AhKaukTaung

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I first came across the AhKaukTaung အေကာက္ေတာင္ towards the end of my work with the Road to Mandalay when we cruised down Ayeyarwaddy from Mandalay to Yangon for the final trip of the season in 1997 May. After a night stop at Pyay, we cruised down near the AhKaukTaung and the view of the rock wall Buddha carvings was one of the highlights of the trip. I have always wanted to visit the AhKaukTaung since then and finally made it recently on 18-July 2010. Although it is only a short distance from HtoneBo, just 30 – 45 min walk, about 2 miles and visible from HtoneBo, it lies in KyanKhinn township, at the northernmost part of the Ayeyarwaddy division on the border with the Bago division, with a bridge (and ? stream / chaung) separating it from the Bago division and HtoneBo.

There are 2 ways of going there: by road from Pyay to HtoneBo and then take a boat (better as you can witness the Buddha rock carvings from the boat) or go ahead as far as one can go by road and walk the remaining distance (you will miss the river view of the rock wall Buddha sculptures), or go to AhKaukTaung and back from Pyay by boat (the trip will take well over half a day; even driving from Pyay to HtoneBo took 2.5 hours as the road is not good).

There is no record as to who and when the Buddha images were carved onto the stone walls

The local theory (as told by the AhKaukTaung Sayardaw) is that as there are whrilpools and the current is strong, the boats would have stopped there in the distant past and that those among the crew carved the Buddha images over the time.

There was a revenue station nearby during the British times (not during the reign of Burmese kings) with remains of the revenue collection out-post / BoTae Pyet ဘိုတဲပ်က္ and therefore the hill has been called AhKauk Taung အေကာက္ေတာင္.

my friend ko Aung Cho Naung wrote to me after viewing this blog:

Sayar Nyi,
I feel very nice to see the photos and thanks for that. I really recalled our trips to a village called “Thaut Kyar Du ေသာက္ၾကာဒူး” which passed through that Ahkataung since we were young. But I had never seen those Buddha sculptures scene like with greens in your photos due we went there in summer holidays to visit relatives in Thaut Kyar Du village. Sometimes, we went there to Ahkataung farms mostly are dry in summer. I remember another very small village was called “U Lu Pu Kone ဦး လူပုကုန္း” that was very enjoyable with toddy and village traditional food we had there. The daily breakfast there in ေသာက္ၾကာဒူး was very memorable with very fresh fried beans and cold old rice “ႏွမ္းဆီနဲ႕ ေၾကာ္ထားတဲ့ ကုလားပဲလုံးေၾကာ္ နဲ႕ ထမင္းၾကမ္း နဲ႕ ေရေႏြး ၾကမ္း”
Whoooooo!!!! could not replace with 5 stars food from restaurants sometimes.
Best regards,

ACN

This brought to me idea to post the earlier correspondence between a newly found FB friend and myself:

all, after reading ko ANC’s message, I want to share it with you, together with earlier correspondence with another newly acquired FB friend, Dr. Than Hla: have reproduced it below ko ACN’s mail
these are what life is worth living for
a break in our monotonous rat-race

Than Hla

Hello DR Nyi Win, if you ever travel to west bank of Ayerwaddy again, and if you have a chance to travel in Min Done Township, please visit Taing Tar village. There you will find a rest house ( Bo tae ) probably built since British colonial times.The rest house looks very strong like a small fortress, I slept one night in it, hope it is still … See Morethere. There are also three tombs at the other end of the village, one of a Tatmadaw officer and two of British colonial soldiers. The graves were well kept and undisturbed when I found in 1975.

Thanks AhKoGyi, I will if I ever get there. MinDone is near Mann oil field where I work, but I cannot go there while on duty. I will one day visit ShweSetTaw again and it will be a good time to visit MinDone to visit Taing Tar village. I am very much interested in such things and am indebted to you for your information.

When I was in Myitkyina and visited the NaLanKha falls near Sidone, I tried to visit the British fort on the Sidone hill, but we had to ask permission from the army at the new Sidone, which we finally got, and after about 45 minutes walk and climb, we got there late after sunset and the army outpost was closed and did not return our calls to them.

We looked around but apart from a cemetry of Myanmar army we did not find the British fort and realized that it must have been inside the army post at the hill top.

Than Hla

During my time in Min don, Taing Tar village was about a day’s walk from Min don, hope some means of transport has developed over the years. Back then I have to walk along the jungle and river banks, and have to sleep one night in Taing tar village before I can return to Min don the next day. That was how I end up sleeping in that BO Tae. Taing tar village was situated on the bank of a medium size stream. There was a rather flat area about the size of three or four foot ball fields on the other side of the stream. according to the villagers that was the original Taing tar myo during the myanmar kings administration.I supposed it was ruled by Taing tar Min Gyi. At the entrance to the Taing tar village there was a spirit warship building, which was as large as a small house. According to the villagers, on some full moon days, a group of white horses were seen galloping back and forth between the Taing tar myo haung and the spirit worship building of the taing tar village.

Than Hla

By the way there was also a place near Taing tar village where Bo Ywe ambush the british colonial army. I think Taing tar is full of history.

I am really happy having a chance to talk about an interesting small village in Magwe Division.

Thanks

AhKo Gyi, thanks for all the information as they interest me very much.

On the highway between TaungTwinGyi and Magway, north of the ThitYarKauk (there is now a KoePin – ThitYarKauk, TaungTwinGyi bypass road), and further north of the MiChaungYae road, there is a small road with a signpost “MyinKhoneTaing / ျမင္းခုံတိုင္ _ _ miles”.

I also got to the village of Malae / မလယ္ on the boat trip from Tagaung to Mandalay at the beginning / north end of the 3rd Ayeyarwaddy defile, across which is the SanPae NaGo village. I felt eerie when I come across places which are familiar from my knowledge of history.

Than Hla July 23 at 1:14pm

I know Min Don quite well because I served at that area as a conscript Medical Officer in that area for about one year.
I am retired now

I was a National service Army medical officer, I served for three years as required and returned to the civil service. Actually I could continue as a captain at the end of the national service, but decided not to. my short term service in the army was not bad at all,I learned new things, came to know new friends and also been to many places. I spent quite a few months in Min Don area because the strategist command I am attached , was stationed there for some time. that was how I came to know the place quite well. Some times if we were away from Min Don,I and an infantry officer who was my close friend have to walk about 10 miles back to Min don to have a cup of coffee and relax a bit at a coffee shop. As you know Min Don it self was a small town, you can imagine the quality of the coffee shop.

Than Hla July 23 at 10:51pm

The lesson I learn was be happy with what you have ,but be innovative and creative and productive, try to help your self with what ever small opportunity you can get, then you will never be depressed.

Than Hla July 24 at 2:10pm

What I told you was my real experience. I just like to read what you write and some times exchange some experience. I gave up being a Doctor, because I want to do anything I like to do, something like visiting places of interest in Myanmar. See some old friends. By the way just between you and me, I got upset with many people writing about the houses roads and big buildings in Singapore US Uk Aussi and so on, why can’t they some time write about human experience. So keep up the good work you are doing. I am now living in Yangon, but no need to walk 10 miles for a cup of coffee anymore.

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