Earliest Pyu settlements and the ancient India China trade route through Myanmar

Tagaung has always been considered as the first Pyu city state (Myanmar began with Tagaung ျမန္မာ အစ တေကာင္းက) according to Myanmar chronicles but the evidence of pre Bagan artifacts were only discovered not long ago.

Lae Kaing လယ္ကိုင္း in Minbu မင္းဘူး – SaKu စကု township / ThunarParanta Taing သုနာပရ ႏၲ တိုင္း  has been mentioned in Myanmar chronicles to be in existence even earlier than Tagaung which was established first by AhBi Yarzar အဘိရာဇာ in the 15th century B.C. Pyu king Thambula of ThunarParanta / Lae Kaing was taken away by Dhanyawaddy army and there was no one to ascend the throne and rule at the time KanYarzarGyi ကံရာဇာၾကီး son of AhBi Yarzar arrived at the area.

Pyu artifacts have been found in Mann oil field near Minbu and recently a gold Pyu bracelet was found in Lae Kaing.

On 8-May 2012, a gold bracelet of Pyu era was found at Khin Kone village, (2 miles northwest of) Let Khote Pin village tract, Minbu – SaKu township. The place is near Lae Kaing, where Kyaung Taw Yar ေက်ာင္းေတာ္ရာ is situated. Kyaung Taw Yar was where Buddha stayed during His visit to the area and it is not far from the Shwe Set Taw ေရႊစက္ေတာ္ where Buddha left 2 foot imprints.


KanYarzarGyi was the elder son of king AhBi Yarzar who arrived from Mizzimadesh in northern India and established the kingdom of Tagaung on the banks of the upper Ayeyarwaddy. It was in the 15th century B.C., long before the time of Buddha (6th century B.C.). After AhBi Yarzar passed away without having a crown prince named, his 2 sons KanYarzarGyi and KanYarzarNge both wanted the throne and were about to wage war. To settle the problem peacefully, the ministers intervened and held a contest to decide who will be king. The princes had to build a Man-dat / temporary hall within a day. KanYarzarGyi built it with wood while KanYarzarNge built it with bamboo. KanYarzarNge finished first and won the kingdom of Tagaung.

KanYarzarGyi and his entourage left Tagaung down the Ayeyarwaddy and went to Kale Taung Nyo where he stayed for 6 months before moving on to Kyauk Padaung (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan river) and finally to Dhanyawaddy in 1483 BC.. During his stay in Kale Taung Nyo, the Pyu from ThunarParanta / Lae Kaing requested him to ascend their throne but he only had his son Dusetta rule there while he went to better established places.

All these migrations occurred along the ancient trade routes between India and China across Myanmar which was from Mizzimadesh_ the area that include Kapilavastu in Nepal and Rajgir, Gaya, Banares and Kosala of India_ to the Chinese capital at the time at Xi An, formerly Chang’an.

The route was along the Ganges and up the Bhramaputra river (an eastern tributary of the Ganges), through the Hukawn pass to reach either the Chindwin or the upper Ayeyarwaddy, and then up the Tarpein river (which entered the Ayeyarwaddy near Bhamo) to reach Dali Yunnan, and then onwards to Xi An. There are several possible routes within Myanmar.

The one used in preference during the time of AhBi Yarzar would pass directly to the upper Ayeyarwaddy through present day Tanaing and Myitkyina or down the Chindwin and up the upper Ayeyarwaddy. AhBi Yarzar established his kingdom at Tagaung on the upper Ayeyarwaddy below where Tarpein River joined the Ayeyarwaddy.

Another earlier route from Mizzimadesh is along the Kispanadi / Kaladan river through Kyauk Padaung near Paletwa and Dhanyawaddy near Kyauktaw in Rakhine and across the Ann pass to reach the Ayeyarwaddy near Lae Kaing in Minbu – SaKu township.

There is also a coastal trade route from eastern coast of India to reach Dhanyawaddy near Kyauktaw (and later to Mrauk U) in Rakhine.

