On 22 june 2014 Myanmar made its entry on the world heritage list with Pyu Acient cities of the three enclosed city-states of
Beikthano,Hanlin and Sri ksetra.
They were the earliest enclosed cities of Myanmar and although geo-political separate they were all of Pyu culture that coexited for centuries as proven by overlaping radiocarbon dates.
It is belives that the Pyu race of Tibeto-Burman stock migrated from the north west region of the China .
They were a debout and cultured race with more intrest in faith and the arts than in military might which was ultimately their undoing .
There beautyful and elegant calligraphy testified to their sophistication but unfortunately the few stone inscriptions they left are still mostly undecipherable.
Their earliest urban settlement existed between 500 B.C and 200 AD and consisted of many small villages set densely on the bank of the Samon River in the central dry zone that.
It was a flourishing agrarian region with effective irrigation systems.
Among the finding of the Samon Valley were many kinds of bronze decorations,bells,blue glass bracelets and beads.
Carved charms of various stones in the form of tigers were found similar to those of contemporary China, which were not usually found in sussessive Pyu states were Buddhist artifacts became more prevalent.
Thus Samon velley is belived to be the original Pyu settlement from which groups perherps of blood kin or whole villages, left to set up towns that grew into city-states such as Hanlin to the north and Beikthano and Sri Ksetra to the south.
Beikthano meaning Vishnu is the earliest urban system of enclosed
city-states,estimated to have exited from 1th to 5th centuries as confarmed by radio-carbon dating .
It lies slightly southeast of Samon valley settlement and the closest among the three acient cities.
Excavations revealed remaining traces of Hindu influences in this early period
of Buddhisim , shared by settlements all over SE Asia.
Sophisticated irrigation systems enebled them to grow rice and vegetables while water was stored in wells and tanks for the use of the people.
The city wall were strongly built with huge baked bricks in square shape.
The wide gates curve inwards with the two long ramparts of the entrance passageway extending about 50 feet which gave the guards control over any arrival , the same gate seen in the other two old city-states.
Hanlin is in Wet Let township of Sagaing Division,
about 60 miles northwest of Mandalay.
Some lines of stone inscriptions in Pyu writing belived have been founded and dated to between 4th and 8th Centuries AD.
However they could not be deciphereed.
This old Pyu city lies in a dry region but produces salt from the sodium cloride in its soil and might have traded it with nearby settlements.
Besides salt production and inspite of scant rain fall Halin grew rice with water from by a tank on the southeast of the city and Hanlin lake on the west.
The ruined walls with gates and moats from a retangular with one-mile long sides running east to west and two-mile long sides running north to south .
Within the walled area there were traces of resiential areas and beyond it.remains of a large big assembly hail measuring 120 ft. by 38 ft.was found with 21 rows of total 84 charred wooden posts in what was likely a part of palace.
Excavated relics included coins with Pyu symbol,pottery shards and beads of gold and semi-precious gems.
The lower fragment of a stone carved with three rows of seated figures with headress of coiled hair with hands in the gusteure of worship beneath the lower torso of a seated figures several times large figure has broken off so it is not clear if it represented Buddha, a Hindu God , or a king
SRI KSETRA (PYAY)
Sri Ksetra meaning Field of Glory, the largest individual brick-walled archeological site in ttracehe Southeast Asia.
It flourished from 2nd century BC to the 9th century AD as a city state of high culture and deep faith in Buddhism.
It was a highly civilised state that left traces of good planning and management in the intallation of irrigation systems, city planning and water storage facilities.
It is 179 miles northwest of Yangon.
Brick building on the site numbered at least 277 of which many were for religious purposes.
Payagyi Pagoda that lies within the morden city of PYAY is the earliest prototype for pagoda in the following up centuries to the present.
Bawbawgyi pagoda a 150 feet high cylindrical shape, lies outside of city limits.
Lemyet Hna and Be Be temples from the later date seem to be the forerunner of Bagan tample,although nowhere near as ornate.
Out of 227, sixty five set closely together were built with Bagan era bricks.
Enshrined inside the Bawbaw were votive tablets signed by King Anawrahta the founder of Bagan but this fact should not be the reason to assume that Bagan ruler took over Sri Ksetra as the Myanmar Buddhist build pagodas or donate to the upkeep in any place they like, including foreign countries.
Relics found by archaeologists or farmers included a set of gold sheets inscribed with Buddhist texts,coins of silver and gold as wellas beads, rings and bracelets made of crystal,quartz, carnelian,jade, glass and clay.
large flat rings of jade coloured glass or stone with a hole in the center as a symbol of honouring celestials in China were also excavated.
The most beatiful pieces are charms of Buddha images as small as match heads and pea sized seals of agate bearing finely etched designs of animals or symbols to skill of Sri Ksetra artisans especially their technique of drilling thread-thin bores through oblong beads of 5 inches in length ,holes so fine that the thinnest silk thread must be used to string these beads.
There are also stone bas-relief sculptures of the birth of Buddha and other religious themes, repousse' metel caskets and bronze figurines.
The most famous figurines are four musicians and a dancer,out of which the four musicians were stolen in 1967 from temperary onsite storage soon after they were found .
Dr. Nai Pan Hla a famous Mon scholar wrote about the theft in international publications and Mr.R.Ellswort of NYC who read it bought them from the collector and returned them to Myanmar in 1983.
According to Chinese records , invaders from Nan Cha'o looted Sri Ksetra in 9th century during the reign of king Duttabaung and took away thousands of prisoners.
Local chronicles said the survivors moved upriver to settle near what was to become Bagan two hundred years later and in time assimilated into the Burmese of Bagan .
The purity of this ancient race was lost, but they left amazing relics as proof of their great wealth, deep faith and culture.