Excursions around Lake Inle visiting Shwe Indein Pagoda
12 October 2014
Inle Lake in Myanmar is the ideal base for various day trips to the many attractions in the surrounding area and to the lake itself. The today tour includes a visit to the village of Indein and its Shwe Indein Pagoda, before a short cruise in the lake watching for fishermen at work. On the way to the Heho airport, from where I will continue my trip in Myanmar to the next destination, I visit the monastery of Shwe Yan Pyay, characterized by an original architecture and a sanctuary that is home to hundreds of small Buddha statues.
A little more than half an hour by boat from the heart of the Inle lake, along a river that flows into the lake itself, I approach the remote village of Indein
, interesting to learn more about simple local life and for the nearby temple of Shwe Indein.
Pictures of Indein in Myanmar
. The village of Indein is located along the banks of a river that feeds Inle lake.
The villagers of Indein
are busy in their daily activities, like clothes washing, having a bath and fishing with large blue nets.
Just out of the town, the pagoda of Shwe Indein
, consists in a complex of hundreds of ancient stupas (a stupa is a sacred stutture containing relics related to Buddhism) whose construction started from the 8th century AD (however, currently, the oldest contructions seems not going back to before the 14th century).
It is assumed that the temple of Shwe Indein
has over 1600 stupas, though an exact estimation can not be made because many of them are totally destroyed, while others were swallowed by vegetation. The place is full of charm and mystery, and the whole is surrounded by a picturesque landscape.
Photos of stupas in Shwe Indein paya
: some have been renovated, while others are so damaged, that only part of the main "body" remains.
Shwe Indein pictures.
The facades of the stupas are beautifully decorated with reliefs and stone carvings.
have already been restored, while others are in the process of recovery. Although it is important to preserve the historical heritage, I found the restoration work too invasive, with stupas that have been completely modified and painted in gold (perhaps they should do the restoration using the original materials, without interfering in style and appearance).
This ruined temple
, partially covered by vegetation, has a beautiful statue of Buddha accessible through a narrow tunnel where there are fragments of original frescoes.
As a kind of Angkor in Cambodia
, many buildings have been covered by vegetation , which is slowly wrapping everything.
Trees growing on the top of the stupa, with roots that wrap around the structures. On the wall are even some large plants of Agave.
Statue of an elephant in front of the entrance of a stupa.
Each stupa, as such, contains within it some relic that represents the Buddhist religion, in most cases Buddha statues
. Other stupas have beautifully frescoed walls.
Once back on the lake, I spent some time watching fishermen of Inle
at work . Fishing is one of the most important activities of the people of Inle Lake. The technique of fishing by network requires a huge effort from an entire team, where each fisherman helps to lay and collect the network from their canoe.
do acrobats from the tip of their canoe, to fix and collect the nets.
If the teamwork required to manage the networks appears to be too complex, this sort of cone-shaped net may be handled by a single fisherman.
How to move around Inle lake?
The motorized canoe is certainly the most used "vehicle".
Leaving behind Inle lake, bound for Heho airport, I visit Shwe Yan Pyay monastery
, attraction usually not included into package tours, but very nice and interesting. On the left photo, the main structure made entirely of teak wood, having oval windows which are rather unusual in Myanmar. In the right picture, the other buildings of the monastery complex.
The Nyaung Shwe monastery dates back to the early 19th century and has finely carved wooden structures laminated in gold (using gold leaf) in addition to beautiful statues and elaborate ornaments.
Cats in Buddhist monasteries of Myanmar are always welcome.
Next to the monastery, there is a shrine known for housing hundreds of Buddha statues
into many niches along the walls of the corridors.
The Buddha statues were donated by pilgrims from all corners of Burma, as well as from other countries the world. Some niche displays a label indicating the name of the donor.