Indein is a small village West of Inle Lake, known for two groups of ancient pagodas: Nyaung Ohak and Shwe Inn Thein Pagoda. The village is reached by boat through the Inn Thein creek, a long narrow canal. The scenic 8 kilometer boat ride from Inle Lake can be made in the rainy season and winter only, in the summer season the water level is too low.
Nyaung Ohak pagodas
Around Indein village are two groups of ancient pagodas, Nyaung Ohak and Shwe Inn Thein. The first site near the boat landing is Nyaung Ohak, which translates to “group of banyan trees”. Most of the pagodas here have not been restored and are in various states of repair; some are well preserved, while others have plants and trees growing out of them. Many pagodas are decorated with sculptings of celestial beings or mythological animals as Naga serpents and Chinthes. Some enshrine images of the Buddha.
Shwe Inn Thein pagodas
From Nyaung Ohak a climb leads to the second group of pagodas named Shwe Inn Thein located on top of a hill. A 700 meter covered walkway leads up to the pagodas. The walkway is lined with stalls where vendors sell Shan shoulder bags, longyis, shirts and other items.
The site is believed to date back to the days of the Indian emperor Ashoka, who sent out monks in the 3rd century BC across Asia to spread Buddhism. Centuries later two Kings of the Bagan empire, Narapatisithu and Anawrahta built pagodas at the site. The site contains hundreds of pagodas, collectively known as the Shwe Inn Thein pagodas. Most are from the 17th and 18th century; the earliest one with an inscription dates to the 14th century.
The hti, a top element shaped like an ornamental umbrella is missing at many of the unrestored stupas. A number of stupas have been restored by donors, both Burmese and foreign.
At the center of the Shwe Inn Thein group is the shrine of the Inn Thein Buddha image. The shrine that is believed to have been built by King Ashoka houses a golden Buddha image in the meditation mudra. From the top of the hill visitors have great views of Indein village and the surrounding area.
How to get to Indein village
The village is located about 8 kilometers West of the South tip of Inle Lake. It is most easily reached by boat. Tickets can be booked at travel agent or hotel. Alternatively, head for the pier and negotiate a price. Make sure to agree on the places to stop and the duration of the trip.
Entrance fee & opening hours
Opening hours of the Nyaung Ohak and Shwe Inn Thein pagoda sites is 8 am until 6 pm. There is a 300 Kyat camera fee and a 300 Kyat VCR fee.
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