7. Bagan’s international relations with Buddhist countries in Anawrahta’s time

Relation with Srilanka

This island country was to Myanmar by many different names;

  1. Lanka Dipa
  2. Theingo
  3. Thiho since earliest time

Chronicle of the two countries e.g, Culavamsa of Srilanka and Glass Palace chronicle of Myanmar mention contacts between the two kingdoms in trade, military, diplomatic, religious and culture fields. Decline of Buddhism in Srilanka due to Chola invasion and rebellion, Buddhist king Vijayabahu asked assistance from king Anawrahta to repulse the invaders to subdue the rebels and to revive Buddhism.

King Anawrahta sent military assistance to drive out the invaders and to put down the rebellion and dispatched religious missions of Bhikkhus to revive Buddhism in Srilanka. Myanmar monks preordained in the Sima on the bank of Kalyani River and learnt Pariyatti at the Maha Vihara. They brought Singhalese Tipitaka and culture on return home. Singhalese designs of monasteries, pagodas and ordination  halls were built at Bagan.

See more: Sinhalese Type Pagodas, Bagan

Myanmar-China relation

Myanmar chronicles claim that Anawrahta marched to China to worship the sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha. He asked for it from Chinese emperors Uti. But he did not get it. He was given an emerald (jade of green colour) image of Buddha and many religious gifts.

Anawrahta exchanged diplomatic and religious embassies with Buddha kingdoms of Cambodia, Linzin (Laos), Malaya, Majjhimadesa (Buddhist Indian provinces, Bengal, possibly Bali and Java). Anawrahta was the founder of the first Myanmar union (empire) based up on the glory of Theravada Buddhism. His name was mentioned in the chronicles of neighbouring Buddhist kingdoms.

Anawrahta was a great patron and promoter of Theravada Buddhism. Under him Bagan became the strongest Buddhist kingdom in Southeast Asian region. Builder of pagodas, temples, monasteries, dam and canals. But Shwezigon pagoda was left unfinished.

Several votive tablets (terra-cotta) with prints of Buddha figure and his name in Pali and Sankrit Anawrahta. His prayer printed on such tablets reads by me king Anuruddha, this mould of the Buddha is made. By this merit may I obtain the path of Nivirna when Mettaya is revealed? When a replica of the sacred Tooth relic of the Buddha was sent to Anawrahta by the king of Srilanka as a token of gratitude for his assistances, it was welcome and received ceremonially.

Anawrahta came out in state to the Lawkananda jetty and waded neck deep to receive the sacred relic from the ship. It was carried on his head and later the relic was encased in a bejeweled gold casket and carried on the back of a white elephant in a royal pageant to his palace. Later it was enshrined in a stupa on a sand bank which today is well-known as Shwezigon Zedi.

Four more replicas of the Tooth relic were enshrined each in one of four other stupas at four different places namely;
  1. Lokananda
  2. Tant Kyi Taung
  3. Tuyin Taung and
  4. Pyet Khaywey Taung

There stupas (Dhatu Zedi) are objects of veneration for Buddhist pilgrims. They became centres of Buddhist missions.

Press here to go to Tuyin Taung Pagoda

  • Pyet Khaywey Taung

  • Pyet Khaywey Taung Pagoda

The Fifth Buddha Tooth Relic Pagoda is situated on the West Pyetkaywe mountain, south-east of Kume (ကူမဲ) in Myittha (မြစ်သား) Township, Kyaukse district in Mandalay Region.

Pyetkaywe Mountain lies at latitude 21 ံ 12.659’ north and longitude 96 ံ 14.759’ east.

The Centre of Myanmar (Pyetkaywe) 21°13'00.0"N 96°12'00.0"E

It is an amazing coincidence that the west Pyetkaywe mountain where King Anawrahta built the Buddha’ tooth relic pagoda is located in the real center of Myanmar.

Map Show: The Centre of Myanmar
(Pyetkaywe Mountain)


  1. H Luce, Old Burma early Pagan, three vols.
  2. Khin Maung Nyunt, Dr., Historical and cultural development of Bagan, Nan yang University, Singapore, June 1995
  3. Khin Maung Nyunt, Dr., The role of Bagan in the history of Southeast Asia, Symposium on Bagan, November, 1988

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