Pindaya is well known for making decorative paper and umbrellas.
To make the paper, mulberry bark is first soaked for a day or so and then boiled for about eight hours. Then the process of pounding the fibres to a pulp begins. Mashing the boiled fibers is a long process of rhythmically pounding with two mallets.
When the pulp is soft enough, it’s rubbed into a small bowl of water and swished to mix.
A rectangular wooden frame with a stretched cotton base is placed into a bath of water. When the pulp in the bowl is liquid enough, it’s poured into the water. A good swishing spreads the pulp evenly in the water across the cotton base.
After the pulp has settled, petals and leaves are added to decorate the paper.
After a minute or two of settling, the frame is lifted from the water bath and put into the sun to dry.
The finished paper is then lifted from the cotton backing.
The Pindaya Caves date back to the late 1700’s and consist of many chambers filled with approximately 8,000 Buddha statues. Visitors can walk up steep covered pathways to get to the entrance or use a more modern method (car and elevator) to get to the top.
The Archer and Spider outside the caves represent the legend of a giant spider that captured seven princesses and imprisoned them in one of the caves. A prince from Inle Lake bravely battled the spider and shot it with a single deadly arrow.