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Anawrahta ( ; 1014-1077) was the founder of the Pagan Empiremarker and the first ruler of a unified Burmamarker (Myanmar).

His father was Kunhsaw Kyaunghpyu, who took the throne of Pagan from Nyaung-u Sawrahan and in turn was overthrown by the sons of Nyaung-u Sawrahan, Kyiso and Sokka-te, who forced Kunhsaw Kyaunghpyu to become a monk. When Anawrahta came of age, he challenged the surviving brother Sokka-te to single combat and slew him. Anawrahta offered to return rulership to his father, who refused and remained a monk, so he took the throne in 1044.

He made a pilgrimage to Ceylonmarker, returning to convert his country from Ari Buddhism to Theravada Buddhism. To further this goal he appointed Arahan, a famous Mon monk of Thatonmarker. In 1057 he invaded Thatonmarker under the premise that they had refused to lend Pagan the Pali Tipitaka, and successfully returned with the Mon king Manuha as prisoner. From 1057-1059 he took an army to Nanzhao to seek a Buddha's tooth relic. As he returned, Shan chiefs swore allegiance to him, and he married Saw Mon Hla, princess of the Shan chief of Moguang. In 1071 Anawrahta received the complete Tipitaka from Sri Lankamarker. Buddhists from Dai regions (southern Yunnanmarker and Laosmarker), Thailandmarker, and Indiamarker (where Buddhism had been oppressed) came to study in Pagan as Anawrahta moved the center of Burmese Buddhism north from Thaton.

He also built the famous Shwezigon Pagodamarker.

In the end, Anawrahta was successful in his quest, and Theravada Buddhism became the dominant religion in Burma within two centuries.


Anawrahta Street (Fraser Street) in Yangonmarker is named after him.


External links

  • Maung Htin Aung, A History of Burma. 1967.
  • G. E. Harvey, History of Burma. 1967.

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