Lae Kaing in Minbu – SaKu township seems to be the one of the earliest Pyu settlements in Myanmar even earlier than Tagaung and it existed along the ancient India China trade route.

Kale Taung Nyo on the Chindwin was also a well established place on the trade route by the time of KanYarzarGyi.

Similarly, Kyauk Padaung (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan) and Dhanyawaddy (Marayu an Indian prince, came down the Kaladan river and established the first city of Dhanyawaddy on the east bank of the Kaladan and began to rule Rakhine from 3325 BC) were also well in existence by the time.

All the Arakan Chronicles mention the coming to Arakan of Indo-Aryan peoples from the Ganges valley and the founding of the cities of Dhanyawaddy and Vesali by their kings. The Indian chiefs who came over probably ruled over the the native population, gradually impressing on them their culture and religion.

A group led by Marayu an Indian prince, came down the Kaladan river and subdued the savages. He then established the first city of Dhanyawaddy on the east bank of the Kaladan and began to rule Rakhine from 3325 BC. The dynasty set up by Marayu kept the throne till 1059 BC. During this period there were 3 instances of disposition with 7 rulers outside the dynasty ruling for 23 years. In Arakanese chronicles, Dhanyawaddy existed 3325 BC – 788 AD. But Shitethaung temple Anandacandra inscription dated the founding of Vesali to 350 / 370 AD. So Dhanyawaddy existed until 350 or 370 AD.

In 1531 BC, another migratory wave from Kamarupa (Assam) under Kammaraja came and settled at Kyauk-Badaung (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan). 24 years later the king came downstream and set up the second city of Dhnyawaddy in 1483 BC.

1st Tagaung 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.

Dusetta, son of Kanyarzargyi, ruled ThuNarParanta (LeKaing-SaKu) after Pyu king Thambula was taken away by Dhanyawaddy army.

Kyauk Padaung 1507-1483 B.C. Kanyarzargyi from Tagaung settled and married 2 daughters of last Rakhine Queen. 4300 ft above sea level, 14 m E of Paletwa (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan). 24 years later the king came downstream and set up the second city of Dhnyawaddy in 1483 BC.

Then came Kanrazagri and his twenty eight kingly descendents. He founded the second city of Dhanyawadi.

the second Dynyawaddy (1483-580 B.C.) by King Kanrazagree;

2nd Dhanyawaddy 1483-580 B.C. KanYarzarGyi moved to old site of Dhanyawaddy. 28 kings 927 yrs

During 33rd king Beindaka‘s rule (Buddha’s time), Chinese / Tayoke 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 of 1st Tagaung. 17kings. 17th king ThadoeMahaRaza had 2 sons MahaThambawa and SulaThambawa

Ancient Trade Routes across Myanmar

We were taught that Myanmar’s mountainous boundaries prevented Myanmar from being occupied until the British, yet, there were trade routes to and from and across Myanmar since the stone age and bronze age cultures.

The India – China trade route across upper Myanmar had been recorded by Roman and Chinese geographers and it was along this route that Roman ambassadors to China passed through.

The Pyu coins, now known to be from Oc-Eo are found all through the Oc-Eo (present day Vietnam, but a sea port of the Chenla nation at the time before the Vietnamese migrate down the coast) Thailand, Kayah, Pyu cities, Dhanyawaddy, Vesali and this is the transAsia trade route at the time with sea ports at both ends.

Sriksetra is at the crossroads of this trade route with the North India – China trade route.

The Jyun (Khmer) army reached Bago during the time of Anawratha and was repelled by the 4 generals of Bagan.

Nan Chao invaded and destroyed the Pyu capital

The Mongols invaded Myanmar and occupied Bagan which was deserted ahead of their arrival


Xi’an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang’an in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. Xi’an is the undisputed root of Chinese civilization having served as the capital city for the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties.

