Arakan

The land that is known as Arakan by the foreigners is called Rakhaing-pray by its own people, Rakhaing-thar (Arakanese) who were titled this name in honour of preservation on their national heritage and ethics or morality.

Indian migration into Myanmar

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Sunday, December 4, 2011

Myanmar has a long history of contact with neighboring countries. Trade is part of life and from local trade, distant trade was done along the trade routes. Since the early years of the 1st millineum, there was an India – China trade route that passed through upper Myanmar in the upper reaches of the Ayeyarwaddy. Another passed from the Champa / Cambodian city of Oc Eo (in present day Vietnam) through Thailand and the eastern Myanmar to reach the Sriksetra. Another branch of this trade route is to the west, across the Rakhine yoma along the TaunGup pass till Vesali / Waytharli and from there sea trading to India is a regular trading route. All these trading led to contact with and arrival of Indians to Myanmar since time immemorial.

There also was a sea trading route from India, and even Sri Lanka to Myanmar and beyond.
Indian trade to Suvanabhumi was done even before the time of Buddha as is told in the Maha ZaNetKa Jakata. ZaNetKa went to Suvanabhumi in search of riches. Suvanabhumi is the land of gold and is different from Suvanadipa, the gold island / peninsula which is either the Malaysia or one of the Indonesia islands. Although it is controversial, Suvanabhumi, the gold land with its riches is believed to be in the area around Thaton.

The first Indians that arrive would be Hindus as Buddha’s time has not come yet prior to 540 B.C. Later, those who came and settle in Myanmar were Buddhist Indians and they established the cities of Dhanyawaddy and Waytharli, ruling over the local Rakhines and other ethnic groups as they have superior culture and administrative knowledge.

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.

According to tradition Indo-Aryan people reached Arakan from India Gangha delta and settled in Kaladan Valley at the very early time. Before migrating to Arakan, those Indo-Aryan are thought to have mixed and intermarried with a migrant Mongoloid tribe in eastern India and Arakan.

An eminent Arakanese archaeologist, U San Shwe Bu, pointed out that the Indo-Aryan came to Arakan from Majjhimadesa who were living on the bank of river Ganges.
Ancient Arakanese belonged to Magadha region as their ancestral places who later settled in Arakan region and consequently found their first capital city at Dynyawaddy.

Arakanese chronicles date the history of Arakan back to 5000 BC when 2 migratory waves from the eastern part of India coming with a group settled at Kira-brin, 16 miles north of Mrauk-U, and the other settled at Dwarawaddy (Thandway). Later on the group at Thandway dispersed and joined with Kira-brin group to establish Vesali. Local dynasty ruled Vesali up to 3325 BC.

Sakkya migration into Rakhine. 1st gr: Vasudeva_ruled Dwarawady [Thantwe]. 2nd gr: Ahzona_married daughter of local chief. [son] Marayu conquered old Vesali and founded Dhanyawaddy 3000 B.C.   55 kings

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.

Historically, the origin of the Indians that reach Myanmar was from the Majjhimadesa
1st Tagaung Established by AbiYarzar who came from India. Succeeded by younger son KanYarzarNge.

Tagaung has also been settled by king AhBiYarZar in pre Buddha time.His son Kan Yarzar Nge succeeded him in Tagaung, whereas the elder son Kan Yarzar Gyi went down the Ayeyarwaddy to finally reach the Kyauk Padaung near Paletwa on the Kaladan.

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

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.

the ShitThaung pillar, also originally from Vesali, at the ShitThaung pagoda, Mrauk U
Ananda Candra inscription, formerly from Vesali, now at the ShitThaung pagoda, Mrauk U

The inscription of Anandacanda , written around 728 AD , gives the names and reign periods of eighteen of his predecessors , the earlier of whom may have ruled at Dhanyawadi. The kings of earliest Candra dynasty , who ruled from end of the 4th to the beginning of the 7th centuries, are said to have descended from the lineage of the Hindu god Siva , and the lineage is mentioned again in connection with Anandacandra’s grandfather , Vajrasakti. The inscription describes Anandacanda’s grandfather, Vajrasakti. The inscription describes Anandacandra and his immediate predecessors as Mahayana Buddhists. This would not, however, have precluded the existence of a Hindu royal cult as was the case in both India and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The Candra kings certainly did not neglect to support the local Brahmins, the bearers of Sanskritic culture at court. Anandacandra says that he built four temples, named after himself, for the Brahmins as well as providing them with land, servants and musicians.


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.
Then came Kanrazagri and his twenty eight kingly descendents
Dhanyawaddy (Dhannavati), the earliest city in Rakhine. Legendary accounts say that it was founded in 580 B.C. and was the capital till 350 or 370 A.D.

the third Dynyawaddy (580-B.C. to 326 A.D.) was found by King Canda Suriya.
3rd Dhanyawaddy 580 B.C.- 326 / 350 / 370 A.D. Suriya kings 25 kings. 906 yrs.
Dhanya palace entrance with the Mahamuni pagoda in the background

The dynasty founded by Kanrazagri was succeeded by the Suriya kings the first of whom was Canda Suriya. He founded the third city of Dhanyawadi. According to the chronicles it was during his reign that the Buddha visited Arakan with his five hundred disciples. It was mentioned that the famous Mahamuni image (which is at present in Mandalay) was cast with his consent as a memento of his sojourn in the country. A palm- leaf manuscript entitled, Sappadanapakarana, provides a detailed accound of the casting of this image. The Suriya dynasty consisted of forty eight kings and was succeeded by the Candra dynasty.

