Journey to the North 2009 November Day-5 28-Nov Tagaung

narrator at Tagaung entrance


I am now beginning this part ahead of the sequence which was still in Day-2, up to the Nalan Kha falls in my original mails, and Day-1, MyitHsone in the blogpost that I am creating, thanks to Ko Ko, who advised me to create a blog for my travels.

I jumped to this portion as a result of Ko Nyo Win Htun, who gave me advice on the travel modes from Myitkyina to Mandalay and back to Yangon, and who, having returned from his leave, asked me about my trip. As I told him about the trip, as I had done to several friends earlier, it was about Tagaung that we talked about much more than in my earlier talks. Ko NWH mentioned that I had reached the Tagaung, the origin of Myanmars, which one school of thought promotes “Myanmar AhSa. Tagaung Ga.”

I remarked that if one has to go earlier in the history of Myanmars, one has to go to northern India, as the Tagaung dynasties came from there.

As you all know, there are 2 school of thoughts regarding the origin of Myanmars:

Myanmar AhSa. Tagaung Ga.


Myanmar AhSa. Kyaukse Ga.

Both of them have their followers and as far as I know, there is no definite decision yet as to which is the correct one.

However, although I am neither a historian, nor an academician regarding archeology and human migration in Myanmar prehistory, I have my personal view that both are partly correct.

I have read as much as possible about Myanmar pre and early history from books:

  • U Ba Than’s “KyaungThone YarZaWin”, from which I was taught history during my 6th Standard, and which I had the opportunity to read again thanks to the SLORC, which reprinted it and the following
  • HmanNann YarZaWin republished at the same time
  • Dr. Than Tun (deceased), Professor and Head, Department of History, Mandalay University (many books published and available in the market)
  • History of Burma by G.H. Luce, Professor, Department of History, Rangon University

and articles from the internet written by

  • Bob Hudson, Archeology Department, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Elizabeth Moore
  • Pamela Gutman
  • Janice Stagardt


Pyu and prePyu civilizations of Myanmar, namely the Bronze age civilizations discovered earlier, the Nyaungkan, Myin-U Hle, Hnawkan and Kukkohla cultures in the Chindwin and Samon basins and the recently discovered sites in Ywagongyi village in Thazi township and Kanthitgon village in the same Thazi township giving evidence of the existence of Bronze Age civilizations in Myanmar.

their discussion about what is mentioned in the traditional Myanmar history and the facts obtained from archeology

their discussion about:

Pre-urban Upper Myanmar, c. 1500-500 BC.

The Samon Valley, c. 500 BC to AD 200.

Pre-Pyu Halin.

Pyu city states

including reference to the Rakhine history which is closely related to Bamar history from the time of KanRajaGyee who finally settled in the 3rd Dhanyawaddy, present day Rakhine, in 580 B.C.,  whereas KanRajaNge reigned over Tagaung after having won a contest to build a ManDat within a night

I must repeat that I am neither a historian nor an expert on archeology and human migration, but only an amateur hobbyist regarding human evolution, migration, prehistory and early history.

It is of my view that:

both schools of thoughts regarding the origin of Myanmars:

Myanmar AhSa. Tagaung Ga.


Myanmar AhSa. Kyaukse Ga.

are partly correct

the first city state to develop in Myanmar is Tagaung, where 1st Tagaung was established by AbiYarzar who came from India. Succeeded by younger son KanYarzarNge. KanYarzarGyi went to KaleTaunNyo and stayed for 6 mths. During the period Pyus, Kanyans asked for king and his son Dusetta was installed in ThunarParanta. KanYarzarGyi moved to Rakhine.

During 33rd king Beindaka’s rule, chinese invaded and destroyed 1st Tagaung. Beindaka retreated to MaLe chaung and died there

2nd Tagaung. Built during Buddha’s time by DazaYarzar who came from India. Married Nargasein queen of last king Beindaka (as they both were of TharKiWin blood)

it was the ruling clan from northern India who established Tagaung the 1st city state in Myanmar and ruled over the local Bamars

Bamars have lived in central Myanmar since the early Stone age (not entered the present Myanmar near Kyaukse only in the 9th century from current China across the Shan States trying to escape from the Nanchaos, as in the second school of thought)

That is why I mentioned that if one wants to go further back to the origins of Myanmars, one has to go to northern India where Ahbiyarzar and Dazayarzar, the ruling class of the first city state came from.

Or as I failed to mention to ko nwh, to the original KhaYaings where Bamars lived since early stone age and where they were concentrated in pre and early Bagan times: the LeTwinn Koe KhaYaing and the KhaYaings on the other bank of the AyeYarWaddy, the heartland of the original Bamars.

