Wandering around Inle Lake
After leaving Kalaw, our last stop was Inle lake, a freshwater lake located in the Shan Hills. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar.
Although the lake is not large, it contains a number of endemic species. Over twenty species of snails and nine species of fish are found nowhere else in the world. Some of these, like the silver-blue scaleless Sawbwa barb, the crossbanded dwarf danio, and the Lake Inle danio, are of minor commercial importance for the aquarium trade. It hosts approximately 20,000 brown and black head migratory seagulls in November, December and January.
On our first day around the lake, we woke up early to see the sunrise.
And a few minutes later…
Down the hill, a little market, perfect for breakfast.
We then left to go see some pretty spectacular stupas and pagodas. Come this way!
Shwe Indein Pagoda
The Shwe Indein Pagoda (Burmese: ရွှေအင်းတိန်စေတီ) is a group of Buddhist pagodas in the village of Indein. The pagodas were commissioned during the reign of King Narapatisithu.
Tone Le Village
The next step was a village on water, called Tone Le.
Our last day in Inle
We spent our last day going around going around a few workshops. In the first one women would make textiles from lotus.
The lotus, also known as the aquatic perennial “Nelumbo nucifera”, has long been a symbol of divine purity in Asian culture. Associated with spiritual awakeness in Buddhism, the lotus represents rising and floating about the muddy waters of “attachment” and “desire” – an allegory for spiritual enlightenment.
Throughout history the lotus has become a predominant symbol of harmony, but now this beautiful plant might provide a harmonious alternative to waterproof synthetics and mass-produced cottons.
Best described as a cross between silk and linen, lotus flower fabric is naturally stain resistant, waterproof, and soft to the touch. This breathable, wrinkle-free fabric was once used to make robes for high-ranking Buddhist monks.
Creating the lotus fabric itself is a handmade artisanal process that requires time and thoughtfulness as it takes approximately 32,000 lotus stems to make just 1.09 yards of fabric; approximately 120,000 for a costume. Beginning with lotus harvesting on Lotus Lake of Kamping Puy near Battambang, stems are cut and gathered by the younger women in the morning and removed of their stubbly nubs.
Within three days of cutting, the stems are bunched, sliced, and snapped apart to expose 20-30 fine white fibres that are then pulled and hung to dry. Once dried, the filaments are laid on a spinning frame, followed by winders for a warping process, and then wound on bamboo bobbins.
It generally takes about 25 women making thread to produce enough yarn to accommodate one weaver. Keeping them moistened, the yarns are handwoven on looms into 90-meter batches. This process takes approximately one month and a half to complete and also integrates a no waste element as all parts of the lotus are utilized- using leftovers to make lotus teas, infusions, and flour. Source.
The next workshop, men would be making tools.
At another one, women making cigars.
That’s it! What followed is a 24h trip back to Yangon and then to Europe; needless to say that we came back much more peaceful but rather sleep-deprived 😴.
Thanks for following me around Myanmar, and thanks to Ricardo and Romain for bearing with me while I was taking picture! 📷 📷
If you haven’t see my other albums about Myamar, follow the links:
Until next time! 👋 👋