The Irrawaddy River, which is more than 2170 km long and covers most of Myanmar, is an important part of the daily needs of local people. For the people of Myanmar, the river brings them water to drink, to transport and to practice spiritual life.
The Irrawaddy River is one of the most important waterways in Myanmar. The river provides a great source of income for local fishers and traders. The name Irrawaddy means "river brings good things for everyone". In the floating season, from May to November, the Irrawaddy River accumulates paddy fields along the flow of the river and gives inhabitants living on riverside water, fish and silt.
The livelihood of the people along the Irrawaddy River has remained almost unchanged for centuries. Every day, children here carry water to their families in the northern city of Bhamo.
Irrawaddy is one of the largest waterway bridges in Myanmar. Near the city center of New Nyein, a cargo ship transports large quantities of straw-covered ceramic vats to Israel, while another was transporting wood to ceramic kilns. A number of other cargo ships are loaded with teak and hardwoods to transport to India and Thailand.
The name Irrawaddy carries a lot of spiritual meaning for people in a Buddhist country like Myanmar. There are a lot of bone-ash basins heading towards Shin U Pa Gota, home of the river spirit, floats along the river on rafts made of bamboo. According to legend, Shin U Pa Gota was a naughty boy until the Buddha met him and taught him the faith to enlighten. Since then, Shin U Pa Gota has spent most of his time practicing Buddhism in Irrawaddy.
The ancient city of Bagan is located in Central Myanamar, with over 2,000 temples and pagodas along the Irrawaddy River. This is also the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, which later formed the ancient Myanmar, from the ninth century to the 13th century.
When fishermen in Mandalay catch enough fish for the family dinner, it is also signaling the sunset. The lucky fishermen can catch a giant catfish on the river. However, the majority of them are often satisfied with fewer catches per day, which is to maintain resources in a country that has just integrated with the world.
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