I will now continue with my narrative about my visit to Tagaung

As I had mentioned in my mail sent prior to the Journey to the North, Day-1, I had unexpected findings while at Tagaung. Before we got there, I had expected to see only the remains of part of the city wall and the ShweSiGone pagoda about which I had read and Pyone had said frequently there will only be old bricks and what is the use of going to Tagaung several times. But I insisted on going to Tagaung, and even told Pyone that she could fly back home from Myitkyina if she does not want to visit the Tagaung as we had no chance of experiencing all 3 MyitKyinns. I had a supporter in aung ko oo, who is also interested in history and the ancient sites we visited together: namely, in order we visited, Ava (InnWa), Bagan, Beikthano, ThaRayKhitTaYar, Dhanyawaddy, Waytharli and Mrauk-U.

We got off the bus at 01:30 on Day-5, 28-Dec at the junction to Tagaung. Tagaung is 2 miles away and cycle-carrys crowded on us trying to get customer. But I insisted on getting a tricycle as it will be difficult to go on motorcycle with our luggage. They wanted order and said that the price will be the same, 1500 per person, either motorcycle or tricycle. They called out the tricycle taximan and we loaded it and went off. Starting the tricycle was a strange way. The taximan pushed the tricycle down the slope (the way back towards Bhamo) and then push-started it with gear engaged (released clutch). It was only after a long time (it seemed to me) of sputtering (during which I gave up hope of the tricycle engine starting and thinking that we would have to return on foot to the toll gate where we got off to get motorcycle) that it finally started and on we went further and then turned left. There was no houses to be seen in the moonlight of the 12th waxing night of Nataw and it was very very cold with the wind on us.

The tricycle was stopped in the middle of nowhere and the taximan got down and looked around his tricycle. I asked him what the problem was and he replied that the front tyre had low air. I was worried as it will be impossible now to get motorcycles. However, he got on and on we went again and finally we got to human habitation. He dropped us at a TaeKhoKhann and had to call out for the manager for some time.

The manager came out and by the time we checked in, it was nearly 02:00. There was no light of course and no lights or candles provided. We had 2 flash lights, candles and lighter so there was no problem. After washing and toilet, we dropped into a slumber after a tiring bus ride from Bhamo.

I woke up at dawn and found that the lighter was out of order. There was only a torch with me at the time. The other was with ako.

When light came, we had KaukHnyinPaung and fries for breakfast.

I talked with a side-car man who was waiting for his customer about sightseeing in Tagaung. Later, the manager told him that his customer, a soldier, had already left on foot to the bus gate. I then hired him and told him to get another side-car for our sightseeing.

We were taken to the Nandawyar first. There are 2 Tagaungs. Actually 3 Tagaungs. 2 old Tagaungs and the current Tagaung which covers both old Tagaungs.


Map of Tagaung and AhNyar Bagan aka Bagan era Tagaung

The old Tagaungs are Pyu Tagaung and Bagan era Tagaung also known as AhNyar Bagan and they have different city walls and are separate. The Nandawyar as it is being called nowadays is actually the Pyu Tagaung, with most of it now in the Ayeyarwaddy, being eroded over the years.


Changing course of the Ayeyarwaddy at Tagaung

Even the course of the Ayeyarwaddy had changed. It pass the Tagaung on the east side in the past and now passes to the west of Tagaung. The change had occurred beyond the memory of the local people (it must have happened within the past 2500 years as Tagaung was first built before 580 B.C.) but there was documentation of the Ayeyarwaddy flowing on the east of Tagaung and there are still Inns, evidence of past riverbed on the east of Tagaung, but I did not have the time to visit them. It would be ideal to stay 2 nights in Tagaung to have a more complete tour.


MyaukYinSunTan / OtTaRa YinSunTan post

This is where the tropical Myanmar ends and temperate Myanmar begins.

The Pyu Tagaung is in the temperate zone whereas the AhNyar Bagan in the tropics. The entrance of Tagaung can be seen in the rear.


ako at entrance of the Tagaung

The wall of the entance of the Tagaung is still intact to my surprise. It would be over 2500 years old BP

It was only after taking this photo that I noticed the other side of the incurving wall on the opposite side of the road. The road enters the Tagaung gate as in the old times. This curved entrance wall is characteristic of the times and can be seen in Beikthano and Dhnyawaddy.


narrator at Tagaung entrance

see both incurving walls at the entrance

the right one seen in 0273 is now in the shadows

and the left wall can be seen clearly in the sunlight spot


Pauk Kyaing pagoda

This is one of the surprises I met at Tagaung. The Pauk Kyaing pagoda. In front of the NatNanns

Although I know about the story of Maung Pauk Kyaing, I never expected to see this stupa. I felt as if I got through the time machine and meet them. Visions of what I heard about since I was young reeled before me, as if I were seeing a movie or in life.

May Par Myarr.. SaGarr Ya.

Twarr Par Myarr.. KhaYee Yauk.

MaEik MaNay.. AhThet Shay..

and many more which I do not remember well

but including the “ChitTae.Thu HsaHtoe”

Tagaung looking for a new king to take over, with the Queen having a NaGarr for a lover

All would be Kings dead the night before coronation by unexplained means.

Maung Pauk Kyaing placing a bananna stem under a blanket waiting under covers with a knife

The Nagarr coming in during the night

looking at the long man like shape on the ThaLun

striking with its ??

and getting stuck in the bananna stem

Pauk Kyaing killing it before it could get free

Coronation of Pauk Kyaing

The Queen making a hairpin from the bone of the NaGarr

making a puzzle from the HsaDoe

Pauk Kyaing hearing what the male crow told the female crow.


