Indawgyi Pagoda Festival

Indawgyi Pagoda Festival


Indawgyi Lake is the biggest natural lake in Myanmar, and one of the largest in all of Southeast Asia. Located in the Moegaung area of Kachin State’s Myitkyina district, the lake is 15 miles long (north-south) and 8 miles wide (east- west) with a total area of is 80 square miles. The lake, which has been named an ASEAN Heritage Park, is an important stopover for migratory birds.

Indawgyi also holds cultural significance as the site of Shwe Myitsu Pagoda, built during the Konbaung era (19th century) and located on an island in the lake. The site hosts the biggest pagoda festival in Kachin State, held for one week each year from the 8th waxing day to the full moon day of the lunar month of Tabaung (usually March).The festival is especially popular among the Shan who live in the surrounding hills, and with drinking and gambling occurring on the periphery of the official proceedings, the celebration has a reputation for being a bit more raucous than typical pagoda festivals.

One interesting quirk about this festival is the existence of two sandy causeways leading from the lake-shore to the pagoda. One is used by human pilgrims visiting the festival, and the other is reserved for nats(Spirits) and celestials. It is said by locals that the walkways emerge from the lake shortly before the festival each year, and just as mysteriously disappear beneath the surface after the full moon day.

 

 

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