Is your travel bug still bugging you after Inle Lake in Shan State? Head for the Village of Indein to the west of the lake, well known for its two groups of ancient pagodas (Nyaung Ohk pagoda & Shwe Inn Thein pagoda) where you can dabble with antiquity and visit the glorious past of Shan people, and a 5-day market where locals display their wares and stuffs for business. The Village lies 8 kilometers west of Inle Lake, accessible by boat. The boat ride is a beautiful journey that pass through multiple small villages, treating you to the sight of the only leg-rowing fishermen of the world, standing up on their boats and paddling effortlessly, and the farmers in their canoes tending their floating gardens.
The massive assemblage of ancient pagodas, 1054 pagodas in total, at Shwe Inn Dein are one of the most popular attractions in Inle Lake. Several pagodas in the clusters date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. The path to the pagodas is supported by the 2200-feet stairways. There are 403 columns at the pagodas, 664 meters tall. The structures of the pagoda are representative of Shan heritage, , slim, tall and spiritual, different from the rest of Myanmar.
Built during the heydays of Shan Kingdoms, these pagodas had received patronage from the rich and powerful who sponsored precious paintings inside the pagodas. Life stories of the Buddha were depicted mainly in black and red, obviously using locally abundant resources of red clay and charcoal. Having seen the ravages of the ages, these paintings are extremely delicate and thus worth preservation for the posterity. Indein is a place where visitors can learn about the authentic culture of Myanmar as well as such an interesting place to visit for those who are interested in ancient heritage.
5 day market, as the name implies, is the market which is set up every 5 days in five villages around the lake. Fish, tea, vegetables, fresh fruits, handicrafts, clothing and other traditional souvenirs are on offer in this market, with the role of the host rotated among the five villages. The Pa – Oh people, hill-dwelling people from nearby highlands, sell their crops and souvenirs both on the land and on their longboats vendors giving you the option of land-bound shopping experience or a watery tour. Few other places can give you an opportunity to connect with local people, lose yourself in the local crowd and learn about time-honoured traditions firsthand.
Indein village is teeming with the huge collections of ancient brick stupas and the ruins are an incredible sight – thousands of pagodas, slender and dainty in looks, are still standing but many have succumbed to age and neglect. Fabulous marketplaces complete the picture, with the entire center piece surrounded by a most picturesque landscape. November to March is the best time to visit and rain could be a real turnoff – if you are not a fan of tropical deluges – at other times of the year.