The Burmese Himalaya: Some Facts
"Sunset over the Irrawaddy" © 2009 edbrambley, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license
If you travel to Burma with Mountain Kingdoms, you will see that the country's northern most mountains offer a wondrous landscape to explore; with scenery and culture that is different to the rest of the country.
Part of the Himalaya mountain range, these mountains are significant to the country as a whole, through their effect on weather and climate, and their influence on myths and folklore.
Perhaps the most significant connection between the stunning mountains of the far north and the rest of the country is the famous Ayeyarwady River, which has captivated people who travel to Burma through the ages with its broad, meandering serenity. Himalayan springs are the source of many important Asian rivers, and the Ayeyarwady is fed by several eastern Himalayan rivers, becoming the mighty waterway that irrigates the country, bringing many their livelihoods.
The most popular time to travel to Burma is the late autumn to early spring, as the weather is dry and slightly cooler, making it more comfortable to travel. In Rangoon, in the south of the country, the average temperature is about 30 °c, but due to the elevation of the Himalaya, in the far north of the country, mountains remain snow capped all year round.
Another key way in which the Burmese relate to this great mountain range is through their legends and folklore. As in many countries with Hindu or Buddhist traditions, the Himalaya are associated with certain gods and mythical places. Many of the heroes of Burmese folklore – such as the alchemist Zawgyi, a popular character in folk dances – are said to have resided in the lush forests of the Himalayan foothills.