Trip to Samka Lake

This week is another group of international with us in the monastery. They are volunteers from the same organization as us. They are here only for 12 days and their project is about helping in the monastery. They help in the monastery kitchen, in the construction of a new dormitory, on a farm, in a kindergarten, clean the surroundings, etc. This group has free every 3 days and goes on excursions to the surroundings. There were 14 volunteers: 2 Spanish, 1 French, 1 Italian, 1 Japanese, 1 Cambodian, 1 Vietnamese, and 7 people from different parts of Myanmar. Their free day just came out on our weekend so we joined them and we went on a trip all together.

We went on a trip to Samka Lake. The volunteers were supposed to go on a trip to the Inn Dein Pagoda, but it was not possible because of the reconstruction of the roads and another 2 fallen bridges.

Samka Lake is part of complex of lakes, on which is monastery where I live. At eight in the morning we set out with two boats.

Traditional Myanmar pottery workshop

Our first stop was a traditional Myanmar pottery workshop. This workshop is located on the river that connects Samka Lake with Inle Lake. The boat journey took about an hour because the second boat was caught on the water lily island.It took some time to get him out. In the workshop they showed us the production of pottery. The lady who showed us that was properly skilled and worked really fast.

People in the terrain area are making and using pottery which could be easily and cheaply produced. Although pots are fragile. these can be used in many useful ways. Pots are not only used to store or cook food but also as burial urns to bury gold and jewelries. Thick clay is mixed with silt from the river to make a suitable consistency. then it is allowed to dry after which it is pounded into a fine powder. After sieving several times. the powder is allowed to seep in water for some days. After the silt has settled. the clear water is poured away and the remaining clay worked over until smooth. After that. lumps of it are rolled and are ready to use. In the traditional way they are making the pottery on pottery wheel powered only by human power (spinning the wheel with one hand).

We had a chance to try it ourselves. Then they escorted us to another part of the village where they showed us a stove in which they burn pottery. It was a large pit in the ground with a diameter of 1.5 meters deep about 3 meters. This pit served as the entrance to the stove. From this pit she led small corridor into a second room about 2 meters in diameter. This second room was low, with a fireplace in the middle around which ceramic products were stacked and chimney was above the fireplace.

Tharkong Pagoda

The next stop was was Tharkong Pagoda. Formerly the seat of a dynasty of Shan princes, today’s Samkar has two parts, the old town, a land-bound Shan village home to a small plot of crumbling ruins and a market that is part of the area’s five-day market circuit, and a more modern floating village. Tharkong Pagoda is a collection of  stupas that date back at least 500 years.  

Alcohol factory.

Local methods of producing high degree of Alcohol fermented and extracted from Bran Rice using traditional way of distillation.  They were burning 20%, 40%, 60% rice alcohol. 

Samka village.

One of the largest villages in the area. Village with school and hospital. In my opinion, the village is the same as every village in this area, but there was the possibility to buy more things and foods. And also to see lot of small pagodas. In this village we sat down on the bottle of myanmar beer and to strengthen relations in the new team.

Stone bridge near Samka village

I have been to this place once and have written about it. Here we stopped this time just to bathe in crystal clear water. After a refreshing bath we went back to the monastery by boats.


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