Country - Myanmar

Myanmar

Burma (Myanmar​) Country Information

Burma is the former name of the country `Myanmar’ in South East Asia although the name Burma is still in use within the country as well as in several other nations.  In Vedic age, Hindu religion had profound influence in the Asian continent. The name “Burma” is claimed by some to have been derived from the Sanskrit word Brahma Desh or Brahma. According to Hindu religion, Brahma is the God of Creations or the Creator of Universe, one of the Divine Trinity, the other two being Lord Vishnu (the God of nurturing life and well-being) and Lord Shiva (the God for end of life and melting of departed soul into divinity).

Myanmar is bordered by India in most of the western side and to a small extent by Bangladesh. Its south western border and the entire border is covered by Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. The north western border is bounded by China and a greater part of south eastern border by Thailand. A small part of eastern border is shared by Laos. The earlier capital city of Myanmar was Rangoon (Yangon) which was later shifted to Nyapidaw. Burmese is the official language and the most ancient style of Buddhism, known as Theravada Buddhism is the main religion in the country.

Myanmar became an independent republic from Britain in 1948 but eventually came under military rule in 1962 which seemed to last till 1990. After three decades of military suppression, the people in the country participated in general elections when Aung San Suu Kyi won a sweeping victory who went on to get Nobel Peace Prize in 1961, in recognition of her endless struggle against despotism and for protection of human rights. However, the military rulers did not cede power and continued the totalitarian policies for a further period of two more decades. Amid widespread protests against dictatorship, elections were again held in 2010 when Aung San Suu Kyi who had been under house-arrest reemerged victorious and the presidency was restored in 2011. Even after the change in political scene, the military forces have not completely lost their influence in the governance. The general elections held in November 2015 led to assuming the post of President by Htin Kyaw; and Aung San Suu Kyi was elected in 2016 to the newly created post State Counsellor, a role similar to Prime Minister.

Prolonged military rule suppressing human rights, excessive bias on enjoying sovereignty by military junta vis-à-vis economic progress, ever-present internal conflicts, negligence on proper utilisation of natural resources and the worst-ever devastation by Cyclone Nargis in 2008 which was believed to have killed two lakhs of people, causing massive destruction of personal property worth US$10 billion were observed to have kept the country in an impoverished state.

Myanmar exports mainly mineral fuels including oil, clothing/accessories, vegetables, sugar, cereals, fish, gems, precious metals and the total value of exported goods was US $11.7 billion as of 2017. The gross value of imports was US $17.42 billion with the main items of import being fuel, vegetable oil, vehicles, pharmaceutical products, construction equipment, polymers, tyres and machinery.

Myanmar has quite considerable worth seeing places that can be perceived as special tourist attractions. Bagan is the city famous for being the place of hundreds of ancient temples. The entire cluster of temples spread over the city of 25 square miles can be seen better by floating in hot air balloons. However, when you walk to the temples, you come across different sizes of temples, some of which are very big and some of them too small to accommodate a single person. The most massive temple is the gold-domed Schwedagon Pagoda surrounded by several smaller structures and the placed is said to be the most sacred in Myanmar. The city is more noted as a suitable place for watching sunrise as well as sunset in the horizon.

Bagan city can also be visited by travelling in a glass-less window train that traces a big circular path that can be covered in a few hours. The Snake Temple in the midst of water body is accessible by a causeway bridge and is an abode for monks who live together with snakes, perplexing the visitors spookily. The U Bein Bridge in Mandalay is a dilapidated structure but it attracts the attention of tourists with thousands of wooden pillars erected in shallow waters propping the horizontal ramp without banisters or balustrades. The three-fourth mile long walkway leads visitors to the ancient royal palace, situated in the erstwhile capital of Myanmar in historic times.

Myanmar is a place that does not burn a hole in the pocket of tourists irrationally. It is a proper place for visitors who like to visit the sites of ancient temple complexes, monasteries and wide landscapes.