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Myanmar > Pictures and travelogues > Inle Lake Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda

Inle Lake in Myanmar: pictures from the Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda.

Buddha images of the Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Inle Lake
Five Buddha images of the Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda, Inle Lake in Myanmar.

The Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda (sometimes spelled Phaung Daw Oo) is the most sacred site of Inle Lake and the Shan State in Eastern Burma. It is a very respected Buddhist pilgrimage destination.

The Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda is home to 5 small Buddha images that are so covered with gold leaf that they are no longer recognizable. The statues are very heavy. Originally, King Alaungsithu (also called Sithu I) of Bagan brought them in the 12th century. Only male pilgrims may stick gold leaves.

According to legend, these 5 statues fell once during a procession in the water when the Royal barge carrying them capsized. Only four statues were retrieved. When one brought back the 4 statues to the pagoda, the fifth, devoid of head, was miraculously returned to its place in the pagoda.

Royal barge of the Hpaung Daw Oo Inle Lake pagoda festival
Bow of the royal barge in the form of a hintha. The royal barge is used for the Hpaung Daw Oo pagoda festival, Inle Lake, Myanmar.

Each year during the Burmese month of Thadingyut (usually in October), a major festival is held for 18 days at the Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda.

The main feature of the festival is the royal barge (more accurately, a replica of a royal barge) procession. The barge has the shape of a hintha bird. Hintha serves as a vehicle for God Brahma. The richly decorated royal barge carries four of the five images of Buddha to 15 villages around the Lake. The fifth image remains in the Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda. The barge is hauled by 5 boats, each driven by 20 rowers in the Inle Lake style (one leg rowing).

The barge is followed by hundreds of other boats and canoes. At each stop, the 4 images are hosted in the local temple. It is a very colorful and popular festival. The attendance is particularly large when the procession arrives at the town of Nyaung Shwe.

The Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda on Inle Lake, Myanmar
The Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda in the western side of  Inle Lake, Myanmar.

The Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda is built in the Burmese style with terraced roofs topped by a stupa. It is located near the village of Ywama, west of Inle Lake. It is accessible by a wide channel.


 

See also

Myanmar > Pictures and travelogues > Inle Lake Monastery of the jumping cats

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Inle Lake in Myanmar: pictures from the Hpaung Daw Oo Pagoda. Comprehensive travel guide to Myanmar with 200 great pictures.