Written by Pro TouristHarder Than Ever !
I love reading, writing and travelling. My dream comes truth when I go into travels & tours business. I have enough time to write when COVID 19 spread out the world like forest fire. I have idea to share my knowledge not only domestic but also overseas experiences.
I’ve seen many beautiful, interesting and legendary places in foreign countries but their beauty is different from Inle lake in southern Shan state which is about 22 kilometers long and 11 kilometres wide. The difference between this lake and the others are the people called ” Intha” live in the villages on the lake and they grow vegetables especially tomatoes on the floating man-made islands they are movable. The islands are moving up and down when the boats are driving pass the plantation.
Floating man-made islands
The people in the lake is Intha ethnic who are one of the 135 ethnic groups in Burma. They speak burmese with their strong accent, a little difficult to understand but they are very friendly and helpful to Everybody. Their notable tradition is rowing the boats by leg which is quite difficult for us, stand on a foot is very easy to lose balance and drop in the water. It is very useful for them. When they go fishing and gardening the small boat moves where they want at the same time the hand can work. How clever they are?
They grow 70 percent of tomatoes in Burma come from Inle lake
They are very industrious people, collect water hyacinth in one place, put big and long bamboos in the middle to stand still the water hyacinths which are very big and floating. They also collect the seaweed from the lake and place them on the water hyacinth. Later hyacinth die and seaweed transform into natural fertilizer then they grow the vegetables on it.
Not necessary to water, enough light and air so they grow 70 percent of tomatoes in Burma come from Inle lake. I wonder whether how the old generation had got this idea. They also grow gourd, lady finger and aster flowers on the floating garden.
There more than sixty villages beside and on the lake. Ywar Ma, Ngafe Chaung, Kay Lar and Inn Faw Gone villages are big. The speciality of Ywar Ma is gold and silver smith. The silver smiths in this village created fish, male and female made of silver for necklace. It is funny, I asked them how do I know between male and female? They answered me very easy. “Male fish can move up and down but female are side by side like human.“
A lot of big houses, huge monastery and secondary school is also good condition.
The villagers in Kay Lar are gardeners. The biggest floating garden area. Their economy is better than other villages. A lot of big houses, huge monastery and secondary school is also good condition. They are very busy in the late afternoon for selling their tomatoes which is very interesting that the broker come there by bigger boat but the gardeners row small boats by leg where we can see leg-rowers very clearly. Even the kids know how to use their legs to row the boat. Twenty years ago, Intha didn’t use fertilizer and pesticides so we had organic food. Nowadays, they are using them.
Fishing boats by leg and set the fish net by hand.
Fishing earns their main income. As usual they row the fishing boats by leg and set the fish net by hand. They are very clever. At first, they place the fish net like V shape then a group of boats are about five hundred metres from the mouth of V and beating the water with long bamboos, moving slowly to the net. It means fishermen scare the fish so fish heard the noise and run into the net. In english usage, someone express or do uncertainty, they use, “you are beating about the bush” but in Inle lake you’ll see beating about the water.
Ngafe Chaung village is not so big but popular for jumping cats at the monastery where there are many beautiful ancient Buddha images, some are made of wood and four Buddha are made of bamboo and coated lacquer. Wood carving from the alters are fantastic. We can’t find any other places in Burma. Thanks a lot to preserve the heritage which is more interesting than national museum.
When they arrived the temple, missing Buddha had already arrived back
Phaungdaw Oo pagoda is not to miss place in Inle that is very famous like Shwedagon in Yangon. There are five Buddha images which are not so big but very popular among buddhists in Burma because the Karaweik barge carried the buddha images and celebrated the festival in 1965. Unfortunately, storm hit the barge and sank in the middle of lake.
People were very unhappy but searched for the Buddhas in the water. They could salvage four but one was missing so they surrendered and came back to the main temple. When they arrived the temple, missing Buddha had already arrived back. People were so amazed and word passed throughout the country. In turns, so many visitors have come to this place and donated a lot of gold leaves. Five Buddhas are getting fatter and fatter. They are beyond recognition, like gold ball now.
One interesting point is Intha language and Dawe language are the same.
Phaungdaw Oo pagoda festival takes place in October, every year. At that time leg-rower boat race is very interesting and funny which is the happiest time for Intha people. Actually, Inle lake is about one thousand metres above sea level but people there don’t want to live on the land, they prefer living in water because the legend said that King Alaung Sithu from Bagan in 12th century went to Dawe, coastal region in southern Burma by boat.
Some boatmen got sick for different temperature when they arrive Dawe. The king organized some boatmen there and continued his journey to Inle lake. All boatmen from Dawe really enjoyed when they arrived the lake.
They made decision to live there. Later population was getting bigger and bigger because the light black out very often. One interesting point is Intha language and Dawe language are the same.
If the political weather in Burma is better, let’s go together. Please, don’t lose your heart.
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