A visit to Taungoo
June , 2015

Taungoo is a city in central Myanmar between Yangon and Naypyitaw, 220 km away from Yangon with mountain ranges to its east and west. Forestry products, teak and other hardwoods are the main industries in Taungoo. Taungoo is also known for its areca palm trees. Taungoo Dynasty is famous in the history of Myanmar and it was the capital of Myanmar between 1510 and 1539, and from 1551 to 1552.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

n 1280, Taungoo was founded in the waning days of Bagan, the first Myanmar Kingdom. King Mingyinyo founded the First Taungoo Dynasty (1485 – 1599). Taungoo principality grew powerful under King Mingyinyo’s leadership. In order to estiblish the largest empire in the history of Southeast Asia, Mingyinyo’s successors Tabinshwehti and Bayinnaung kept on going with developments in Taungoo. But Taungoo’s stint as the Burmese capital was short-lived.

In 1539, Tabinshwehti moved the kingdom’s capital to Pegu (Bago). Tabinshwehti was crowned as king of all Burma at the ancient capital of Bagan. The geopolitical situation in Southeast Asia had changed during this difficult situation. There were lots of changes in the country as Eu- ropean traders came to Myanmar. King Tabinshwehti moved his capital to Pegu in order to promote commerce as Myanmar became an important trading centre. Through difficult situa- tions, Tabinshwehti’s campaign in Upper Burma was unsuccessful. In 1550, Tabinshwehti was assassinated.

Bayinnaung, Tabinshwehti’s brother-in-law, succeeded to throne in 1550 and he reigned 30 years. He was an energetic leader and also an effective military commander. In Southeast Asia, Taungoo became the most powerful state under the reign of King Bayinnaung. He extended his borders from Laos to Ayutthaya, near Bangkok. In 1581, King Bayinnaung delivered a final, decisive assault on the kingdom of Arakan before he died. The Taungoo rulers had to withdraw from Southern Burma because they faced many rebellion in the southern cities. They founded a second dynasty at Ava, the Nyaungyan dynasty and restored Taungoo dynasty ( 1597- 1752). The Taungoo dynasty survived for another century and a half, until the death of Mahadammayaza in 1752.

TRANSPORTATION

Taungoo can be reached by bus, car, train and boat tickets. Rail and motorways are the main transport options. Taungoo railway station sits on Yangon-Mandalay rail route. Domestic bus lines serve Taungoo Highway bus station. Taungoo Airport is served only by Myanmar National Airlines, with regular flights to Yangon, Mandalay, Naypyitaw, Loikaw, Tachilek, and Taungyi. Intra-city transport, Express Bus, serves around the Taungoo district and bus lines that serve downtown and suburban areas. Say Taman, Gandawin, Yoma, Zay Yar Shwe Pyi, Sein Myittar and Shwe Man Thu are the Express Bus Lines that go to Taungoo.

 Interesting places in Taungoo

Shwesandaw Pagoda

The religious landmark of Taungoo, Shwe- sandaw Pagoda, is situated in the centre of Taungoo to the west of the main road. The pagoda was built in 1597 as a gilded bell shape which is the traditional design of Buddhist ar- chitecture in Myanmar at that time. Buddha’s sacred hair relics was said to be enshrined in the old version of the pagoda. In reality, there are altogether four pagodas in Myanmar with the same name “Shwesandaw.” According to Myanmar Legends, the King of ancient Sri Lanka gave eight precious hairs of Lord Bud- dha to King Bayint Naung. Four strands of hair were kept by King Bayint Naung. The rest was divided equally among his four brothers, Lord of Martaban (Mottama), Lord of Pyay, Lord of Taungoo and Lord of Ava (Inwa). In 1570, the Lord of Taungoo Min Khaung constructed a stupa named Shwesandaw.

A wonderful pavilion is outstanding on the west of the stupa together with a sitting Bud- dha image that was made up from the silver and bronze. The statue is made to be equal to the one of the devout civil servant who donated it for Shwesandaw pagoda. After his death, his ashes have been placed behind the Buddha statue for a memorial to his merit. There is another pavilion nearby consists of a reclining Buddha surrounded by monastic disciplines. A transparent glass cabinet that is exhibiting religious artifacts and small statues donated by the Buddhists are placed along the wall. Shwesandaw Pagoda will be the highlight of the Taungoo journey with its distinctive historical value and religious culture.

Myasigon Pagoda

Myasigon Pagoda is famous for a huge, bronze sitting Budddha image in the pagoda. It is not as well-known as Shwesandaw Pagoda. A standing Buddha image was brought from Siam (Thailand) to this pagoda by King Bayint Naung. King Bayint Naung brought a stand- ing Buddha image from Siam to this pagoda. There are also two 19th century British cannons and two Chinese images of goddesses.

Seinye Elephant Camp

One of the interesting places in Taungoo is Seinye Elephant Camp. It is situated in deep teak forest of Bago Yoma mountain ranges. You can get there by car and it is just one hour drive from Taungoo to the gate of the forest. You will have an arduous and exciting journey of 4-5 hours. You can have a wonderful adventure when visiting Seinye Elephant Camp because you will feel the immense beauty of nature and see a variety of wildlife species and plants. The camp is home of the best teak where you can explore the scenic beauty of mountain ranges by walking tour. If you want to observe elephants working in logging oper- ations, you can visit Kyetshar Worksite that is not so far from the camp. You will know there are elephants living in close proximity to humans if you have a visit to Seinye Elephant Camp.

Pho Kyar Elephant Camp

Pho Kyar Elephant Camp (Thargaya Elephant camp), the home of the best teak and the to- pography of Bago Yoma, is situated in the Bago Mountain Range which is near Taungoo. By taking a walking tour in the villages, you can have a sense of nature around the forest. You can have a chance to study natural forest plants if you are interested in nature. You can start your Elephant Observation Program such as Elephant Show, Elephant Work Show in the forest, Elephant Ride, and the life of mahout. You can enjoy the jungle life at the Elephant Camp. There are a lot of interesting events in the techniques of finding the elephants to hear from mahouts. The Elephant Show is an amazing program with the lovely elephants walking on the square teak beam in a file.

Than Daung Kyi

To visit Thandaung, you can take a car from Taungoo and drive up the 27 miles. Thandaung is now divided into two towns, the orig- inal town on hill now known as Thandaung Myo Haung (old town) and Thandaung Myo Thit (new town) which was developed at Pathi Creek. A dam is being built around there for the use of the local agriculturalists. The new town enlarged from the former Pathi-Chaung

Village is only 13 miles from Taungoo and it is a favourite picnic spot for the people and foreign visitors also visit there. There are huge boulders at the side, the rushing waters, and the rocks are favourite spot for taking photographs. The local people are good hunters and fishermen. You are always welcome to participate in their activities.

 

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