Inle Lake Jumping Cat Monastery
Inle Lake Jumping Cat Monastery also known as Nga Phe Chaung Monastery is a popular tourist destination on Inle Lake, located near Ywama village. The Burmese name for this monastery is Nga Phe Kyaung located in the township of Nyaungshwe in Shan state.
This monastery has gained its reputation as “Jumping Cat Monastery” because the numerous cats hanging around the monastery are trained to jump through a hoop.
Nga Phe Kyaung monastery itself is over 100 years old, built four years before the Mandalay palace, and worth a visit, just to experience the beautiful architecture which is traditional in monasteries from this bygone era. It is built on the lake on thick teak wood stilts around 1850 and is the oldest wooden monastery in the Inle Lake region.
When approaching the monastery by boat it would appear from the outside that it is rather weather-beaten, the roof has seen better days, and who knows, maybe with the influx of tourists, the tourist dollar may help replace or repair it sometime in the future.
The interior is another story, also weather-worn, with numerous huge teak wood supporting pillars which are mostly gilded, will I imagine still be standing in a few hundred years’ time.
The main room in this Monastery is huge with a raised center platform that houses the many beautiful Buddha statues, approximately 500 we believe. Most of the statues within this monastery are predominantly Shan style, with several in the royal crowned Jambhupati style, Mandalay, and Tibetan styles.
There is a sense that time has stood still when walking within this monastery, the many gigantic thick teak wood pillars, teak wood floors, and beautiful Buddha statues make this monastery a must-see, so peaceful and tranquil.