Many of them lived in the various vihdras or residences situate throughout the island; but the main centre of intellectual effort, down to the 8th century, was the Maha Vihara, the Great Minster, at Anwradhapura.
Of these the most important was that of the Haihayas of Ratanpur, a family which, settled from time immemorial in the Nerbudda valley, had towards the close of the 10th century succeeded the Pandava dynasty of Maha Kosala (Chhattisgarh) and ruled, though from the 16th century onwards over greatly diminished territories, until its overthrow by the Mahrattas in 1745.
The Maha Yazawin or " Royal Chronicle," forms the great historical work of Burma.
The sovereign, Phra Paramendr Maha Mongkut, was a very accomplished man, an enlightened reformer and devoted to science; his death, indeed, was caused by fatigue and exposure while observing an eclipse.
Other orders are the Siamese Crown (Mongkut Siam), five classes, founded 1869; the family Order of ChulahChon-Clao, three classes, 1873; and the Maha Charkrkri, 1884, only for princes and princesses of the reigning family.