1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chindwin
CHINDWIN, a river of Burma, the largest tributary of the Irrawaddy, its entire course being in Burmese territory. It is called Ningthi by the Manipuris. The Chindwin is formed by the junction of the Tanai, the Tawan and the Tarôn or Turông, but it is still uncertain which is the main stream. The Tanai has hitherto been looked on as the chief source. It rises in about 25° 30′ N. and 97° E., on the Shwedaung-gyi peak of the Kumôn range, 12 m. N. of Mogaung, and flows due N. for the first part of its course until it reaches the Hukawng valley, when it turns to the W. and flows through the middle of the plain to the end of the valley proper. There it curves round to the S., passes through the Tarôn or Turông valley, takes the name of the Chindwin, and maintains a general southerly course until it enters the Irrawaddy, after flowing through the entire length of the Upper and Lower Chindwin districts, in about 21° 30′ N. and 95° 15′ E. Its extreme outlets are 22 m. apart, the interval forming a succession of long, low, partially populated islands. The most southerly mouth of the Chindwin is, according to tradition, an artificial channel, cut by one of the kings of Pagān. It was choked up for many centuries until in 1824 it was opened out by an exceptional flood. The Tanai (it is frequently called Tanaikha, but kha is merely the Kachin word for river), as long as it retains that name, is a swift, clear river, from 50 to 300 yds. wide and from 3 to 15 ft. deep. The river is navigated by native boats in the Hukawng valley, but launches cannot come up from the Chindwin proper because of the reefs below Taro.
The Tarôn, Turông or Towang river seems to be the real main source of the Chindwin. It flows into the Hukawng valley from the north, and has a swift current with a succession of rapids. Its sources are in the hills to the south of Sadiya, rising from 10,000 to 11,000 ft. above sea-level. It flows through a deep valley, with a general E. and W. direction, as far as its junction with the Loglai. It then turns S., and after draining an intricate system of hills, breaks into the Hukawng valley a few miles N. of Saraw, and joins or receives the Tanai about 10 m. above Kintaw village. Except the Tanai, the chief branches of the Upper Chindwin rise in mountains that are covered at least with winter snows. Below the Hukawng valley the Chindwin is interrupted at several places by fails or transverse reefs. At the village of Haksa there is a fall, which necessitates transhipment from large boats to canoes. Not far below this the Uyu river comes in on the left bank at Homalin, and from this point downwards the steamers of the Irrawaddy Flotilla Company ply for the greater part of the year. The Uyu flows through a fertile and well-cultivated valley, and during the rainy season it is navigable for a distance of 150 m. from its mouth by steamers of light draught. Ordinarily regular steam communication with Homalin ceases in the dry weather, but from Kindat, nearly 150 m. below it, there are weekly steamers all the year round. Below Kindat the only considerable affluent of the Chindwin is the Myit-tha, which receives the Chin hills drainage. The Chindwin rises considerably during the rains, but in March and April it is here and there so shallow as to make navigation difficult even for small steam launches. Whirlpools and narrows and shifting sandbanks also give some trouble, but much has been done to improve navigation since the British annexation. Kindat, the headquarters of the Upper Chindwin district, and Mônywa of the Lower, are on the banks of the river. (J. G. Sc.)