The phaung daw u pagoda festival is the most famous pagoda of the Inle Lake. The pagoda contains 5 small golden images of Buddha covered with gold leaf. The images were originally made of sandalwood, but they have been covered so many times with gold leaf that they now look like objects of pure gold without form. The images represent the Kakkusandra, Kaunagamana, Kasatpa, Gautama and Arainmareya Buddhas of this world. On Myanmar tour packages every year at the end of the rainy season the regattas are held in the rivers and lakes of Myanmar. The most spectacular festival takes place in October at phaung daw u pagoda on Inle Lake, near Taunggyi.
During the event, 4 of the 5 Buddha images are placed in the Royal Barge. The 50th image of Buddha remains to take care of the monastery. The barge takes the form of Karaweik a mythical bird with a sweet voice and a procession takes place around the lake. The barge stops at each monastery and town on the road spending the night before moving the next morning in the clockwise direction. These visits represent those made by King Alaungsithu several centuries ago. The decorated royal barge is towed by several boats and driven by leg rowers from the Inle Lake. The highlight of the festival is the day when Buddha images arrive in the main city of Nyaung Shwe, where most pilgrims from the surrounding region come to pay their respects. There are hundreds of floating boats near and far. The barge spends 3 nights at Nyaung Shwe before returning to the Pagoda on the right side of the river.
The festival lasts 18 days and is carried out in accordance with the Lunar Calendar of Myanmar. The first day of the waxing moon of thadingyut begins and ends a couple of days after the full moon. On the last day of the festival, there is a boat race. Each race takes place between 3 boats, each with around 100 people. Inle Lake is located in the heart of the Shan Plateau 900 M above sea level. It is 22 KM long and 10 KM wide. Even if you do not go to Inle Lake for the festival, it is worth visiting the lake on your trips to Myanmar. While spending a day on a scenic boat trip along the lake, you will discover many different ethnic people and experience their daily lives with Myanmar travel packages.