The Ayeyarwady River (formerly known as the Irrawaddy River) flows through the centre of Myanmar. It is Myanmar's most important commercial waterway. Its total drainage area is about 158,700 square miles (411,000 square km). It is about 1,550 km (960 miles) long.
Temporary farming settlements on islands of Ayeyarwaddy River
The Ayeyarwaddy River starts in Kachin State, at the confluence of the Mali Hka and Mai Hka rivers. The western Mali Hka branch arises from the end of the southern Himalayas, north of Putao, and is called Nam Kiu in the Shan language.
The Ayeyarwaddy River dissects the country from north to south and empties through a nine armed delta into the Indian Ocean. In colonial times, before railways and automobiles, the river was known as the "Road to Mandalay".
Although navigable by large vessels to Myitkyina for a distance over 1600 km from the ocean, the river is also full of sandbanks and islands, making such navigation difficult. For many years, the only bridge built to cross the Ayeyarwaddy River was the Inwa Bridge.
The name "Ayeyarwaddy" is believed to have derived from the Sanskrit term "airavati", meaning "elephant river".
The Irrawaddy gives its name to a dolphin, the Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevistosus)which is found in the river. Though sometimes called the Irrawaddy River Dolphin, it is not a true river dolphin, since it is also found at sea.Thanlwin River
The Thanlwin River (formerly named as Salween or Salwin) rises in Tibet, after which it flows through Yunnan, where it is known as the Nujiang river, although either name can be used for the whole river.
The river is long 2815 km. It then leaves China and meanders through Myanmar and Thailand on its way to emptying in the Andaman Sea by Mawlamyaing.Chindwin River
The Chindwin River is a river in Myanmar and the major tributary of the Ayeyarwaddy River. The river flows 840 kilometres to join the Ayeyarwaddy.
The Chindwin river is 750 miles from north to south. However, she is the biggest tributary of the mighty Ayeyarwaddy and spills her strength into the longer river at a place not far from Mandalay, an old city that is the heart of Myanmar.
It runs through misty-blue mountains and charming towns and villages, proudly running through a region of abundant natural resources and fertile meadows.
The Chindwin Valley is a place of deep jungles and lofty mountains. The cultures of the inhabitants are more unspoilt, and the towns and villages lining the river bank. The marvellous Thanboddhay Pagoda of Monywa and the cave pagodas of Hpowintaung and Shwebataung, are in the Chindwin valley.
Another natural wonder is an extinct volcano crater producing natural Spirulina. It is grown in many parts of the world but this is a rare natural find, the blue-green algae growing organically in a nature-made lake.
Spirulina is rich in protein, minerals, amino acids, iron, beta-carotene, vitamins B and E. International researchers have found that it probably stimulates the immune system, and may have antiviral and anticancer effects. It is widely consumed in Myanmar.
No organisms can survive to pollute the waters in which this algae grows, so Spirulina is one of the cleanest, most naturally sterile foods found in nature.
Along the Chindwin river bank are Kyaukkar village, producing lacquer ware products, Kani town which has been known as the birthplace of learned nobles and wealthy merchants of the ancient times, Kalewa town, the point where the Myit Thar River joins the Chindwin River.
There are also Allaungdaw Katthapa Wild Life Sanctuary, and Pyingago and Padauk wood, and Thanakha wood, forest products.
Also to go to Naga New Year festival, one has to travel up the Chindwin river reaching the Homemalin Town.
Settlements along the Chindwin River include Shwebo, which was the royal capital from 1760-1764.Sittaung River
Sittaung river lies in east-central Myanmar, rising northeast of Yamethin on the edge of the Shan Plateau and flowing south for 260 miles (420 km) to empty into the Gulf of Martaban of the Andaman Sea.
The broad Sittaung River valley lies between the forested Bago Mountains on the west and the steep Shan Plateau on the east and holds the main road and railway from Yangon (Rangoon) to Mandalay as well as the major towns of Bgo, Taungoo, Yamethin, and Pyinmana.
The river is navigable for 25 miles (40 km) year-round and for 55 miles (90 km) during three months of the year. The Sittaung is used to float timber, particularly teak, south for export.
Its lower course is linked by canal to Bago River. This canal, built to bypass the tidal bore that afflicted the mouth of the Sittaung, once provided the only route from Yangon to Taungoo.