit, Baidaryi and disciples, reflect themselves in very modern.
Other Places around Pyay
• Ahkauk Taung
• Shwe Myatman Paya
• Shwe Nat Taung Pagoda
• Shwe Bonthar Muni
• Pho U Taung
• Thayekhittaya Ancient City
• Thayekhittaya (Srikshetra) Museum at Hmawza
• Hanlin Ancient City
• Beikthano Pyu City
Akauk Taung Mountain still stands on the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River to the north of Pyay in Bago Region. It takes 15 minutes by boat sailing along the Ayeyarwaddy River to reach the Akauk Taung. Tourist can take remarkable photographs only from the boat which is in the middle of Ayeyarwaddy River. The Buddha images are entirely engraved in relief on the natural rock. These Buddha-images could be seen within a range of 30-50 feet above the sea-level.
Shwe Myatman Paya
Shwe Myatman Stupa is situated in Shwe Daung,about 14km sout of Pyay. Shwe Myatman Stupa means ‘Stupa 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.
Shwe Nat Taung Pagoda
Shwe-Nat-Taung Pagoda 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).
Shwe Bonthar Muni
Shwe Bonthar Muni pagoda is situated at Pan Daung near Pyay. According to legend, the Shwe Bonthar Muni Buddha Image was one of the three replicas of the Maha Myat Muni Buddha Image, which was believed to have been about 554 BCE during the reign of King Sandar Thuriya.
Pho U Taung
It is laid on the west bank of Ayerwaddy River and just across Pyay. Po U Taung itself is really peacefully and covered with shady trees, including of mustard apples.
Thayekhittaya Ancient City
It is laid some five miles to east of modern Pyay and Hmawza village is now standing at the centre of that ancient city. There is no doubt to the fine-arts of Pyus bestowed upon the remains and excavation findings, indicated the excellent arts and skillful works of Pyu’s architecture, silver smithery, gold-smithery, bronze smithery, glass industry and so on.
Thayekhittaya (Srikshetra) Museum at Hmawza
Thayekhittaya Museum is consisted of three halls, and of one storey building in the shape of English alpha “U”, many interesting objects will narrat the grand culture of Pyu about 2000 years ago, if someone gets to drop in the Thayekhittaya Museum at Hmawza village of Pyay.
Hanlin Ancient City
Halin is one of the World Heritage City in Myanmar. Hanlin, a civilized ancient Pyu city from 2nd BC to 9th BC. It is situated in the Watlet Township, Shwebo District, Sagaing Division. It Lies about 11 miles south-east of Shwebo. Hanlin, excavated in Years 1904, 1929-30 and 1962-67, had a rectangular city wall in brick of 3 by 1.5 km with a palace site at the center. At Hanlin, there are number of mounds excavated – 33, City walls and gateways, Religious monuments, Residential buildings, Ritual monuments, Structure of reservoir. There is a group of villages with numerous small modern pagodas to the south of the old city.
Beikthano Pyu City
Beikthano Pyu City is located 19 km northwest of Taungdwingyi Township, Magway Region and 32 km from the east bank of Ayeyarwaddy River. It is one of the world’s Heritage City. Archaeological research at Beikthano began in the early years of 20th century. The Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library conducted the excavation of Beikthano ancient city in 1959 to 2008 through limited to 59 selected sites. For tourists and visitors who are interested in history and archaeology, Beikthano is one of the best examples of early Pyu civilization and well worth visiting.