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Irrawaddy, river of Myanmar

Irrawaddy, river of Myanmar

Being labelled as "the river of Myanmar," Irrawaddy does have vital roles to play. Not only this river provides water for farming, but its presence creates the country sole water-highway for communication across the whole nation.

The legends of Kachin tell about the Great Spirit of the world, which housed on the peak of the Great Himalayan peaks, poured water from two gold cups. These two cups become the mother of two rivers respectively: Mai Kha from the cup of the right hand, Mali Kha from the left. They join the confluence north of the capital of the Kachin State to give birth to Ayeyarwaddy River.

Irrawaddy is Myanmar's largest river and the most important one. The numbers of city locate along the river, ports built for navigation operations and bridges to connect both sides of the banks are evidence of the essence of this river. The river flows about 2170 km, or 1350 miles, from north to south where it empties to the Andaman Sea (of Indian Ocean). The largest tributary of the river is the Chindwin River.

The accessibility of the river is quite extensive. The river is navigable by streamers all year as far north as Bhamo where they can sail for not further than 1400 km. However, during the monsoon season, the river can not be travelled by boats, as a result from its increasing speed and strength of water flow.

Irrawaddy watershed covers over 411,000 km2 allows Burmese people to use them for farming and living. The town of Bhumo is the northern most city of Irrawaddy where Myitkyina is the southern most. In ancient time, people used this river to travel to various cities throughout the country. Up until 1934, the mean of crossing the river is by ferry. After the arrival of the British Colonial Government who seeks prosperity and resources of the country, built the only one bridge of that time. There are about 9 bridges connecting at the present time, which most of them are built by the Burmese Government after winning the independence from the British. Yangon port is being the most important checkpoint along the river. Other ports along Irrawaddy include Katha, Mandalay, Myingyan and Prome (Pye).

The delta of the rivers shall be the most important part of this river where it is said to be the providers of fertilized soil for the land. The delta can be found between Henzada and Yangon river. People can find rare views as well as celestial landscape in the vicinity of the river. The river itself used to experience bombing during the world war II and used to be home of two monastery on the foot of Mandalay Hill.

The river also gives its name to a dolphin, the Irrawaddy Dolphin which is known in technical terminology as Orcaella Brevirostris.

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