Traditional Culture

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Arakan has a rich traditional culture, largely characterised in its literature, music, dance and religious buildings. Evidence of early literature can be found in the region dating back to first century AD. It is believed that Rakha Wanna (Arakanese alphabet) evolved from the Brahmin languages of Northern India.


Traditional cultureArakan, the land of the great image, traditionally professes Theravada Buddhism. Almost 100% of the Arakanese are Buddhists and the religion is an important element of Arakanese nationality. It is believed that the Arakanese have been learning the teachings of Buddhism since Gautama Buddha visited Arakan during the reign of King Sanda Surira in the 6th century BC. There are hundreds of ancient pagodas, temples and shrines in Arakan State to this day, especially in the old capital, Mrauk-U.


The most famous of these works is the Mahamuni Buddha Image that is now in Mandalay in central Burma. The Buddha statue was taken from Kyauktaw Township in 1784 by King Bodawpaya as one of many spoils of war. It is 4 metres high, and the statue is made of bronze, weighing 6.5 tones. Archaeologists believe the image was probably cast during the reign of King Chandra Surya, who ascended the throne in AD 146, some 600 years after the Buddha actually passed away.

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