At the southern end of Inle Lake, Burma, is the Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda. There are five statues fo Buddha here, each covered with layer upon layer of gold leaf which has been stuck on as a token of veneration, and so thick is this gilding that the statues are more like balls of gold than images of Buddha.
From September to October each year, an 18-day festival is held, during which four of the Buddha images are placed on a replica of a royal barge and taken throughout Inle Lake. One image always remains at the temple. The elaborately decorated barge is towed from village to village along the shores of the lake in clockwise fashion, and the four images reside at the main monastery in each village for the night.
Sometime in the 1960s during a particularly windy day, when the waves were high on the lake, the barge carrying the images capsized, and the images tumbled into the lake. It was said that they could not recover one image, but that when they went back to the monastery, the missing image was miraculously sitting in its place.
For such an enlightened religion no-one could tell me why women were not allowed to approach the Buddhas.
v2 is a closer view of the Buddhas. v3 the Pagoda/Temple itself, built on the lake.
Landscape and travel
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