About 7 miles north of Mrauk U are the barely discernible remains of the kingdom of Wethali. Founded in AD 327 by King Mahataing Chandra, according to the Rakhine chronicles, archaeologists believe that the kingdom lasted until the 8th century. Today, in addition to the walls of the 1650ft by 990ft central palace site, the main attraction for visitors is the so-called Great Image of Hsu Taung Pre, a 16.5ft Rakhine-style sitting Buddha said to date from AD 327.
The elevated track that runs adjacent to Wethali is in fact an abandoned railway line. A rare incidence of the former military government bowing to popular opinion occurred here in late 2010, when a few brave locals protested against the planned route of a new railway linking Sittwe with Minbu, the construction of which was damaging temples and sites within the archaeological area. The project was halted and the railway’s route changed.