Pandaw River Cruises
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“And here it may be said that of all the ruined capitals of Burma which make their appeal on behalf of the transitoriness of life...Ava is the most gracious”.
VC Scott O’Connor Mandalay (1907)

Ratanapura, City of Gems, Ava or Inwa was the intermittent capital of Burma between the decline of Pagan around 1300 and the final move to Amarapura in 1837. However it was not till Thalun’s decision to move the capital from Toungoo to Ava in 1637 that it truly became the centre of power until 1752 when it was sacked by the Mons. Following the rise of a new Burmese dynasty, the Konbaung in 1756, Hsinbyushin moved the capital back. Even after 1837 the Burmese kings were still referred to as the King’s of Ava.

Situated on the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Myitnge rivers the place was easily defended and today makes a pleasant excursion. The city follows the classic Burmese city plan: fortified with zig zag walls and surrounded by artificial moats linked to the two rivers. The brick walls are still evident, though tumbled down in part. Of the original palace, state offices and regimental quarters little survives, as they were made of wood and relocated to Amarapura in 1837. The area is now under farmland and a horse cart ride through the paddy fields from monument to monument gives a pleasant glimpse of life in rural Burma.

We visit the Bagaya Kyaung, a 200 year old royal monastery made of teak with elaborate wood carvings.