Our river journey continued, travelling most of the day until we reached the ex-colonial town of Myanaung.
It was a lovely sleepy town full of decaying colonial buildings, some of which are being resurrected by the locals; as their funds allow – often the ground level into shops, and leaving the upper level for a later renovation. Myanaung was also striking in the variety of religions – Hindu Temple and Muslim Mosque alongside the Buddhist temple.
I managed to get up early the next day and see the sunrise (for a change); but especially to see the Buddha Statues carved into the mountainside near Kaut Taung.
In the afternoon, we arrived in Pyay formerly known as Prome. On the outskirts of Pyay is the world-heritage site Sri Ksetra; thought to be the site of a once prominent Pyu settlement. The Pyu occupied several sites across Upper Myanmar, with Sri Ksetra recorded as the largest, the city wall enclosing an area of 1,477 hectares. The majority of material is dated between the 7th and 9th C AD, however recent literature suggests Pyu culture at Sri Ksetra was active centuries before this. The Pyu at Sri Ksetra declined in prominence around the ninth century AD. The final mention of the Pyu is found at Bagan, with a twelfth century stone featuring inscriptions in Pyu, Mon, Burmese and Pali. This stone is known locally as the “Rosetta” stone – as it provided a means to finally read the Pyu inscriptions.
The early stupas are recognisable as they do not have the terrace structure of the later stupas.
Early morning saw us arrive at Thayet Myo. This colonial town once guarded the border between Royal and British Myanmar. The buildings dated from the time of the 2nd Anglo-Burmese wa of 1852. Our transport this day were horse-drawn carts – seating front and back… great fun – but very noisy and smelly when diesel trucks passed us.
Our day concluded with Christmas Eve celebrations.