Tag Archives: tourist spot

Indawgyi Lake

Nationality: Burmese

Primary Language: Burmese

Other Language(s): English, Chinese

Age: 19

Occupation: Student

Residence: Hanover, N.H

Performance Date: 03/17/2024

P.P has been my friend since middle school and is also a Burmese person who is originally from Yangon, Myanmar. When I asked her of any legends, myths or tales she knows of, she recounts a legend that she learned of when traveling with her family and friends. Her family went on regular trips along with other family friends, to different places all over Myanmar. This included a lot of superstitious tourist spots. 

“Another tale I learned related to dragons was at Indawgyi Lake in the Kachin State. There, there is a Pagoda on an island in the middle of the lake, that’s where I visited. When the tide comes down, there is a path to the island. When I went there, the guide told us that there are dragons in the lake because dragons are usually in bodies of water. There were a lot of stalls selling food for us to feed the dragons while we walked on the path. I saw that some people were wriggling around like a snake on top of the path, it was really weird. I asked the tour guide about it and he said that’s because some of them have ancestral ties to dragons, and since they are near the dragons, their dragon spirit comes out and they start acting like dragons. It was so funny and unbelievable but quite a lot of people were doing it. There was a shaman that told one of my friend’s mom that she had a dragon spirit so they encouraged her to feed the dragons. She ended up buying milk as a donation and poured it into the lake! I think that this story was created just to make the tourist attraction more fun to visit. But the main reason is definitely to make the tourists pay for the food in the stalls and gain more profit.”

I interpret this legend as both a means of reinforcing cultural beliefs and scamming tourists. I see the dragon lore as a reflection of many Burmese people’s spiritual beliefs. On the other hand, the behavior of people acting like dragons is too nonsensical so I assume they are either hired actors or people who simply want attention. The legend seems tailored to mainly enhance the tourist experience and make more profit off of them. By making the location more mystical and intriguing, it preserves local folklore but also generates economic activity through the sale of food and souvenirs.