Sunday, October 28, 2012

Inle Lake, Myanmar- Farming and Fishing

Intha fisherman on Inle Lake

Intha fisherman on Inle Lake

House on stilts

Residential neighborhood

Farming mats with crops

Neighbors helping each other

Children playing on farming mats on Inle Lake

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 of the people are Intha and are devout Buddhists who live in simple houses of wood and woven bamboo on stilts; they are largely self-sufficient farmers.

Most transportation on the lake is traditionally by small boats, or by somewhat larger boats fitted with single cylinder inboard diesel engines. Local fishermen 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 for the reason that 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.

Farmers use floating mats woven of dried reeds and grass covered with mud to grow crops. They mats are as long as 196 feet, but very narrow so that they can be easily worked from a boat. The term gardener gets new meaning with some Inthas towing this land behind them and selling off slices to the needs of their customers.

More about this interesting area in Myanmar in the next post.

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