Nga Hpe Kyaung

Inle Lake Region

Monastery cats in Burma

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On the western side of Inle Lake, Nga Hpe Kyaung monastery was once renowned for its jumping cats, trained to leap through hoops during the slow hours between scripture recitals. There is little cat-leaping to be seen these days, as the new generation of cats here prefers slumbering to gymnastics.

A better reason to visit the pagoda is to see the collection of ancient buddha images. Constructed four years before Mandalay Palace, the huge wooden meditation hall has statues in the Shan, Tibetan, Bagan and Inwa (Ava) styles displayed on ornate wood and mosaic pedestals.