Phaung Daw Oo Paya

Inle Lake Region

A wide channel leads south from Ywama to the village of Tha Lay and Phaung Daw Oo Paya, the holiest religious site in southern Shan State. Enshrined within the huge tiered pagoda are five ancient buddha images that have been transformed into amorphous blobs by the sheer volume of gold leaf applied by devotees.

During the annual Phaung Daw Oo festival, the images are paraded around the lake in an ornate barge shaped like a hintha (the golden Swan of Burmese legend). Local families often bring their children here as part of the ordination rites for the sangha (Buddhist brotherhood) – a fascinating spectacle if you happen to be there at the right time.

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