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Treasured tales- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Upon visiting Bengaluru for the second time, Dr U Moe Kyaw Aung, Ambassador of Myanmar, was spending quality time in the city which was long overdue. Aung, who is here on a three-day tour, says, “My first visit was only for a few hours since we immediately left for Hampi. I have heard so much about Bengaluru, so I always wanted to be here.” In honour of the Ambassador’s visit, a special evening was hosted by Vinod Hayagriv, managing director of C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers.

It is quite common to hear from jewellery lovers about their fondness for Burmese rubies, and it’s safe to say that every lady’s jewel box contains at least one ornament studded with this precious stone. Aung takes pride in coming from the land of rubies, and says he learnt even more about different gems in Bengaluru. “Even though Myanmar is known for its rubies, I learnt about gemology here and saw many different kinds of precious stones,” says Aung, who was accompanied by his wife , Nilar Aung. Aung finds the similarities between India and Myanmar to be uncanny, owing to the long and shared history.

“The cultural, commercial, and traditional history of India and Myanmar goes back over 100 years. We have been trading with India since the Chola empire. Also, the majority of our people are Buddhist, which is a religious and cultural identity we share with India. Bollywood is also quite popular in Myanmar,” says Aung, adding that Indians aren’t considered foreigners in Myanmar. Apart from rubies, Indians also flaunt Burmese teak. The Chettinad region is well-known for elaborate designs.

Burmese architecture, Aung says, is quite similar to Indian architecture but is also unique, and teak wood work is an area where Burmese craft finds its own identity. “During the reign of the Konbaung dynasty, a lot of buildings were made out of teak wood. The quality of Burmese teak is very good, which makes the buildings last for long periods, without any damage,” says Aung.

The Ambassador has been living in New Delhi for the last four-and-a-half years and feels at home, especially with the food. “Indian cuisine somehow reminds me of home. You will be surprised to know that Indian food is commonly available in our country. We love curries, biryani, and samosa. South Indian biryani is considered the best in Myanmar,” he laughs, as he points at Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, grandson of late Nizam of Hyderabad, who sat across the table from him. 

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