On the banks of the Ayeyarwady, Pyay is only a few miles from the ancient city site of Srikhitera, or Thayekhittaya as it is known in Myanmar. It was the capital of a Pyu kingdom that emerged in the 2nd century BCE and was flourishing by the 4th century. Beikthano, 80 miles (128km) away was a contemporary Pyu kingdom, ruled by the beautiful maiden queen, Pantwa. Beikthano was conquered by King Duttabaung of Thayekhittaya but, according to myth, the queen although much loved, never forgave him and brought about his downfall. It was more likely that Thayekhittaya fell to invading forces from the east and within a century the Pyu race disappeared, assimilated into the Myanmar.
Their civilisation left beautiful gold jewellery and records in 8th century Chinese annals of their gracious lifestyle.