inleInle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the Nyaungshwe Township in Taunggyi District of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44 square miles (116 km2), and one of the highest at an elevation of 2,900 feet. During the dry season, the average water depth is 7 feet, with the deepest point being 12 feet, but during the rainy season this can increase by 5 feet. The lake drains through the Nam Pilu or Balu Chang on its southern end. There is a hot spring on its northwestern shore. 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. Inle Lake with its leg-rowing into people is a major tourist destination in Myanmar.

The people of Inle Lake called Intha with some 70,000 of them are living in the cities around the lake. However, the other ethnic like Shan, Taungyo, Pa-O (Taungthu), Danu, Kayah, Dana and Bamar are also staying in the area. Most are devout Buddhists, and live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient farmers. Most transportation on the lake is traditionally by small boats, or by somewhat larger boats fitted with single cylinder inboard diesel engines. Local fishermen are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved for the reason that the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants, making it difficult to see above them while sitting.

Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds. However, the leg rowing style is only practiced by the men. Lotus thread is used to weave a special robe for the Buddha. Shan tofu is a popular local dish. Fish caught from the lake - the most abundant kind is called mega happen locally (Inle carp, Cyprinus intha) - are a staple of the local diet. A popular local dish is htamin gyin('fermented' rice kneaded with fish and potato) served with Shan tofu.
In addition to fishing, locals grow vegetables and fruit in large gardens that float on the surface of the lake. The farmers gather up lake-bottom weeds from the deeper parts of the lake, bring them back in the boats and make them into floating beds in their garden areas, anchored by bamboo poles. These gardens rise and fall with changes in the water level, and so are resistant to flooding. The constant availability of nutrient-laden water results in these gardens being incredibly fertile. Rice cultivation is also significant.

Want to help us?