Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda (also spelled Paung Daw Oo or Hpaung Daw U or a mix of any of these) is a pagoda complex in the Inle Lake area.
The pagoda houses five small gilded images of Buddha, which are believed to have been brought to the area in the 12th century. They are covered in gold leaf to the point that their original forms cannot be seen. They are now like 5 large round balls. Around the walls of the building are photos of the images before they became so ball like.
Like other pagodas, only men can approach the inner areas with the Buddha to lay the gold leaf onto the images.
Once a year they hold a festival where they take 4 of the 5 images on a boat tour for 18 days around the lake, visit the villages. The statues are carried on a replica royal barge and is quite a procession. The local people come and pay their respects to the images.
Story has it that in the 1960s, on a particularly windy day, waves were high on the lake and the barge carrying the images capsized and the precious images went into the water. They could not find one of the statues. However when they finally went back to the pagoda, the missing one was there. From this time, they only take 4 of the statues and not all 5 of them out for the procession.
Just before you go into the main building, you can buy some snacks.
Admission is free but there is a fee for using a camera. The camera fee ticket came with a free postcard (a nice touch!). 500 kyat is approximately 50 US cents.
Left or right?
To see more about our visit to Myanmar, click here. Upcoming posts about Bagan and more on Inle Lake will be coming in the next few weeks, so be sure to follow my blog.