Scenes from Inle Lake

The Inle Lake is Burma’s second largest freshwater lake with an estimated surface of 116 km2 and a length of 22 km. The lake is inhabited by many different tribes, predominantly of Intha but also of Pa-O, Kayah, Bamar and others. The Intha live in various small villages along the lake’s shores and in houses build on stilts in the lake itself. They are famous for their unique rowing style where the fishermen stand on the boat’s stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. Women row in the customary style, using the oar with their hands. 

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The Intha grow vegetables on floating gardens in the lake.

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The Intha’s unique rowing style while fishing.

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 Pa-O women wearing a traditional black tunic and a brightly colored turban. The turbans are often simply scarves or towels bought at local markets and then are wrapped in a traditional style. According to an old legend the Pa-O are descendants of a father who was a supernatural being and a mother who was a dragon. The women’s trademark turban is a manifestation of the creation myth. The Pa-O, also known as Taungthu, are the second most numerous ethnic group in Burma’s Shan-State.

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 Intha girl rowing a boat. 

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 Nam-Pan. Markets rotate between five different locations over a five day period. 

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 Nam-Pan. Markets rotate between five different locations over a five day period. 

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 Intha fishing with cone shaped net. 

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 The Intha’s unique rowing style while fishing.

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Intha woman preparing a fresh caught fish.

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 Pa-O woman selling limes and chili at a market.

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Nam-Pan.

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 Pa-O woman having lunch at Nam Pan market.

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 Pa-O woman selling dried herbs at Nam-Pan Market.

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 Intha family. 

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Nam-Pan.

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 Intha boy lets his kite fly.

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Children of the Intha grow up on the lake.

 

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Inle Lake is suffering from the environmental effects of increased population and rapid growth in both agriculture and tourism. In the back the construction of new roads and hotel resorts can be seen.

 

 

In Buddha’s Honor: Yangon

YANGON, BURMA. (2014)

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A group of Buddhist nuns is walking next to Yangon’s famous Shwedagon Pagoda, which is said to enshrine eight strands of Buddha’s hair inside.

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The Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon is known for its enormous 65 meters long Reclining Buddha image which is housed in a large shed near Kandawgy Lake. The original image was completed in 1907.

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A Burmese girl is praying next to several colorful statues of Buddha placed in Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma’s most sacred place.

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A Burmese girl is sitting outside of a shop selling Buddhist devotional objects in one of the entrance halls to Yangon’s famous Shwedagon-Pagoda.

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A Buddhist monk meditating.

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The giant Sitting Buddha of Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda.

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Two men working in a handicraft business famous for lacquerware and wood carvings with a huge wooden statue of Siddhartha Gautama in the middle.

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Buddhist believers walk clockwise around Shwedagon Pagoda, Burma’s most sacred place. The Golden Pagoda is said to enshrine eight strands of Buddha’s hair inside.

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Tourists pose for a picture in front of  the giant 65-meters-long Reclining Buddha image housed at Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda in Yangon. 

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A Buddhist nun is praying at Yangon’s Shewdagon Pagoda.

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A Buddhist monk is buying a monk robe at a shop next to Shwedagon Pagoda.

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A Burmese man is painting a wood carved Buddha statue. 

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A vendor in a handicraft shop selling Buddha statues.

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Buddhist pilgrims walking around Shwewadon-Pagoda, Burma’s most sacred place.

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Buddhist believers praying in front of various Buddha statues at the Shwedagon-Pagoda.

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In Buddhism the most important date is the weekday you are born. There are eight days a week (wednesday is divided in two parts, before and after midday). Around Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda eight statues of Buddha along with the relevant animal for the day of birth are situated clockwise. Buddhist believers go to their birthday corner and water the Buddha and the animal to gain merit for the afterlife.

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A little Burmese girl is watering the Rat statue which indicates she is born on a Thursday.

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A Burmese monk is walking the Shwedagon Pagoda clockwise. The Golden Pagoda is said to enshrine eight strands of Buddha’s hair inside.

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A Burmese man is showing his daughter an image of Shwedagon-Pagoda which he just took with his smartphone.

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A Burmese women is praying at Shwedagon-Pagoda.

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Burmese monks pray in a monastery next to Shwedagon-Pagoda.

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Buddhists watering a Buddha statue.

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Burmese monks living in a monastery next to Nga Htat Gyi Pagoda.

 

 

 

Nat Spirits Medium

Mount Popa in Burma is the supposed home of the 37 most important Nat spirits and therefore the major Nat pilgrimage site. According to animism believe Nats were human beings who met violent deaths and then became spirits of natural forces, such as water, wind or stones. While Buddhism is mostly concerned with the dealing of future lives, Nat spirits are asked for everyday problems. Every village has a Nat shrine where offerings can be made. In addition to asking for good fortune offerings are also made to avoid harm by those Nats who are considered to be angry.

Regular ceremonies are held for the Nats performed by a spiritual medium dancing into trance to be able to communicate with the spirits. The worshipping tradition has long been associated with the Transgender community. Transvestites and Transgender are seen as more likely to be able to communicate with Nat spirits.

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Transgender inside a Nat Shrine at famous pilgrimage site of Mount Popa.