Monday, December 24, 2012

Thein Sein visits King Thibaw’s palace in India

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Monday, 24 December 2012 10:03 Ko Pauk

Burmese President Thein Sein returned home from the 20th ASEAN-India Commemorative summit on Saturday, but not before taking a flight to Ratnagiri where he visited the palace of deposed King Thibaw, the last monarch of Burma.

The last king of Burma, Thibaw Min (right), pictured with Queen Supayalat and her sister Princess Supayaji, was forcibly sent into exile in India after being deposed in a war with British colonialists in 1885.

Thein Sein spent two hours at the palace, which housed the last king of the Konbaung Dynasty and his family after he was forced into exile by British colonizers in 1885.

President Thein Sein is the first Burmese head of state to visit the last residence of King Thibaw. He laid a wreath at the king’s tomb, the consul-general from Burmese embassy, Ba Hla Aye, said.

“We visited two tombs where King Thibaw, his queen consort Suu Phayalay, and his daughter were entombed. Some said King Thibaw and his queen consort were entombed in the same tomb and the princess was interred in another. We saw these tombs, laid wreaths, and chanted Metta [love],” he told Mizzima.

Then the President and his entourage visited Thibaw Palace, before meeting with some of Thibaw’s descendents.

The Burmese President was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Culture Than Swe and the grandson of King Thibaw, Soe Win, a former Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Ministry.

“The mansion is empty,” explained Ba Hla Aye. “Only a small room upstairs is preserved as a small museum and exhibit chairs and beds, etc. But the staircase was dilapidated and the Indian authorities suggested that our President not go upstairs to see it. This museum and mansion are the under protection of the Indian Archeological and Museum Department.”

King Thibaw resided in exile at the palace in Ratnagiri, which is more than 200 km south of Mumbai on the Arabian Sea coast, until he died there in 1916 at the age of 57.

President Thein Sein reportedly said that he was glad to see these historical monuments were preserved and maintained by India.

“During our visit there, we were told that the Indian government had allotted 25 million rupees (US $450,000) for repairs and renovations of the palace and tombs,” Ba Hla Aye said.

“The President met a great-grandson and four great-great-grandsons of King Thibaw at the Ratnagiri District Deputy Commissioner’s office and had a chat with them. Then he gave them some pocket money,” the ad interim Consul-General said.

President Thein Sein also briefly visited a small mansion where King Thibaw was initially sheltered before being placed in the Ratnagiri Palace.

After conquering much of Burma in the Third Anglo-Burmese War in 1885, the British sent King Thibaw and his queen and princesses to Madras, India, and dissolved the Konbaung Dynasty.

Under British rule, the last Burmese king was sent to India while the last King of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was sent to Rangoon where he lived until his death in 1862.

During a visit to Burma in May this year, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the tomb of this Moghul king and paid homage.
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One Response so far.

  1. That was really educative. Thanks for sharing information about Thibaw Palace, one of the popular tourist attraction in Ratnagiri district. Apart from it, check out various other famous places to visit in Ratnagiri.

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