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The Inle Lake area is stunning – it sits on a plateau in the Shan Hills with the lake some 12 kilometers long and five kilometers wide. The lake reveals itself gradually to the approaching visitor. One advances down narrow streams hedged with high rushes, probably aboard a long canoe propelled by a lusty outboard. After several miles one emerges from this maze of waterways into a more tranquil world on a mirror of water. To the left and right the picture is framed by serried green mountains. The fishermen of the Inle Lake have evolved an eccentric method of the rowing and fishing – they stand on the canoes bow the oar tucked under one leg leaving them two arms to deal with the fishing net. Another oddity of the lake are their floating gardens-strips of dense weed from the lake floor is consolidated with earth and eventually forms one of the most fertile growing media imaginable. The strips are pegged to the lake floor with long bamboo poles and the ‘ garden ‘ produce an abundance of vegetables – delicious tomatoes – and flower.
There are several villages on the lake, Ywama being the largest – its streets a web of canals, each piece of land connected by arched bridges and causeways. The teak buildings are generally handsome and house a rich mixture of handicraft industries. Some 15,000 people, mostly of the Intha ethnic group live on and around the lake. The lake is also richly endowed with pagodas and monasteries.


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Central bank of Myanmar | 2022-08-16

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