Oh Naw Bu Baw!

You are my special angel Sent from up above The Lord smiled down on me And sent an angel to love I was on the hilltop 4,050 feet above sea level. I was humming a song. I couldn't stop staring the clouds. Because I have just prayed and made a childish wish. May thy lord hear this. May thy special angel be sent from heaven to love us. Amen! The top of the hill was often misty. When I looked up at the hill from far away, it was like a lady in white clothes.

I continued to sing a song. But I was thinking about Naw Bu Baw, the hill I was on.

It was after the lady who was a daughter of the king of the sea. I have heard this story many times before. The girl from the sea seems the little mermaid to me. The local guide told me about this tragic story again. But I felt strange that time. I was in the mist and imagined the beautiful Naw Bu Baw in my mind. I think it's time to tell you the story.

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Naw Bu Baw. She was a daughter of the king of the sea. I once thought she was a mermaid. Naw is the honorific for women in Kayin usage. And the legend says she is very beautiful lady in her world. She possessed a magical silver comb which made her shine like the sun when she had it in her hair and made her invisible when she put it under her feet. She also had a magical cooking pot, which enabled her to cook a full pot of rice from only half a grain of rice and with a grain of rice she could feed a whole household.

Although one of the princesses of the almighty king of the sea, she was the most famous maiden and kind-hearted one. King Thakuou and the kingdom believed that she brought the happiness and enrichments.

But one day, a courageous prince named Saw Thaw Oh Khwa came across the mountains with his father King Thamiei. He is also the great general in his kiku tribe kingdom. The mountain King was supposed to find a beautiful daughter-in-law for his son.

In brief, the prince and the princess met each other and loved at first sight. They married and she followed her husband’s country.

Because of her beauty and magical stuffs, some local were jealous of her and some thought that she was a witch. The Prince and the newly married Princess were very much in love with each other and roamed these lovely hills and mountains, stream and meadows together.

And one day again, the Prince had to repulse the invading enemies at the eastern mountains. The lovely and faithful Princess gave him the magical comb to be invisible.

The Prince won the battle and he took of the comb under his feet.

But unfortunately, the last enemy who was unconscious saw him and shot the Prince with poison dart from behind.

The Prince died. The local blamed Naw Bu Baw and accused her for the death. She was forced to be imprisoned in a rock cavern at the highest peak of the Dawparkho Range.

Some said she was killed by the evil spirits. However, the Sea King heard the sad news, he was very furious and overflown the range with his tidal flood. Everyone in the region was turned to statues and stones. The sadness legend ends here. But not the romance.

Many centuries later, at the end of the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852, when lower Myanmar was annexed, the British first developed Thandaung as a hill resort.

In 1883, two years before the last Myanmar King in Mandalay was deposed, Thandaung became a military sanatorium for soldiers recovering from wounds and diseases. After that, the town became a civil station. I saw that some houses were built in the colonial style.

I was told by the local guide that the Taungoo District Gazetteer, published in 1914, said “There is a licensed shop for the retail vend of foreign spirit and foreign fermented liquor", probably meaning that whisky and wine were easily available there for visitors.

Nowadays locals can visit to an old Baptist Church called Zion Hill Church, an Anglican Church and an old Roman Catholic Church around Thandaung. This also shows that there is a complete freedom of worship in Myanmar.

There is an odd boat-shaped chapel on the peak, evoking the biblical tale of Noah’s ark.

A small blue sign indicates the precariously positioned rock on which Naw Bu Baw’s witchcraft trial took place.

Along the way are small prayer rooms for solitude-seeking pilgrims.

The mountain was named after her and nowadays it is known as Naw Bu Baw prayer mountain. It is now topped by what must be one of the biggest Christian crosses in Myanmar.

Thandaung Gyi is located 44 kilometers (27 miles) east of Taungoo.

There’s a relatively new town named Thandaung Lay and established in 1959 as the township’s new administrative center. It sits along the bank of the rolling, monsoon-swollen Pathi Creek on 100 acres of shady land that double as a 20,000-tree betel nut plantation.

The way to Thandaung Gyi is via Thandaung Lay from Taungoo. Visitor can take arranged trip or can take a private car from Taungoo. Mountain folks and the various races of local people are Kayin and Gurkhas who were brought by the British.

Visitors are always warmly welcomed with their simple smiles. Maybe the love of the Prince and the Princess shroud the range of mountains.

Thandaung area seems always in peace. Every scene from there is always green and fresh.

I think the legend may not be last. But the true romance is