Inle Lake & Intha

Inle Lake, a freshwater lake located in the Nyaung Shwe Township of Taunggyi District of Shan State, part of Shan Hills in Myanmar(Burma). It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 44.9 square miles (116 km2), and one of the highest at an elevation of 2,900 feet (880 m). In 2015 the United Nations added Inle lake to its World Network Biosphere Reserves. There are a total of 651 sites in 120 countries in this network, but Inle Lake is the first biosphere reserve to be added for Myanmar. The people of Inle Lake (called Intha), some 70,000 of them, live in four cities bordering the lake, in numerous small villages along the lake’s shores, and on the lake itself. Most are devout Buddhists, and live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient farmers. Local Intha are known for practicing a distinctive rowing style which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. This unique style evolved out of necessity as the lake is covered by reeds and floating plants, making it difficult to see above them while sitting. Standing provides the rower with a view beyond the reeds. However, the leg rowing style is only practiced by the men. Women row in the customary style, using the oar with their hands, sitting cross legged at the stern.

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