Arakan History

The people of Rakhine claim a history that began in 3325 BC and archaeological evidence has been found to support this claim. The first independent Rakhine kingdom was established in 3325 BC by King Marayu. Buddhism was introduced into Rakhine during the lifetime of Buddha himself. According to Rakhine Chronicles, Buddha in his lifetime visited the city of Dhannyawadi (Grain Blessed) in 554 BC The Rakhine king Sandar Suriya (Sun Moon) requested Buddha to leave the image of Himself. After casting the Great Image Maha Muni, (Great Sage) Buddha breathed upon it which resembled the exact likeness of the Blessed One.
Ancient Dhannyawadi, lies west of the mountain ridge between the Kaladan and Le-mro riv¬ers. Dhannyawadi could be reached by small boat from the Kaladan via its tributary, the Tharechaung. Its city walls were made of brick, and form an irregular circle with a perimeter of about 9.6 km, enclosing an area of about 4.42 square km. Beyond the walls, the remains of a wide moat, now silted over and covered by paddy fields, are still visible in places. The re¬mains of brick fortifications can be seen along the hilly ridge which provided protection from the west. Within the city, a similar wall and moat enclose the palace site, which has an area of 0.26 square km, and another wall surrounds the palace itself.
At times of insecurity, when the city was subject to raids from the hill tribes or attempted invasions from neigh¬boring powers, there would have been an assured food supply enabling the population to withstand a siege. The city would have controlled the valley and the lower ridges, supporting a mixed wet-rice and taungya (slash and burn) economy, with local chiefs paying allegiance to the king.
From aerial photographs we can discern Dhannyawadi's irri¬gation channels and storage tanks, centered at the palace site. Throughout the history of Rakhine, and indeed the rest of early Southeast Asia, the king's power stemmed from his control of irrigation and water storage systems to conserve the monsoon rains and therefore to maintain the fertility and prosperity of the land. In ceremonies conducted by Indian Brahmins the king was given the magic power to regulate the celestial and terrestrial forces in order to control the coming of the rains which would ensure the continuing prosperity of the kingdom.
Period Years Ruler Notes