As early as the time of King Ashoka of India, monks were sent to Thaton, a trading centre in Southern Myanmar, to spread Buddha’s teachings. From the first century C.E. onwards, trade, between India and Myanmar expanded and there was increased contact with Indian traders and their religious beliefs.
India has been particularly influential in Burmese culture which has been the cradle of Buddhism, and ancient Hindu traditions can still be seen in important ceremonies such as weddings and in the Burmese New Year festival Thingyan. While majority in Myanmar are Buddhists, they believe in astrology, which originated from Hindu Brahminism.
The Shwedagon Pagoda also know in English as Golden Pagoda, is a 99 metres gilded pagoda and stupa located in Yangon, Myanmar and is one of the most revered pilgrimage spots for Buddhism followers all over the world. Bagan is an ancient city located in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Kingdom of Pagan, the first kingdom to unify the regions that would later constitute modern Myanmar. During the kingdom’s height between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were constructed in the Bagan plains alone, of which the remains of over 2200 temples and pagodas still survive to the present day. This destination is of importance to Buddhism followers in India too.
The bond across the borders is also built by way of food, language, communication and commerce… the building blocks of social bridging.With such religious and cultural similarities between the two nations, the Indo-Myanmar alliance is bound to lead the way for bigger avenues of economic growth and development between these two countries.