The two Chinese characters “西安” in the name Xi’an literally mean “Western Peace”. During the Zhou Dynasty, the area was called Fenghao, with the portion of the city on the west bank of the Feng River called Feng and the portion on the east called Hao. It was renamed Chang’an, meaning “Perpetual Peace”, during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). It changed in 581 CE to Daxing (大興) during the Sui Dynasty then again became Chang’an from 618 CE during the Tang Dynasty. During the Yuan Dynasty (1270-1368 CE), the city was first given the name Fengyuan (奉元), followed by Anxi (安西) then Jingzhao (京兆). It finally became Xi’an in the year 1369 CE at the time of the Ming Dynasty. This name remained until 1928, then in 1930 it was renamed Xijing (西京), or “Western Capital”. The city’s name once again reverted to its Ming-era designation of Xi’an in the year 1943.

Xi’an is abbreviated in Chinese to either Hao or Tang (唐). The former abbreviation is derived from the Zhou Dynasty name Haojing, whilst the latter comes from the name of the Tang Dynasty.


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6 Responses to “Earliest Pyu settlements and the ancient India China trade route through Myanmar”

  1. Nyo Nyo Says:

    Wow ! good piece of work..KO NYI.. Thanks for sharing.. Love to see it more

  2. K. Thitsar Says:

    A good piece Dr. Nyi. An interesting subject too. According to British writers (Seller1898-1951 &Yeatman1898-1968), history is not what you thought. It is what you can remember. Without reading your blog I could not make to remember Burmese history. Thanks for your post.

  3. Settlement Patterns in Ancient India « Rashid's Blog Says:

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  4. ျမန္မာ႔စြယ္စံုက်မ္းနဲ႔ ရိုဟင္ဂ်ာ « Dr Ko Ko Gyi’s Blog Says:

    […] Earliest Pyu settlements and the ancient India China trade route through Myanmar (nyiwin.wordpress.com) Share this:PrintEmailMoreFacebookTwitterDiggStumbleUponRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  5. sekhar Says:

    Pyu alphabets are exactly pronounced as Telugu/Andhra South India. Dhnyawaddy..There is a similar named place in Andhra Dharani kota and Sriksetra. Other nouns mentioned in this article are almost daily used Nargasein. ahaRaza had 2 sons MahaThambawa and SulaThambawa. How about doing more reseach towards relation with Pyu and across Bay of bengal from Kalinga-Amaravathi coastal area

    • nyiwin Says:

      Dear sekhar
      thanks for the information and suggestion about more research about cross Bay of Bengal relations of the Pyu
      however, I am not an academician, only a hobbyist with only the internet as source of data. the official records in the History and Archeology Departments of Myanmar are not accessible by the public and there are few historians that publish their articles
      Only a few Pyu alphabets could be deciphered by a British intellectual until in recent years, Myanmar scholars could understand all recovered Pyu alphabets, it has baen written, but I still have not read the original articles.
      It will be of great value to have facts of the past for public knowledge and debate
      I wonder whether the official line that the Pyu and Bamar languages are similar is correct. It is possible that the original Pyu language would be changed over the centuries, mixing with Burmese language.
      The Chinese recorded the Pyu as a land nearly as large as Myanmar is now, with relations to far countries as well. Why wasn’t the fact recorded or the records found?
      There were contemporary States in Rakhine (western coastal region of Myanmar) the Dhanyawaddy and Waytharli (Vesali) which had much contact with the west from which the ruling people came and I wonder whether they can also be called Pyu because there are finger line bricks in Dhanyawaddy which are considered as evidence of being Pyu in other parts of Myanmar. The finding of such bricks in the area of Thuwunna Bhumi / Suvanabhumi / current day AhYet Thama and Kaylartha area of Bilin township led to the announcement that Thuwunna Bhumi is Pyu and this led to the uproar and protest by the Mon who claimed Thuwunna Bhumi as theirs.
      However, there is a Pyu settlement further south, near Dawei, the Thargara village which is considered Pyu. I had written a blog about it.
      The Myanmar academicians might not agree, but it is my belief that the ruling class of the Pyu, Thuwunna Bhumi and early Rakhine settlements migrated from current day India and Bangladesh and ruled over the local inhabitants who has been living in the area since time immemorial, intermixing by marriage, language and culture over the centuries

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