World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mrauk U

Article Id: WHEBN0002636746
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mrauk U  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Myanmar, Kaladan River, Dhanyawadi, Sitakunda Upazila, Mahamuni Buddha Temple
Collection: 1430 Establishments, Buddhist Temples in Myanmar, Kaladan River, Tourist Attractions in Myanmar
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Mrauk U

Mrauk U
Mrauk U from Shwetaung pagoda
Mrauk U from Shwetaung pagoda
Map of Mrauk U with main temples
Map of Mrauk U with main temples
Mrauk U is located in Myanmar
Mrauk U
Location in Burma
Settled 16 November 1430
 • Ethnicities Rakhine
 • Religions Theravada Buddhism
Time zone MST (UTC+6.30)

Mrauk U (Burmese: မြောက်‌ဦးမြို့; MLCTS: mrauk u: mrui., Burmese pronunciation: ) is an archaeologically important town in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. It is also the capital of Mrauk-U Township, a sub region of the Sittwe District. It was the capital of Mrauk U Kingdom, the most important and powerful Rakhine (Arakanese) kingdom, from 1430 to 1785.


  • Geography 1
  • Climate 2
  • Etymology 3
    • Mythology 3.1
  • History 4
    • Trading City 4.1
  • Religious Centre 5
    • Temples in Mrauk U 5.1
  • Rice Production 6
  • Tourism 7
  • Infrastructure 8
  • Gallery 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11


Mrauk U lies roughly 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) east of the Kaladan River on the banks of its minor tributaries. The town is located on a small outcrop of the Rakhine Yoma on the eastern side of the Kaladan's alluvial plain. Thus, the surrounding countryside is hilly yet also contains a great deal of marshes, mangroves and lakes.


Mrauk U, like much of Rakhine State, is situated in a coastal tropical monsoon rainforest climate region. The town receives over 1,200 millimetres (47 in) of rain a year from the Southwestern Monsoon, making it one of the wettest regions in Myanmar.[1] The Monsoon season usually begins in late May and ends by mid October.[2]

Although located in a tropical region, Mrauk U enjoys lower temperatures when the Northeastern Monsoon falls. From mid October to mid March during the Cool Season, temperatures can drop to 13°C.[3] This season coincides with the tourist season for Myanmar.

The rainfall in 19 July 2011 was nearly 24 centimetres (9.4 in), the highest for 33 years. There was flood because of continuous heavy rains in July 2011.[4]


Some Rakhine scholars state that the name Mrauk U means 'The First Accomplishment' in archaic Arakanese. This is based on the story of the Arakanese being able to crush an invasion by the Pyu in the mid 10th Century by a Mro prince, Pai Phru. The town is said to be located roughly near the region where the Pyu invaders were decimated. The prince went on to claim the throne of Wethali from his uncle who had murdered the prince's father due to a love scandal. The battle was seen as the first accomplishment of the prince, and thus, the name 'First Accomplishment' came to be associated with the place.[5]


A dismissed myth was that in the region where Mrauk U was to be constructed, lived a lonely female monkey. She met a peacock and the two later cohabited. The female monkey conceived with the peacock, and it laid an egg. A human son was born from the egg and he grew up to become a mighty prince. The prince later built a city near the jungle, and in respect of his birth story, the city was called Myauk-U meaning ‘Monkey’s Egg’.[6]


Mrauk-U, or Arrakan (city of Arrakan), in the first plan of the Portuguese settlement of Daingri-pet. In Wouter Schouten : Oost-Indische Voyagie, t.o. p. 148. 1676

In 1433, King Min Saw Mon established Mrauk U as the capital of the last unified Arakanese Kingdom. The city eventually reached a size of 160,000 in the early seventeenth century.[7] Mrauk U served as the capital of the Mrauk U kingdom and its 49 kings till the conquest of the kingdom by the Burmese Konbaung Dynasty in 1784.

Trading City

Due to its proximity to the Bay of Bengal, Mrauk U developed into an important regional trade hub, acting as both a back door to the Burmese hinterland and also as an important port along the eastern shore of the Bay of Bengal. It became a transit point for goods such as rice, ivory, elephants, tree sap and deer hide from Ava in Burma, and of cotton, slaves, horses, cowrie, spices and textiles from Bengal, India, Persia and Arabia. Alongside Pegu and later Syriam, it was one of the most important ports in Burma till the eighteenth century.

The city also traded with non-Asian powers such as Portugal and then the Dutch East India Company of the Netherlands. The Dutch East India Company (VOC) established trading relations with the Arakanese in 1608 after the Portuguese fell in favour due to the lack of loyalty of Portuguese mercenaries, such as Filipe de Brito e Nicote in the service of the Arakanese king. The VOC established a permanent factory in Mrauk U in 1635, and operated in Arakan till 1665.[8]

At its zenith, Mrauk U was the centre of a kingdom which stretched from the shores of the Ganges river to the western reaches of the Ayeyarwaddy River. According to popular Arakanese legend, there were 12 'cities of the Ganges' which constitute roughly half of modern day Bangladesh which were governed by Mrauk U, including Dhaka and Chittagong. During that period, its kings minted coins inscribed in Arakanese, Kufic and Bengali.

Much of Mrauk U's historical description is drawn from the writings of Friar Sebastian Manrique, a Portuguese Augustinian monk who resided in Mrauk U from 1630 to 1635.

Religious Centre

As Mrauk U and her kingdom prospered, the kings, ministers and peasants built many pagodas and temples around the town to reflect their faith. Thus, Mrauk U houses a rich collection of temples and pagodas second only to the Central Burmese town of Bagan, in Myanmar. Most of Mrauk U's temples were constructed of hewn stone bricks, unlike the mud and clay bricks of Bagan.

The most notable temples in Mrauk U are the Shite-thaung Temple (Temple of 80,000 Images or Temple of Victory), Htukkanthein Temple (Htukkan Ordination Hall), the Koe-thaung Temple (Temple of 90,000 Images) and the Five Mahn pagodas.

Temples in Mrauk U

The following are some of the famous and noteworthy religious buildings in and around the town.

Although Mrauk U is a primarily Buddhist site, there are several religious buildings of other faiths. The most notable would be the old Santikan Mosque, built during Min Saw Mon's reign, in the southeast of the town. Friar Manrique also mentions the presence of a Roman Catholic church and a small number of converts and foreign born Catholics (including ronin who were forced out of Japan due to persecution by the shogunate of Tokugawa Ieyasu)

Rice Production

The area around Mrauk U ranks second in the production of rice in Myanmar, after the Irrawaddy Delta.


Today, Mrauk U is a major archaeological and tourist destination.[9] The main attractions are the temples and ruins around the town. The remains of the main palace roughly form the centre of the town. The most popular mode for tourists to travel to Mrauk U is to take a domestic flight from Yangon to Sittwe and board a boat from Sittwe against the Kaladan River. The hotels in Mrauk U also arrange private boat services to and from Sittwe.

Mrauk U houses a growing tourist industry, as it has only recently become a reachable tourist destination.


Although a tourist destination, most of Mrauk U has very basic infrastructure. It has a Township hospital, a Basic Education High School and a market. Like much of Rakhine state and the whole of Myanmar, Mrauk U lacks 24-hour electricity.


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  • The Land of the Great Image - Being Experiences of Friar Manrique in Arakan by Maurice Collis
  • Pamela Gutman (2001) Burma's Lost Kingdoms: splendours of Arakan. Bangkok: Orchid Press
  • Map of Mrauk U
Mrauk U
Preceded by
Capital of Mrauk U Kingdom
16 November 1430 – 2 January 1785
Succeeded by
End of Mrauk U
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.