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Krishna pays homage to last Mughal emperor

Yangon: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna offered floral tributes at the grave of India`s last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar in Dagon township of Yangon.

Accompanied by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Indian Ambassador to Myanmar V S Seshadri, Krishna on Monday offered fateha (prayer) at the `mazar` of the former ruler, who died here five years after he was exiled to Yangon following his defeat in the 1857 war of independence.

Krishna, who is on a three-day visit to the country, also offered a chadar at the emperor`s grave. "The memory of this great patriot has been kept alive by careful preservation and upkeep of this monument," he wrote in the visitors` book.

"The Mazar is a reminder of the close historical association between India and Myanmar and contributes to deepening relations between our two countries. The Government of India will continue to keep alive its active association with this important monument," he wrote.

interestingly, till few years back, there was no authentic information on where exactly the original tomb of the last Mughal emperor lays. The tomb was discovered during a restoration exercise in 1991.

The tombs of his queen Zeenat Mahal, who died in 1886, and his grandchild are next to that of the Mughal ruler. Krishna also visited the legendary and spectacular Shwedagon Pagoda. The 2,500 years old Pagoda enshrines strands of Budha`s hair and other holy relics and is one of the most sacred and impressive Budhist site.

The Pagoda which began with a height of 8.2 metres today stands at close to 110 metres. The Pagoda is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 4,531 diamonds, the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond.

Krishna said he was struck by the dignity and splendor of the pagoda as well as the atmosphere of peace, tranquility and spirituality.

"This is a great honor for me at the very commencement of my visit to pay homage at this historic, sacred and inspiring shrine. This visit will remain an inspiration and a source of spiritual strength and sustenance for me. I pray that this symbol of Buddhism and the abiding common values of the people of Myanmar and India will guide our relations forever," he wrote in the visitor`s book. Krishna also gave a donation of USD 500.

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