Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Jun 3, 2012


At 6:15 this morning, we left our hotel in Bagan for the 7:50 a.m. Asian Wings flight to Yangon.

At the airport, to our disappointment, we were told that the flight was late by 20 minutes. We were even more disappointed when, on the way, it made stops at Mandalay and Heho, thus reaching Yangon at 10:30 a.m., almost 1-1/2 later than the originally scheduled time.

We were further dismayed by the heavy traffic in Yangon, which prolonged our progress from the airport to our hotel, thereby further reducing our already limited sightseeing time in the city.

Yangon became Mynmar’s political capital after the British took control of the area in 1885. But 120 years later, in 2005 the government moved the capital to the newly built city of Nay Pyi Taw, near Bagan. Therefore, now it is only the country’s largest city, and its commercial center.

With green tropical trees, shady parks, beautiful lakes and multistory buildings, and nice-looking billboards, Yangon is modern cosmopolitan city.

Although its population is largely Buddhist, besides pagodas, it also has churches, mosques and Hindu Temples.

After checking into Traders Hotel, and a quick lunch, and accompanied by Dorathy, our local guide, we embarked on the day’s sightseeing.

National Museum, which closes at 4 p.m., was our first destination. The major attraction at the Museum was the Throne Room, which displays miniature models of the eight kinds of thrones of ancient Burmese kings and the magnificent Lion Throne of Thibaw Min, the last king of Myanmar, who had been exiled to India by the British. Unfortunately photography was not allowed at the Museum.

It is interesting to note in 1858, the British had exiled Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal Emperor of India, to Yangon, Myanmar, where died on 7 November 1862.

His mausoleum at Zi Wa Ka Street...
...contains his false grave, as well as those of his wife Zinat Mahal, and one daughter, who had accompanied him to Yangon. The real grave, many feet underground, was discovered much later.

Reading his poems written on the walls around his real grave, was a moving experience for me. The last couplet of the following poem, brought tears to my eyes:

Kitna hai bad-nasib Zafar, dafan kay liye
Do gaz zamin bhi na mil saki kuaye yar main!

(How unfortunate is Zafar that for his burial, he did not get even two-yards of land in his own country!)

The Mausoleum was built and is maintained by the Indian government with the help of the local Indian community. During a recent trip to Myanmar, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had visited it.

Next we visited Chaukhtatkyee Pagoda to view the 236-ft Reclining Buddha, which is housed under a metal-roofed shelter.

Close his feet, is a small shrine to Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of learning.

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