Pyu Kingdom at Pyay
Trip Start Dec 28, 2011
22Trip End Jan 19, 2012
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Besides breaking my journey from Bagan to Yangon, the other reason for visiting Pyay was also to check out the ancient city of Srikshetra or otherwise known as Thayekhittaya. This is the ancient kingdom of Pyu, around 1st - 5th century AD, preceded by the Mon Kingdom. To get there, I had to hire a motortaxi from guesthouse - 10000 kyats for the whole day.
The young chap from the guesthouse who was my driver, had never been to these ancient archaeological sites before either. He first brought me to Bawbawgyi Paya via dirt roads behind a sprawling village before backtracking to the site's museum to purchase a US$5 archaeological ticket. Had we known that Bawbawgyi is located is already the middle of the trek route, we would have navigated other sites from there and avoid sponsoring the government funds.
Symbolically Bawbawgyi Paya has the most impact
The other sights were ruins and remnants of the Pyu Kingdom but many are in bad shape. Sometimes all you can see is just an old wall taken over by overgrown vegetation.
Neglected Ancient Relics
This is where a more competent government should step in, instead of misusing their funds on acquiring a military stronghold that is bent on crushing her own people. Historically, this ancient Pyu kingdom (3rd - 10th century) is more significant than the Bamar era (Bagan Temples - 8th century). Not to dismiss the importance of Bamar era but very little is known about Pyu Kingdom.
Today the site is ran over with farms and lazy village life. And not forgetting the dirt roads so sandy that we skidded countless times and had to dismount to push the motorbike. The best way to navigate this site is on an ox-cart or simply just on foot, although the trails are shadeless under the unmerciful sun. You can also skip the museum and save another US$5 - it is a joke.
Before heading back to town, I asked to cross the bridge over the Ayeyarwaddy River. I rode to halfway and got off to walk the other side of the bridge, enjoying sweeping views to Pyay and riverbanks on both sides. I spotted this white pagoda on the western hills and we rode up to check it out. I cannot recall the name of this pagoda but I remember that it overlooks the river with fantastic views back at the bridge and Pyay.