Waithali

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Author: Laxman Burdak IFS (R)

Waithali located in today's northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, was the capital of the Waithali Kingdom from 788 to 1018.[1]

Variants of name

Location

The former capital site is approximately 70 kilometres north-east of Sittwe, and east of Ram Chaung, a tributary of the Kaladan river. Like much of northern Rakhine State, Waithali is in a hilly locale. Like its predecessor, Dhanyawadi, the former capital site has fallen into ruin and much of it is now deserted. Only a few temples and traces of the old city wall remain. The site is about an hour's bus ride from Mrauk U.

Etymology

Waithali is the Burmese language pronunciation of the Pali word Vesali.

History

It has been estimated that the centre of power of the Arakanese world shifted from Dhanyawadi to Waithali in the 6th century AD. Although it was established later than Dhanyawadi, Waithali is the most Indianized of the four Arakanese kingdoms to emerge. Like all of the Arakanese Kingdoms to emerge, the Kingdom of Waithali was based on trade between the East (Pyu city-states, China, the Mons), and the West (India, Bengal, and Persia).

According to the Anandacandra Inscription, carved in 729 AD, the subjects of the Waithali Kingdom practiced Mahayana Buddhism, and proclaims that the ruling dynasty of the kingdom were descendants of Shiva.

Some important and badly damaged life-size Buddha images were recovered from Letkhat-Taung, a hill east of the old palace compound. These statues are invaluable in helping to understand the Waithalian architecture, and also the extent of Indian influence in the kingdom.

According to local legend, Shwe-taung-gyi (lit. Great Golden Hill), a hill north-east of the palace compound may be a burial place of a 10th-century Pyu king.

The rulers of the Waithali Kingdom were of the Chandra dynasty, so called because of their usage of Chandra on the Waithali coins. The Waithali period is seen by many as the beginning of Arakanese coinage - which was almost a millennium earlier than the Burmese. On the reverse of the coins, the Srivatsa (Arakanese/Burmese: Thiriwutsa), while the obverse bears a bull, the emblem of the Chandra dynasty, under which the name of the King is inscribed in Sanskrit.


The Kingdom eventually declined after the immigration of the Tibeto-Burmese (the Burmese) from Tibet in the 10th century.

Jat History

Hukum Singh Panwar (Pauria)[2] writes .... When the Saka people moved still further in the far eastern countries, they founded a city named Vaisali[3] 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[4] (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) [5] also in those countries in olden times[6] (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.

References

  1. Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur P. Phayre (1883). History of Burma (1967 ed.). London: Susil Gupta. pp. 298–299.
  2. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The Scythic origin of the Jats, p.196-197
  3. Mathur op.cit., p. 883. Radha Kumud Mukerji, Anc.Ind. Allahabad, 1966, pp. 489f
  4. Radha Kumud Mukerji, op.cit., p. 492.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).