Thursday, July 18th 2024

Ancient Stupas of Vaishali period discovered at Ponna Kyunt



Five ancient Stupas were recently discovered at Ponna Kyunt Township,16 miles north of the Rakhine State's capital Sittwe.


Rakhine historians and writers, who visited the town to examine the Stupas, commented that those were masterpieces of the Vaishali period in Rakhine.

Sara Maung Pru (Grui Te Kyunt), a historian who visited the location , stated that out of five Stupas one is approximately three feet high. The others are about  2.5 feet in height. One of these four Stupas
were partially damaged.

The villagers, who found these pieces while excavating the dirt  on 26 May, initially thought those ruins were of a Buddha statue.

According to the analysts, the Stupas were carved out of stones. Rakhine's Dhanyawaddy, Vaishali, Laymyo, Mrauk U city etc have a history of stone  sculptures.

Those Stupas are housed at Ponna Kyunt Myoma monastery.

The middle part of Stupas has engravings relating to Rakhine identities from the 5th century AD (Rakhine Vaishali period) and it was full of Stupa characteristics  indicating the Buddhist cultural
heritage of that period, added Sara Maung Pru.

"The alphabets clearly indicate characters of the Vaishali era,” he added.

Furthermore, a stone tablet in  Mrauk U city museum written by King Wirasandra (whose reign lasted only for three years during the Vaishali period) states that there were exactly 100 massive Pagodas in the Rakhine (Arakan).

These 100 Pagodas are thought to be nothing more than Stupas. According to  Min Thein Zang and Goya Mray Saw Win, who are currently historical researchers in Rakhine State, only 30 to 40 Stupas can be located in Rakhine.

"Now that we've discovered five Stupas, there may be many more Stupas to be unearthed,” he speculated.

The Stupas  were found on the mountain land owned by U Than Shwegyi, next to the Yangon-Sittwe highway, about 4 furlongs away from Guwa Pagoda, while he dug earth after a tree fell due to cyclone Mocha.

Daw Khin Than, chairperson of  Mrauk U Ancient Cultural Heritage Area Preservation Group, noted that since the Arakan King ruled the Arakan dynasty during the Vaishali period of the Arakan (Rakhine), such historical ruins can be found in other parts of the State.

On 17  March  2022, a local resident of  Zai Chao village under Minbya township,  found one  small Stupa stone (Pagoda) which was over three  feet long. He found it while catching fishes with a net. That is also believed to be from the Vaishali period.

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