By Zai Hlaing Min (Translated TTA)
Myanmar is the land of stupas and temples. Every stupa and temple is based on historical events, some of which are very interesting. Moreover, there are plentiful of ancient pagodas accessible to travel tours for taking a relaxation across the nation. Among them, clusters of Tahkong Mwetaw pagodas in Nyaungshwe Township of Shan State are attractive to travellers.
Tahkong Mwetaw is about 37 nautical miles sail of motor schooner from Inlay Lake of Nyaungshwe Township in Shan State. Motor schooners can take about three hours to drive a journey from Inlay Lake to cluster of Tahkhong Mwetaw pagodas located on the western bank of Bilu Creek. A route of waterway, and natural beauties from environs of Inlay Lake are attractive to travellers.
Travellers can enjoy significant views along both sides of Bilu Creek leading to Tahkong Mwetaw Pagodas and crop plantations of the local farmers with Shan mountain ranges in the background. Misty Shan mountain ranges give a taste of chill to souls of travellers. Environs of the pagodas are peaceful and tranquil except driving sound of motor schooners.
Every traveller can see ancient Tahkong Mwetaw Pagoads on the western bank of Bilu Creek. Some of pagodas are damaged and some are in good conditions. The history of these pagodas mentioned King Alaungsithu on his tour built the said pagodas.
There are 76 large pagodas and 54 small ones in the cluster of Tahkong Mwetaw pagodas, in addition to 106 damaged pagodas, according to its history. These pagodas are in small and long forms and lacqueware umbrellas atop the pagodas are of tip. Circular decorative bands of the pagodas are small.
Oldie Tahkong Mwetaw pagodas were affected by natural disasters as well as some of pagodas was burgled to take out the enshrined objects. Designs and forms of Tahkong Mwetaw pagodas are similar to that of Intein and Kakku. Similar pagodas can be seen in some areas of Shan State and environs of Inlay Lake.
Although the maintenance and renovation are being undertaken at Tahkong Mwetaw Pagodas damaged by impacts of natural disasters, historical value and images of archaeology has already lost there. These losses might be dissatisfactory for international travellers who wish to emphasize valuable observation for ancient historical events.
Some bells take positions in the venue of Tahkong Mwetaw Pagodas. Historians and researchers estimated these bells might be some 200 years old. Reclining Buddha images, statues of kings of celestial beings and Galon (mythical king of birds) can be seen in the precinct of pagodas. It is interesting that works of these statues and choice of locations were wonderful.
Historians and researchers analyzed that the location of Tahkong Mwetaw Pagodas built on both banks of Bilu Creek which originates at Inlay Lake might be based on farsightedness of King Alaungsithu on his waterway trip considering environments and locations as well as travelling.
Actually, it was an area of ancient Sankar City often flooded in the monsoon. As the area of Sankar City was inundated in monsoon as a large lake, it was called Sankar Lake. Some people said that such lake is four miles long from the east to the west and some seven miles from the south to the north with about 15 to 20 feet deep of water.
As such, some pagodas of the cluster are still facing flooding in monsoon. Even though, such situation of the pagoda can be attractive to the foreign tourists who wish to pay visits to these pagodas in any seasons. Natural beauties of that area being changed in seasons would win the hearts of local and foreign travellers.
Inlay Lake in southern Shan State is an eminent destination for local and foreign tourists but number of travellers bound for Tahkong Mwetaw Pagodas via Inlay Lake is still lesser. It is because tour operators didn’t arrange a tour package heading to Tahkong Mwetaw Pagodas.
Architectural works of Tahkong Mwetwe Pagodas are similar to that of Intein and Kakku. However, travellers leading to these pagodas will have the chances to observe knowledgeable natural scenes, significant views of areas, lifestyle of local people and different forms of agricultural tasks.
At a time when tourism service will resume operations in the post-Covid-19 period, it is expected that larger number of local and foreign travellers will lead to Tahkong Mwetaw Pagodas in southern Shan State. It is sure that the tour of these pagodas would be interesting for travellers to observe historical documents.