Vesali

The ancient city of Wethali was founded by King Dvan Sandra in 327 A.D. It is about 8 km to the north of Mrauk U. By jeep it takes about half an hour from Mrauk U to Wethali. The Great Wethali Payagyi, the 17 feet high Buddha image is said to be made from a single piece of boulder. Chronicles say that it was donated by Queen Thupaba-Devi, the Chief Queen of King Maha Taing Candra, the founder of Vesali. This ancient Buddha image in the Bhumi-sparsa or Earth-touching Mudra, is one of the oldest Buddha images in the whole country, but unfortunately the original features have been largely lost due to later renovation. Old brick walls of the city can still be traced and the archaeological department has excavated five sites so far. Stone sculptures, coins and many stone artifacts were unearthed and are now in display at Mrauk U museum and some monasteries at Mrauk U. Dating from 327 to 1018 A.D, Vesali is pre-Bagan and contemporaneous with Pyu cities like Beithano and Hanlin in central Myanmar. Excavations carried out in 1980 to 1984 revealed some Buddhist religious buildings, one probably an ordination hall or sima, and also parts of the city wall and sandstone inscriptions. The Ananda Candra pillar inscription now housed in the Shit-thaung Pagoda of Mrauk U was originally from Vesali and records about twenty Kings who ruled there. Vesali is undoubtedly one of the earliest Buddhist cities in Myanmar. There are also some ancient Vishnu Images of 6th century within the Wethali village. Visitors go up the 510 feet mound near the old Abaungdaw moat to Thaung-gyatt-taw (or frontlet Relic) Pagoda for a panoramic view of the old city now covered by forest trees with a couple of village lying in between some farm land.

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