Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State, Myanmar. It has a population of 200,000 with the Shans, Chinese, Myanmar, Paohs and some Intha tribes. It is the fifth largest city in Myanmar. It is situated on the wide shoulder of Shan Plateau, about 4,712 feet (1,436 m) above sea level. The name Taunggyi means "big mountain" in the Burmese language.

 

Before British colonization, Taunggyi was a small village. The town became the chief city and capital of the Southern Shan States after 1890 when the British moved their administrative center of Shan State from Maing Thauk (Fort Stedman) on the eastern shores of Inle Lake to the higher elevation of Taunggyi, for health and geographical reasons. Nowadays, it is an important city of trade in eastern Myanmar. The main market is interesting with colorful ethnic tribes. There is also a gem market on the eastern part of the town, where jade, rubies and sapphires are sold.

 

In mid-November, Hot Air Balloons festival is held in Taungyi for 7 days. The most spectacular part of the festival is the hot air balloon contests, held in commemoration of offering lights to Buddha. The balloons rise during the day and the night. Day balloons are normally in the form of pagodas and animals such as elephants, birds, rabbits; etc. The night balloons are big like 7/8 meters high, they are beautifully decorated with small colored paper lanterns and especially the fireworks that can give a spectacular explosion of colored fireworks when the balloons reach to certain height. It is one of the most famous festivals in Myanmar.


 

 

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