History of Taunggyi, Myanmar

The Guan Yin Buddhist Monastery (Kwan Yin Si Hpaya Kyaung) in Taunggyi serves the local Chinese community.

Taunggyi is the largest and capital city of Shan State, Myanmar. It lies on the Thazi-Kyaingtong road at an elevation of 1,436 m (4,712 feet), just north of Shwenyaung and Inle Lake within the Myelat region.

The name Taunggyi directly means “huge mountain” in the Burmese language and is titled after the ridge on the city’s east, part of the Shan Hills system, whose striking high point is called Taung-Chun or “The Spur.” Locally this spur is commonly known as Phaya Taung. The ridge has a more prominent and more widespread feature known as Chauk Talone, which means the Craigs.

History – Taunggyi

Before the British invasion, Taunggyi, a part of Ancient India, was a small village with a few huts. The region lay on a broad shoulder of the Sittaung Hills of the Shan Hills and was populated by the Shan people during those days.

The Shan people, also known as Dai or Tai Yai, are a Tai ethnic group. The Shan presently the most significant minority of Myanmar (Burma) and primarily live in the Shan State of this nation, but also inhabit parts of Kachin State, Mandalay Region, and Kayin State, and in nearby regions of Assam (Ahom people), China (Dai people), Laos, and Thailand.

The Shan have inhabited Taunggyi and other parts of modern-day Burma as far back as the 7th century CE. Agriculture and tribal trade was the main source of economy for The Shan People in Taunggyi.

With the Shans, Hindu tribes from Ancient India survived and thrived in the region as well. Numerous Hindu and Buddhist temples from that era authenticate this. However, Hindus migrated towards India and parts of Laos after a Hindu-Buddhist conflict that regionally occurred in the 13th Century CE.

The Burmese king Bayinnaung conquered the region in 1557 CE. Shans were a significant part of Burmese forces in the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1824 CE-1826 CE and fought bravely—a fact even the invading British commanders acknowledged.

Around the British occupation of Ancient India, the village became the primary city and capital of the Southern Shan Territories. Taunggyi’s modern expansion began in 1894 CE when the British invaders moved their administrative departments from Fort Stedman (Maing Thauk ) to Inle Lake’s eastern shores to the higher elevation of Taunggyi for geographical and health reasons. Although geographically within the Yawnghwe state, the town was indicated as a “notified area” by the British, exempt from the Sawbwa’s power.

By 1906 CE, there existed a thousand houses. Because of exclusive civil unrest throughout the Shan States during the early 1900s CE, Taunggyi served as the chief garrison for the British military police. Taunggyi also served as a supply center for the Shan States and catered to persons of numerous nationalities.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.