It has been like a legend. But having been in Tagaung, I feel it might be true to a certain state, if not all, like all legendary histories of all people, such as King Aurthur’s sword, and the legendary Xia dynasty of China, now proven by recent archeological findings.

Xia Dynasty (ca. 2,100-ca. 1,600 BCE)

Although there is disagreement regarding the actual existence of the dynasty, there is some archaeological evidence pointing to its possible existence. The historian Sima Qian (145 BCE-90 BCE), who wrote the Shiji or Records of the Grand Historian and the so-called Bamboo Annals date the founding of the Xia Dynasty to 4,200 years ago, but this date has not been corroborated. Most archaeologists now connect the Xia to excavations at Erlitou in central Henan province,[15] where a bronze smelter from around 2000 BCE was unearthed. Early markings from this period found on pottery and shells are thought to be ancestors of modern Chinese characters.[16] With few clear records matching the Shang oracle bones or the Zhou bronze vessel writings, the Xia era remains poorly understood.

I have seen the Pauk Kyaing pagoda standing there, giving testimony to the reality of existence of King Pauk Kyaing. We might find more archeological findings regarding the King.

It was around the 1970s that the members of the Department of Archeology wrote that there were no preBagan findings in Tagaung. Now many PreBagan, Pyu artifacts have been found. I strongly believe we will find more in the future.


The PaBe Maung Tint Tae Maung HnaMa. Nat Nann

This is another surprise for me.

I have heard of PaBe Maung Tint Tae since young. The blacksmith Tint Tae became strong and his fame spread far and wide. The king became fearful and made his sister a queen. Then he called Tint Tae to the Naypyitaw and burnt him at the foot of a certain tree. The queen also leapt into the fire and was also killed. Both bodies were thrown into the Ayeyarwaddy and drifted downriver till they reach Bagan where they became stuck on shore. They became Nats, two of the 37 Nats, gurarding the houses of all.

They are of later era than Pauk Kyaing, but their influence on our people and culture still exists in nearly every home.



Main NatNann near the PaBe Maung Tint Tae Maung HnaMa. Nat Nann



King U Aung Zeya’s AungMyay pagoda

This is also another surprise.

King U Aung Zeya’s ZiNa. Aung Char ShweBonThar  AungMyay pagoda

just beside the Pauk Kyaing pagoda

and in front of the Nat Nanns

I was taking photos and late getting there

As I was paying homage, a lady passerby said that if one circles the pagoda 7 times in a right turn and prays, his prayers will come true. LetYarYit Khu.Nit Pat Pat Pyee Hsu. Taung Yin..

Hsu. Taung.. Pyae. Dae..

so all three of us circled the pagoda in a LetYarYit 7 times and prayed separately. I prayed for happiness, as I usually do.


Statute in King U Aung Zeya’s AungMyay pagoda


The Tagaung Shwe SiKhone pagoda -445 BC (before damage)

The Bagan era Shwe SiKhine pagoda ?-445 BC, was damaged in 1987 and only the base remains.


The Tagaung Shwe SiKhone pagoda -445 BC (remains)

The Bagan era Shwe SiKhine pagoda ?-445 BC, was damaged in 1987 and only the base remains.


The remains of the AhNyar ShweSiGone


Tagaung Shwe SiKhone pagoda and the LaeMyetHna pagoda hill with the Buddha images


Buddha images excavated from the hill where the LeyMyetHna pagoda once stood.





Excavation of the LayMyetHna pagoda hill from which the Big Buddhas were excavated


AhNyar Bagan wall

close up view of the wall of AhNyar Bagan


Tagaung museum

Although we got there at 09:00 and the notice mentioned that it opens at 9 a.m., we were told that it opens only at 09:30 and that the staff lives in the village, not nearby. As the boat was expected at 10:00, we could not wait till it opens and had to return to the TaeKho Khann to repack for leaving Tagaung.

We saw pillar remains in front of the museum, being surrounded and protected with concrete


Tagaung museum zoom view


Wall remains near Tagaung museum


These remains of brick pillars (protected in concrete) means that there must have been a large building here, with the wall nearby.


Lunch at Tagaung jetty shop

Having lunch at riverside shop while waiting for the ShutPyay which should have arrived on 10:00 but arrived soon after 11:00.

Had we known of the lateness and the exact time of arrival, we would have gone back to the museum to have a look.


Life is full of surprises and nothing comes out as planned.

I had a talk with a Tagaung native on the ShutPyay later and asked him about the Tagaung museum. He said that he had been inside only once and did not go anymore as they collect entrance fees and there is nothing he has not seen before. But there might be things which I have not seen before and missed because of the lateness of the curators opening the museum and the unannounced lateness of the ShutPyay.


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One Response to “Journey to the North 2009 November Day-5 28-Nov Tagaung”

  1. ayemgmgaung Says:


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