Inwa Watch Tower
Inwa Watch Tower
I returned to the back of the horse and cart and as it had been such a bumpy ride, suggested Bear settle in the seat beside our driver. While that was going on I asked our driver to smile. It was then, in the sunshine I saw that he hadn’t dyed his hair so much as painted his head and only hope he doesn’t get a bad reaction to the stuff.
I have to admit to being fascinated and wondered what happened when it rained, fortunately eyebrows seem unaffected or is that just a rogue grey one that has survived unnoticed.......
We left the bumpy road that we had been on for a little while and I actually took this picture of a white pagoda feeling quite comfy.
Things deteriorated to awful lumps and I watched as one lady shot off her bike and into the ditch. She seemed unhurt but took to pushing her charge, slowly. Meanwhile, I was clinging on with both hands as the cart lurched, trying not to get a back injury. Our driver seemed oblivious, Bear was seated happily next to him, Nanya the pony was trotting normally, so it was only me that thought a washing machine would be a more stable ride. It seemed to go on for such a long time and I was relieved when we came to a stop.
Shaken not stirred as Bear help to tip me out of my random position. We looked up at the Watch Tower. Such a pity I was groaning as I missed the chance to nail a gorgeous elephant screen in teak for seven pounds as I hung out for five. Grrr.
The area intrigued us so later we read a bit more.
As early as 1310 this area had been seen as a potential capital by King Thihathu but he went on to choose Pinya, not too far away in 1313 as he felt the area held bad omens. The area sits on the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Myitnge Rivers and being very fertile it became the major rice producer for the district. (King Thihathu’s official regal title was Thiri Tri Bawana Ditaya Pawara Thiha Thura Dhamma Yaza). He chose his adopted son to be his successor, a choice not too popular with his eldest son who was sent off to an outpost in the north. The adopted son died and his queen married Thihapate who became king.
King Thihapate appointed his fifteen-year old stepson governor of an area far to the north, with the title Thado Minbya as his late father had been a hereditary ruler of the garrison town. Much raiding went on between 1362 and 1363, the teenage prince barely escaped on a single war elephant. He came south, waited for his stepfather and in the meantime had the local king executed and assumed the role. Inwa was officially founded on the 26 of February 1365 on a man-made island. This connected the Irrawaddy River on the east with a canal and some smaller lakes and swamps completed the landfill.
So, King Thihathu's great-grandson, the new king Thado Minbya managed to bring some peace and tried to unify the central kingdoms of Sagaing and Pinya. Sadly, he died of smallpox at the age of twenty-one having only been king for two years. but he had made it his task to stamp out corruption within the Buddhist monks. Although married he left no heir.
Inwa or Ava was the capital city from time to time between 1365 to 1842, but finally abandoned and left to crumble after a series of earthquakes that began on the 22nd of March 1839, Tremors were felt for days and many lost their lives. King Tharrawaddy then moved the capital to Amarapura where he built his palace, and his government got down to business in March 1842.
Not allowed to enter – for safety reasons, we had to be content to walk around the Watch Tower.
Quite something the angle of one of the walls here, I got Bear to pose.
Too soon I was folded back into the cart. The road was not quite as bumpy and I could return to my fascination. This time the painted neck and a couple of shirt dollops. To my great relief this journey was not too long.
ALL IN ALL SHAME WE COULDN’T CLIMB TO THE TOP
A JAUNTY ANGLE