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Author: Laxman Burdak IFS (R)

Dhanyawadi (Hindi: धन्यवती, Burmese: ဓညဝတီ) was the capital of the first Arakanese Kingdom, located in what is now Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar.



The name is a corruption of the Pali word Dhannavati, which means"large area or rice cultivation or the rice bowl" . Like many of its successors, the Kingdom of Dhanyawadi was based on trade between the East (pre-Pagan Myanmar, Pyu, China, the Mons), and the West (India, Bengal, Persia).


The site is approximately 290 km north by north east of Sittwe, and lies between the Kaladan River and Thare Chaung (Thare Stream). Like much of Northern Rakhine State, it is in a hilly locale. Much of it is now deserted, with the only signs of civilisation being the stalls around the Mahamuni and meditation centres, opened to cater to the influx of pilgrims to the Mahamuni shrine (not the Mahamuni Image)

The site can be reached by a one and a half to two hours bus ride from Mrauk U. Up until the mid-1950s, Dhanyawadi could also be reached by boat from the Thare Chaung, but pollution and silting has almost blocked the canal leading to the site.


The city-walls form a perimeter of roughly 10 kilometres, defining the city to about 4.5 square kilometres. Remains of the city wall, and the palace compound are still visible.

It is the most Indianized of the four Arakanese Kingdoms to emerge. Although local legend and folklore claim that the Kingdom of Dhanyawadi existed before the time of the Buddha (before 6th century BC), most archaeological evidence points to a period between the 4th and the 6th century AD.

The most prominent Buddhist site is the Mahamuni Shrine.[1]

According to local legend, the Buddha visited Dhanyawadi during his life. In Dhanyawadi, the noblemen and the affluent donated their wealth and possessions (mainly gold and silver), to be melted and cast into an image of the Buddha. The Buddha is said to have provided seven drops of his sweat, taken from his chest, and the drops were added to the molten metals. This allowed the Mahamuni Image, once cast, to be able to preach the Dhamma.

When Arakan fell to the Burmese in 1785, the Burmese tried to take away the statue back to Amarapura - then, their royal capital. But, here, Burmese and Arakanese sources diverge. The Arakanese claim that Buddha image disappeared - either from the temple, or when the Burmese tried to load it onto an awaiting barge at Thare Chaung. The Burmese, on the other hand, claim that they transported the Maha Muni back to their capital (which was then moved later to Mandalay). But some Burmese academics are now supporting the fact that the Maha Muni never left Rakhine State.

Indian Origin Places in Burma

Dineschandra Sircar[2] writes.... Among Sanskrit-Pali names in Burma, mention may be made of Golanagara or Golamrittikanagara (modern Ayetthema, 20 miles north of Thaton, Gola being supposed to stand for Gauda[3] Kalasapura (to the south eat of Prome near the mouth of Sittang,[4] Ramapura (Moulmein), Ramanyadesh (Lowe Burma)[5] and Shri (Bhamo or Tagaung).[6]. The principalities of Pushkaravati, Trihakumbha, Asitanjana and Ramyanagara were situated in the region of Rangoon, Ramavati and Dhanyavati (modern Rakhaingmyu being situated in Arakan[7] The city of Shrikshetra has been located at Hmawza near Prome. Sudharmapura is modern Thaton and the city of Arimardanapura is Pagan situated in the land of Tattadesha and the kingdom of Tamradvipa [8]


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[9] ने लेख किया है ... धन्यवती (AS, p.462) बर्मा के प्राचीन अराकान के एक भारतीय राज्य की राजधानी थी, जिसका अभिज्ञान वर्तमान राखेंगम्यू से किया गया है। इस राज्य की स्थापना ब्रह्मदेव के अन्य भारतीय उपनिवेशों से बहुत पहले ही, ई. सन से कई सौ वर्ष पूर्व, हुई थी। 146 ई. में धन्यवती के हिन्दू राजा चन्द्रसूर्य के शासन काल में बुद्ध की एक प्रसिद्ध मूर्ति 'महामुनि' नामक गढ़ी गई थी, जिसे समस्त ऐतिहासिक काल में अराकान का इष्टदेव माना जाता रहा था। 789 ई. में महातैनचन्द्र ने धन्यवती को छोड़कर वैशाली में अपनी राजधानी बनाई। ऐसा जान पड़ता है कि महातैनचन्द्र के पिता सूर्यकेतु के राज्यकाल में किसी राजनीतिक क्रांति या युद्ध के कारण धन्यवती की स्थिति बिगड़ गई थी।

Jat History

Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[10] writes .... When the Saka people moved still further in the far eastern countries, they founded a city named Vaisali[11] in Burma, which became the capital of Arakan, ruled over by the Hindu dynasty of

The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations: End of p.196

Dhanyawati from 8th century AD. to 11th century A.D., and which is now identified with Vaithali village, surrounded by monuments ancient Vaisali. It is further interesting to note that the ancient Kambuja[12] (modern Cambodia and Cochin-China, or Kampuchia Kambojia, Thailand-Dahiland?) and Ayuthya = Ayodhya, which was made capital by a chief of Utong, who assumed the title of Ramadhipat in 1350 A.D. in Siam (Thailand or Dahiland) are unmistakably reminicent of the migrations and settlements of the Sakas, Kambojas and probably Manvas (Manns) [13] also in those countries in olden times[14] (For ancient Indian Literature in Java and Bali islands, see Weber, 1914; 189 195, 208,229, 271, 280). Jitra or Jatra, a place name in the plains of Malaya, may well be attributed to the old Saka Jats (Mall or Malli from ancient Malloi) in that peninsula, probably known as Malaya after them.


  1. Hudson, Bob (January 2005). "Ancient geography and recent archaeology: Dhanyawadi, Vesali and Mrauk-U" (PDF). Archaeology Department, University of Sydney, Australia.
  2. Studies in the Geography of Ancient and Medieval India, By Dineschandra Sircar, p.319
  3. ibid.,p.195
  4. ibid.,p.197
  5. ibid.,p.196
  6. ibid.,p.200
  7. Coedes, The Indianised States in South-East Asia,p.329,cf p.156, RC Majumdar,opcit,p.202
  8. RC Majumdar,opcit,p.207
  9. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.462
  10. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The Scythic origin of the Jats, p.196-197
  11. Mathur op.cit., p. 883. Radha Kumud Mukerji, Anc.Ind. Allahabad, 1966, pp. 489f
  12. Radha Kumud Mukerji, op.cit., p. 492.
  13. Ibid. Mathur, op.cit., p. 37. Takakusu, A record of the Buddhist Religion as practised in Ind. and the Malay Archipelago, Delhi, 1966, p. 41. Chaturvedi, Vimalkant: Bankok City of Buddha Temples. in 'The Suman Sauram' (Hind i), Jhandewala Estate, Rani Jhansi Marg, New Delhi, May 1988, p. 49. The city was destroyed by the Burmese army.
  14. Ency. America, No, 28, p.107. about 100,000 Indians [of Jat tribes of Dahiya (Dahae) and Mann?) migrated to Vietnam in prehistoric time. (within brackets mine).