Saw Mon Hla

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Saw Mon Hla
Queen of the Northern Palace of Pagan
Tenure c. 1058–1071
Predecessor Myauk Pyinthe
Successor Manisanda
Born 1040s
Maw Shan State
Spouse Anawrahta
House Maw
Father Saopha of Maw
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Saw Mon Hla (Burmese: စောမွန်လှ [sɔ́ mʊ̀ɴ l̥a̰]) was chief queen of King Anawrahta of Pagan. She is known in Burmese history for her beauty and her eventual exile instigated by other rival queens. Her story is still part of popular Burmese theater, and she is portrayed as a sad romantic figure.

The queen was daughter of the saopha (chief) of Maw Shan State, located between Pagan and Nanzhao Kingdom (present day Yunnan). The native stories of Hsipaw (Thibaw) and Hsenwi (Theinni) claim Saw Mon Hla as their princess.[1]

Circa 1058, Anawrahta led an expedition to Nanzhao. After his return from Nanzhao expedition, the king was presented with Saw Mon Hla by the chief of Maw Shan State presented his daughter. At Pagan, Saw Mon Hla quickly became the king's favorite queen. According to the Burmese chronicles, the beautiful young queen was driven out by her rival queens who were jealous of her status as Anawrahta's favorite. Her rivals accused her as a witch.[2]

On her return to her homeland, the queen donated the Shwesayan Pagoda (located in the present day Patheingyi, Mandalay). A remorseful Anawrahta is said to have donated the surrounding land to the pagoda towards the end of his reign.


  1. ^ Takatani, Michio. "On Narrative Formation of Spirit Legends in Burma (Myanmar)". Hiroshima University. 
  2. ^ "King Anawrahta". Hmannan Yazawin (in Burmese). 1 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar. 1829. pp. 254–256. 
Saw Mon Hla
Royal titles
Preceded by
Myauk Pyinthe
Queen of the Northern Palace
c. 1058–c. 1071
Succeeded by