Karachi Photo Blog

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A bridge made of teak

Historically, powerful kingdoms of Myanmar were formed around Amarapura (now part of Mandalay) and Mandalay--the Irrawaddy River being the life line of this central region.  The British entered Myanmar—just like they entered South Asia--from the sea and developed Yangon as the capital.  And this is how see Mandalay and Yangon: Mandalay being from the time of innocence and self-sustenance when all the needs of the local population could be met with indigenous resources; Yangon from the time of international trade and increased dependence on others.  Mandalay being the real Myanmar; Yangon being the Myanmar the colonial masters wanted to see.
Taungthaman Lake, south of Mandalay, is a natural depression acting as a catch basin for the rainwater falling on higher elevation areas east of Irriwaddy River (and east of Taungthaman Lake).  The lake water drains into the Irriwaddy River through a narrow stream.  The U Bein (U Pain) bridge—Burmese speakers, please tell us how U Bein (U Pain) should be pronounced—is over the narrow middle part of the Taungthaman Lake, running east-west and connecting the rural parts of the area to the urban sprawl of Mandalay.
Here you see the historical U Pain bridge, as seen from its west end.


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