Published on March 8, 2014
Inle Lake is found in the Shan State in a valley surrounded by lush green mountains. The lake is freshwater and is home to around 70,000 people who mostly survive through fishing and farming.
Inle Lake, Nyaung Shwe Village
‘This is Burma’,, wrote Rudyard Kipling. ‘It is quite unlike any place you know about.’ How right he was: more than a century later Myanmar remains a world apart.
The Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda of Inle has five small Buddha images that were discover in 1359 in a cave, and by now so often covered with gold leaf that they have lost all original features. Every year in September, four of the five make a round of twenty villages of Inle region with great ceremony, carried on a golden barge crested with a Hintha bird on its prow and escorted by a hundred small boats. The fifth is never removed from its shrine after 1974 when on their rounds, the barge suddenly capsized in clear weather and all five sank to the bottom. Only four were recovered and when the pilgrims came back crying their hearts out, they saw to their amazement that the fifth was already back on the shrine, dripping wet and with a weed clinging to the side. The spot where the barge overturned is now marked with a pillar with a Hintha bird at its top.
In Se-khong village, there is a blacksmith workshop which produces knives and farming tools, sold at different 5 - day markets around the Inlay region.
Metal work in Burma is regarded as an honourable occupation, associated with strength, integrity and courage. This respect is echoed in folklore where an ancient spirit guardian called the Mahagiri Nat, Nga Tin-de, or in English, Mr. Handsome, is thought to be the most powerful of all such spirits of which there are many.
Nga Tin-de was a blacksmith of incredible strength who was eventually killed by a jealous king and his army. Folklore reports, “He wielded two hammers – with his left hand he held a hammer weighing 25 Viss and with his right he held an iron hammer of 50 Viss. When Nga Tin-de worked his smithy and rained blows against the anvil, the whole city quaked and trembled.”
Most of the boat tours on Inle Lake stop in one of the cheroot cigar making workshops where you can learn about the making of Burmese cigars.
Ywama village Restaurant
Hotels Nyaung Shwe Ywama village
Ywama village Pagoda
Ywama village 5 day market
Market scene Thanaka
Ywama village Fifth day market
Ancient Mingalar Iwama Aung Pagoda
Ywama village, canal in front of Aung Mingalar pagoda.
Ancient Aung Mingalar Pagoda On Inle Lake
The water hyacinth, a plant not native to the lake, also poses a major problem. It grows rapidly, filling up the smaller streams and large expanses of the lake, robbing native plants and animals of nutrients and sunlight. At one time, all boats coming into Nyaung Shwe were required to bring in a specified amount of water hyacinth. Over the past twenty years, large-scale use of dredges and pumps has been employed with some success in controlling the growth of this plant. On a smaller scale, public awareness education and small-scale control have also been successful. Water hyacinth
In addition to fishing, locals grow vegetables and fruit in large gardens that float on the surface of the lake. The floating garden beds are formed by extensive manual labor.
The farmers gather up lake-bottom weeds from the deeper parts of the lake, bring them back in boats and make them into floating beds in their garden areas, anchored by bamboo poles. These gardens rise and fall with changes in the water level, and so are resistant to flooding.
The constant availability of nutrient-laden water results in these gardens being incredibly fertile. Rice cultivation is also significant.
Text: Internet Pictures: Sanda Foişoreanu & Internet Copyright: All the images belong to their authors Presentation: Sanda Foişoreanu www.slideshare.net/michaelasanda Sound Myanmar traditional song (Moe/Rain)