This lake is one of the most beautiful spot in Myanmar.
Once it was much larger but today it is about 22.4 km long
and 10.2 km wide and about 950 m above sea level.
Around and on the lake lives one of Burma's ethnic minorities,
the Intha (Sons of the Lake). There are still quite a few
living in houses on stilts on the lake.
It is no wonder, that with this environment the Intha children
learn to swim before they can walk. To keep track of their
young, bells are tied to their ankles.
The Intha are skilled fishermen with a unique fishing technique.
A conical trap made of bamboo or wood with a net inside
is used to catch the fish.
They also have a very special way of rowing that is standing
upright in the long and narrow boats, then they use their
leg for moving the row, leaving both arms free to handle
other equipment (e.g. nets.). However one arm is used to
give the oar some leverage.
Known widely as fine craftsmen, the Intha excel as silversmiths,
blacksmiths, carpenters and as weavers of cotton and silk.
But also the farmers have developed some interesting skills.
They use floating mats woven of dried reeds and grass covered
with mud to grow crops. These mats are as long as 60 m,
but very narrow, so that they can be easily worked from
a boat. The term gardener gets a new meaning with some Inthas
towing this "land" behind them and selling off slices according
to the needs of their customers.
There is a market every five days at Inbawhkon. Inbawhkon
is at the narrowest part of the lake, about two thirds of
the lake's length towards the south.
Each October, for two weeks there is a big religious festival.
An ornamental barge carrying the image of the mythical "karaweik"
and four sacred figures tours the lake. The figures are
thought to have been brought from Malaya by the 12th-century
king Alaungsithu. According to the legend, the Buddhist
devotee placed them inside a cave near Inle. Re-discovered
centuries later, they have become increasingly significant
in religion. Today, it is no longer possible to make out
any features, since they are compleately covered with gold.
After the big boat finishes the tour, the leg-rowers gather
for the most important regatta.
To visit this lake, you will have to pay an admission fee
of USD 3.