During Sanda/CandaSuriya king’s 26th year of reign, Buddha visited Rakhine with 500 disciples: 554 B.C
Buddha and 500 disciples visited Rakhine
Buddha preaching king Sanda/CandaSuriya while visit Rakhine with 500 disciples: 554 B.C.

In prehistoric times Myanmarwas inhabited along its coasts and its river valleys. During most of the 1st millennium AD the overland trade route between China and India passed through Myanmar’s borders, and merchant ships from India, Sri Lanka, and even farther west converged on its ports, some of which also were the termini of the portage routes from the Gulf of Thailand across the narrow Isthmus of Kra on theMalay Peninsula. Thus,Myanmar often was the western gateway of mainlandSoutheast Asia.

Salagiri hill where Buddha and disciples descended
Waythali-A.D. 310 to 776.
Vesali excavation 2005

The ancient city of Wethali was founded by King Dvan Sandra in 327 A.D.
On Maha Sandra coming to the throne in A.D. 310 he had shifted from Danyawaddy to the more accessible place Waythali. Danyawaddy had been the capital for a total period of 3651 years, from the reign of Marayu in B.C. 3341 to A.D. 310. The Rakhaing came to Zenith of power during the reign of 9 Sandra Kings of Waythali from A.D. 310 to 752 or for a total period of 442 years. The power was due to the very pious King Maha Sandra receiving from Theekra Min Cellestial Spear, the Cellestial Horse and the Cellestial Ruby Ring similar to Wathudaywa. There are problems which we cannot understand today.

The crowing event in the history of Rakhine was the Convention of the Buddhist Council at the top of golden hill of Vesali under the royal patronage of King Dhammawizaya in 638 AD through joint effort of two countries, Rakhine and Ceylon. This momentous triumph of the great council was participated by one thousand monks from Ceylon and one thousand monks from Rakhine kingdom. As a fitting celebration of the occasion, the lavish construction of pagodas, statues and monasteries were undertaken for the purpose of inscribing the Tripitaka.

After Vesali, Pyinsa was found by Lemro dynasty in 818 AD; the great king of dynasty (AD 818-1430) was King Mim-Yin-Phru, who turned his attention towards the development of Buddhism, and in 847 AD he convened the second Buddhist council in Rakhine attended by 800 Arahants. Rakhine chronicles report that therein the Tripitaka and Atthakatha were inscribed on the golden plate and enshrined. Never has there been impediment in the practice of Theravada Buddhist faith since it has introduced in Rakhine. The copious findings of inscription Ye Dhamma verse were practical evidence that Theravada was dominant faith if epigraphic and archaeological sources were to be believed. The Royal patronage has always been significant factor contribution to stability and progress of the religion in Rakhine.

During 33rd Tagaung 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 of 1st Tagaung. 17kings. 17th king ThadoeMahaRaza had 2 sons MahaThambawa and SulaThambawa.

Later, after the desruction of Tagaung, DhazaYarzar escaped from India during Buddha’s time and settled in Tagaung, marrying the widow queen and establishing another dynasty.
Small oval flat piece of agate (stone seal) inscribed with the word Daya-danam in 5th Century South Indian characters (similar pieces with Pali words found in Oc-eo in the Hindunised state of Funan in Indochina. 1 bear identical name as this one) found in Halin. By the fifth century AD, the Mon as well as the Pyu peoples had adopted the Indianized cultural life then widely practiced throughout mainland Southeast Asia which included elements of both Hinduism (Brahamanism) as well as aspects of Theravada, Mahayana, and Tantric Buddhism.
Prince Gopala left Hastinapura in Ganges (north central India) and founded Tagaung after various wars with the Mlech-chlas. Inscribed stone slab 416 A.D. Tagaung. Buddha image with Gupta inscription.

4 large stone funerary urns inscribed in Pyu at Srikshetra reveal that it was ruled by a succession of kings bearing the name of Vikrama from the 7th-8th centuries.


Suryavikrama, Harivikrama, Sihavikrama.


The names of the Pyu kings show that the Vikrama dyansty ruled Sriksetra and they are most likely to be of Indian descent. It is the same with the Rakhine kings of the Suriya, Candra dynasties.

It is only during the time of Lemro cities that the names of the kings are no longer Indian but Rakhine. The Indian rule over Rakhines ended by the fall of Waytharli / Vesali


In prehistoric times Myanmarwas inhabited along its coasts and its river valleys. During most of the 1st millennium AD the overland trade route between China and India passed through Myanmar’s borders, and merchant ships from India, Sri Lanka, and even farther west converged on its ports, some of which also were the termini of the portage routes from the Gulf of Thailand across the narrow Isthmus of Kra on theMalay Peninsula. Thus,Myanmar often was the western gateway of mainlandSoutheast Asia.

