Indein Village is one of the most memorable places in the region near Inle Lake in Myanmar.
It is located eight kilometers (almost five miles) west of the southern coast of the lake and is only accessible by boat along a scenic eight-kilometer (five-mile) stretch of water known as Inn Thein creek.
The village became famous due to its abandoned Buddhist pagodas of various sizes, which today stand preserved in very different conditions. Some have been restored while others are still crumbling ruins.
According to some historical sources, it is estimated that the village was founded in the 4th century BC.
At that time, the Indian emperor Ashoka sent several monks to this place in order to spread Buddhism. It was many years later when two kings of the Bagan empire set up hundreds of pagodas.
Most of the structures date back to the 17th century, although the oldest one has an inscription from the 14th century.
The pagodas are divided into two groups: the Nyaung Ohak Pagodas and the Shwe Inn Thein Pagodas. The Nyaung Ohak Pagodas are not as well preserved as their counterparts in Shwe Inn Thein, and many of them are overgrown.
They are decorated with sculptures of mythological animals or celestial creatures, some enshrining images of Buddha as well.
The Shwe Inn Thein Pagodas are in a much better state of repair as many of them have been restored by volunteers and donors, who hail from both the local area and foreign countries.
However, there are still some pagodas that are in a decaying state in this group as well.
This second set of pagodas is reached via a covered walkway which is lined with stallholders selling bags, clothes, and other items.
Despite the pagodas being in ruins, the nearby village itself is not actually abandoned. Families live there and their economy is based on trade.
There are five villages around Inle Lake and together they have created the “five-day market.” This specific§ arrangement means that the market operates five days a week, but each day it is based in a different village. This market is where the Pa-Oh people sell what they’ve grown.
The market and the villages that host it are only able to exist due to the additional farming done by the locals. Several large rice fields are located in this region which provide more income.
In the midst of this historic site, people continue to engage in everyday life and seeing this traditional, rustic form of lifestyle appeals to tourists as much as the pagodas.
For those who want to see the ancient pagodas, special tourist trips are carried out, provided by different companies.
In addition to pagodas, this region also attracts tourists who want to come and see the lake. As well as local fishermen plying their trade, there is also a temple that tourists can visit.
It is believed that the Inn Thein Buddha Temple was built at the same time that the village was founded.
The temple can be found in the center of the Shwe Inn Thein Pagodas and inside there is a golden image of a meditating Buddha.
Even if visitors aren’t interested in seeing the statue, it’s still worth a trip to the temple to see the magnificent views of the surrounding area.
You can reach this extraordinary place only by boat, and even then, only at set times of the year. In summer, the water level is too low for the boat to make the trip, so visitors can only gain access to this amazing site during the winter and rainy season.
This great set of photographs was provided by Romain Veillon, a photographer from France who specializes in visiting abandoned places and traveling. T
hrough his photographs, Romain Veillon establishes a dialogue between past, present, and future.
A huge thank you to him for sharing such amazing photographs and you should definitely check out on his website via this link. Enjoy!