Ayeyarwady River

Ayeyarwady River

Geobox River
name = Ayeyarwaddy
native_name = _my. ဧရာဝတီမြစ်
other_name = Irrawaddy
other_name1 =

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image_caption = Temporary farming settlements on islands of Ayeyarwady River
country = Burma
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city = Mandalay
city1 = Bagan
city2 = Bhamo
length = 2170
watershed = 411000
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source_name = Mali River
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source1_name = N'Mai
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source_confluence_state = Kachin State
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mouth_name = Indian Ocean
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The Ayeyarwady River or Irrawaddy River (MYname|MY=ဧရာဝတီမြစ်|MLCTS=ei: ra wa. ti mrac) is a river that flows from north to south of Burma (Myanmar). It is the country's largest river (about 1350 miles or 2170 km long) and its most important commercial waterway, with a drainage area of about 158,700 square miles (411,000 km²).


The names Irrawaddy and Ayeyarwady are believed to have derived either from the Sanskrit name Iravati, a sacred river and minor goddess in Indian mythology, or from her son Airavata, the elephant mount of Indra.

The Irrawaddy gives its name to a dolphin, the Irrawaddy dolphin ("Orcaella brevirostris"), which is found in the upper reaches of the river and known to help fishermen who practise cast-net fishing. Though sometimes called the Irrawaddy River Dolphin, it is not a true river dolphin, since it is also found at sea. [cite book|url=http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7UEJcYiT5eoC&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=ayeyarwady+river+bridges&source=web&ots=f3lrzEzgC1&sig=I8YRQYYfXoHCsdldo5GZb9zMcCU&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA173,M1|title=Asian Marine Biology 1997:Investigation of Cetaceans in the Ayeyarwady River and Northern Coastal Waters of Myanmar|author=Brian D Smith et al|publisher=Hong Kong University Press|page=173|accessdate=2008-10-06] [cite web|url=http://tinttun.mm.googlepages.com/irrawaddydolphin|title=Irrawaddy Dolphin|author=Tint Tun|accessdate=2008-10-06]


The Ayeyarwaddy starts in the north of Kachin State, at the confluence of the Mali Hka and N'Mai Hka rivers. The western Mali Hka branch arises from the end of the southern Himalayas, north of Putao, and (like the main river) is called Nam Kiu in the Shan language.


The Ayeyarwaddy River bisects the country from north to south and empties through a nine-armed Irrawaddy Delta into the Indian Ocean. In colonial times, before railways and automobiles, the river was known as the "Road to Mandalay". Although navigable by large vessels to Myitkyina for a distance over 1600 km from the ocean, the river is also full of sandbanks and islands, making such navigation difficult.


The upper reaches of the Ayeyarwady is well known for its three narrow gorges between Myitkyina and Mandalay.
#The first defile lies 65 km (40 miles) downstream from Myitkyina.
#The second defile, after it leaves Bhamo and makes a sharp turn west to cut through limestone rocks. It is about 90 m (300 ft) wide at its narrowest, and flanked by vertical cliffs from 60 to 90 m (200-300 ft) high.
#The third defile lies about 100 km (60 miles) north of Mandalay near Mogok. [cite web|url=http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/294719/Irrawaddy-River/48020/Physical-features|title=Irrawaddy River|publisher="Encyclopaedia Britannica" online|accessdate=2008-10-05]


#Shweli River
#Myitnge River
#Mu River
#Chindwin River

Economy and Politics

Major cities and towns

The river flows through the following cities:

* Putao
* Myitkyina
* Bhamo
* Katha
* Kyaukmyaung
* Mandalay
* Sagaing
* Chauk
* Bagan
* Nyaung-U
* Magway
* Pyay
* Hinthada
* Pantanaw


The Ava (Innwa) Bridge, a 16 span rail and road cantilever bridge built by the British colonial government in 1934, was the only bridge to span the Ayeyarwady until recent times when a spate of bridge construction has been carried out by the government. [cite web|url=http://www.myanmar.gov.mm/Perspective/persp2000/8-2000/big.htm|title="Big Push" for Sustained Development|publisher="Perspective", August 2000|accessdate=2008-10-06] [cite web|url=http://www.usda.org.mm/eng/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1054&Itemid=156|title=Roads and Bridges|publisher=Union Solidarity and Development Association April 7, 2006|accessdate=2008-10-06]
#Ayeyarwady Bridge (Yadanabon) just upstream from the old Ava Bridge at Sagaing
#Bala Min Htin Bridge over the N'Mai Hka at Myitkyina, November 1998
#Anawrahta Bridge at Chauk, April 2001 [cite news|url=http://www.myanmargeneva.org/01nlm/n010405.htm#(1)|title=Sr General Than Shwe attends opening of Anawrahta Bridge linking Chauk and Seikphyu on Ayeyawady River|publisher="The New Light of Myanmar", April 5, 2001|accessdate=2008-10-06]
#Ayeyarwady-Magway Bridge at Magway
#Bo Myat Tun Bridge at Nyaungdon, November 1999
#Nawaday Bridge at Pyay, September 1997
#Maubin Bridge at Maubin, February 1998
#Ayeyarwady-Dedaye Bridge at Dedaye [cite web|url=http://www.myanmar.gov.mm/Perspective/persp1999/11-99/bridge.htm|title=The Nation's Longest Bridge Inaugurated|publisher="Perspective", November 1999|accessdate=2008-10-06]



External links

* [http://www.pandaw.com/cruises-myanmar-c-21_22.html Pandaw Irrawaddy River Cruises]
* [http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/shownh.php3?img_id=13663 NASA Earth Observatory]
* [http://images.google.co.uk/images?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&channel=s&hl=en&q=irrawaddy+river&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&resnum=1&ct=title Google image search]
* [http://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/sseop/efs/photoinfo.pl?PHOTO=STS030-151-62 Earth from Space NASA image]

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