Pyin U Lwin (Maymyo)
It was the Candacraig-Hotel which attracted me most. I came to Pyin U Lwin in the northern part of Burma on a chilly January day. As many years ago, when I visited Burma the first time, the hotel was still under reconstruction. All what I could do was remembering the place in the book of Paul Theroux’s “The Great Railway Bazaar”. Theroux is a travel writer from the US and I read almost all of his books. He is something like the „Indiana Jones of American literature”. The Candacraig got immortalized by him.
Once the summer capital for the British colonial administration in Burma, Pyin U Lwin retains some of the hill station look that cities like Darjeeling and Simla in India used to have in the 1960s and 1970s. It held its role until the end of British rule in 1948. The name of the town was changed after the British departed.
Because of its history as a summer capital and a military centre of the Indian Army during British times, it has both a large Indian population and strong Anglo-Burmese and Anglo-Indian communities. As a place near the border of China, many Chinese people are also settling down in this pleasant hill town. Marking the town centre is the Purcell Tower, a 1936 clock tower which thinks that it’s Big Ben! At an elevation of 1.070 metres above sea level, there is an abundance of flowers, strawberries, and coffee beans. I enjoyed very much my stroll around the vast Botanical Garden. It was a pleasant atmosphere for some days to chill out.
In 1896 the British established a military post there and the village was named Maymyo (May Town) after the commander of the post, Colonel May, a veteran of the Indian Mutiny. Within a few years, after it was connected to Mandalay by rail, it became the summer residence of the British Government in Burma. A little later, it was made the headquarters of the Burma Division, a largely Gurkha and Indian division, and the remnants of that division forms the core of the “Nepali” population of Pyin U Lwin.