Inle Lake (The second biggest lake in Myanmar)
“Inle” “means Lake of the four villages” which were first built in the lake around 12 century A.D. The Intha people (Sons of the lake) struggle for their unusual life from the cradle to the grave.
Unlike land-dwellers, the Intha people practice their own unique ways of life. They have to built their tall wooden houses or bamboo huts on silt in water. They do the cultivation of fruits and vegetables on man-made floating islands. Each house has its boat park – the Inthas would go fishing on the dug-out canoes rowing with their legs or travel to far destination by engine-powered motor boat. Around in the lake are 200 settlements and of a total population of some 150,000 inhabitants. Having many monasteries and Buddhist shrines built in the lake proves that the Inthas are devotes Buddhists.
Geographically, the lake was formed in the valley hemmed great mountains some 10 millions years ago. The lake stretches some 14 miles (22km) in length and 5 miles in width. During the monsoons rains, its deepest sections are around 20 ft(6m) and a mere 6 ft(2m) or 2 ft in the dry season. How to get there?
It is easily reachable by land and by air. Rail and road run 306 miles from Yangon to thazi from where they continue uphill to Shwe Naung (about 4 hours) by car. To reach the lake from Heho, only the road takes you for a distance of 19miles to Nyaung Shwe town on the Lake’s bank. You may fly direct from Yangon to Heho(just a few minutes over an hour ). It is the most convenient way to get there.
Inle Phaung Daw Oo Ye lai Phaya
The temple on the island in middle of a natural lake in Nyaung Shwe township in southern Shan State. This temple is well known as “Inlay Phaungdaw Oo Yelai Phaya” which literally means “the temple in the middle of Inlay Lake sheltering Buddha Images from the shrine on the bowl of Royal Barge .”
The lengend and history of the Phaungdaw Oo Images tell the origin of human settlement in the lake . Intha or the inhabitants of the lake say that they are decendants of Daweithas(the inhabitants of a seaport town Dawei on the Taninthayi Cost). To back up their story, Bagan history is referred to. King Alaungsithu of Bagan dynasty who made long land and water journeys, reaching out to the sea, sojourned in Jambudepn Island. There an orgress presented him a piece of sandalwood of Himalayan Forest as token of thanks for salvaging her child son from the sea. Sakka Deva carved five images out of the sandalwood.Inside the images were enshrined sacred dhatu relics of the Buddha. The four images represented the four Buddhas already revealed, Kaukkusanda, Gonagamana, Kassapa and Gotama and the fifth was that of an arahat Saints. The king kept the images in shrine at the bow of his barge, and returned home. At Dawei, where he stayed for some time, he recruited into his flotillas select Daweithas who were clever seafarers and brave fighters into his regiments_ Taung (south) Dawei and Myauk(north) Dawei. When royal entourage reached Inlay Lake, the Daweithas requested the king to let them settle in the lake as they found it like their home town. The dialects of Daweithas and Inthas are the same and akin to that of old Bagan. Shan call Inthas “Mont Naung” meaning Myanmar living on the lake.
There is a another story of Inthas‘ origion. Daweithas who repulsed the invaders from across the border of their home town Dawei, came upon inland for trade. Later 36 families of Daweithas trading in South Shan State were settle in the lake. Originally, there were four villages in the lake. They were known in Myanmar as In, Lay ywa (four villages in the lake). (1)Nant pan (2)Wamt Long (3) Naung Taung and(4) Haing Ya (now Heya).
Shwe Inn Dein Pagoda
Situated in Inn Dein Village which is on the western end of the lake 25 minutes by boat from the PhaungdawOo Temple, and it is said to have been built by King Ashoka over 2000 years ago. Around the big stupa are surrounded by different sizes of over 1000 ruined temples. It is very pleasant journey to go by boat, the boat drive along the narrow canal, rice fields on either side of the canal, water buffalos dipping in the water, different tribes and the walk to Pagoda through the bamboo forest!