The Indian merchants brought with them not only precious cargoes but their religious, political, and legal ideas; and within a few decades Indian cultural traditions had remolded indigenous society, thought, and arts and crafts. Yet important components ofMyanmar’s own native culture were retained, creating a lasting synthesis with Indian culture. Surrounded on three sides by mountains and on the fourth by the sea,Myanmaralways has been somewhat isolated; as a consequence, its culture has remained distinct in spite of the many Indian influences and in spite of its close affinity with the cultures of the other countries ofSoutheast Asia.

Rakhaing Mythological history


When writing history, mythological history will also have to be written for that will convey ideas of migrations. The Rakhaing history will here be related in brief showing when contest was made with Pagan with dates. This will show that Pagan is very recent and could not thus influence the other four Kingdoms. The Rakhaing mythological history relates about the first formation of kingdom by Maha Thamada was called Thagewon, and the Thagewon Kings took great pride in upholding correct principles when governing their subjects. Gautama Buddha was born in the Thagewon Khattreya Family and the Rakhaings of old have taken pride in their country being governed by Thagewon Kings from mythological times. Mythological history states that the seat of Government was first at Ramawady or Ramapura, the Ramree Island. Ramawady is an Indian word, Ram meaning God. Hence Ramawady would mean land of God. History then relates about the formation of 16 Provinces in India during the reign of Wara Aza Raza. There 16 Provinces which become Kingdom were formed before the time of Kakuthan Buddha. In the course of time 85 smaller Kingdoms were formed. Hence the whole of India is known in ancient times as the land of 101 kings. This came to be called Myitzima Daytha ending in the East at the mountain called Rakhaing Yomas today. The present day conception of Rakhapura being in Myanmar is wrong geographically, the Yomas bring the proof. Rakhapura was included in Myanmar on British conquest for administrative purposes. In ancient times Rakhapura and Ahyusapura were under one Government. Rakhapura included the whole of modern Bengal. Bengal was referred to as 12 Bunga towns, to capital being mauk-thu-za meaning the food of Mauk. The Rakhaings are still known as mauk (Mog) in Bengal.

The Great Wethali Payagyi

Wathudaywa-About B.C. 4500.


Wathudaywa and his 9 brothers after conquering the whole of India lastly conquered Dwarawady, the present Thandwe area. For his greatness, the people of India worshipped him as a god, Krishna. We, Rakhaings, however, revere Wathudaywa, as one of our great kings. On the death of Wathudaywa and his 9 brothers at Dwarawady through very unfortunate circumstances, the sister of Wathudaywa, Asiana Daywee and Bramana Poona migrated to Waythali and Bramana Poona was made King by the people of Waythali (Vesali) for his great learning. 6 Kings descended from Bramana Raza and 16 Kings of the Tharaban Dynasty ruled over the country with Waythali as the Capital. Waythali came to an end when the last King Brama Theida met his death at the hand of Cannibals led by Nga Sat Dan.

Marayu B.C. 3341 to 3279.

Marayu the son of Arzuna the ascetic and Einda Maru became king in B.C. 3341 after defeating and extermination the cannibals. Marayu founded the Capital of Danyawaddy on becoming King. Danyawaddy is a town and not a province as thought by many today. Arzuna was King of Kapilawat before he took the life of wandering Ascetic. Indian historians traced his wanderings as far as Manipore, from genealogical tree. From Gautama Buddha we learn that the class in which Gautama Buddha was born is related to the clan that Arzuna belonged to.

Kan Raza Gree B.C. 1523 to 1486.



54 successors of Marayu reigned over the country till we come to the reign of Kan Raza Gree. On the death of the refugee from India, Abei Raza at Tagoung the two sons Kan Raza Gree, the elder, and Kan Raza Nge, the younger, had differences about succession. Kan Raza Nge succeeded his father’s place and hence Kan Raza Gree accompanied by his followers migrated southward. He followed the course of the Irrawaddy, branched out towards the Chindwin and finally arrived at Kyaukpandaung over land. Min Nge Pyaw Hla had been murdered by his Ministers at Danyawaddy and succeeded by 3 Ministers, one acting for eight months, one acting for 2 months and the 3rd acting for 6 months. When the third was dethroned Kan Raza Gree became King. He took as Queen Saw Pyinya Naree of Rakhaing Royality and governed from Kyauk-pan-daung for 24 years, and finally shifted to the old capital, Danyawaddy. This is a case of claim to the throne through the female line, Saw Pyinya Naree.

King Sanda Thuria B.C. 596 to 544.


This is the most important reign in the whole history of Rakhapura and or it is during this reign the Gautama Buddha visited Danyawaddy and at the request by King Sanda Thuria left behind the Mahamuni Image. The image is not an ordinary one but due to the blessing given by Gautama Buddha after completion was addressed as “My Representative” by Gautama Buddha.
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Sources: Nyi Min

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