These are just a few of the 1,047 ancient stupas that crown a hilltop at Shwe Indein Pagoda near Inle Lake, Myanmar. Legend insists that the shrines were built by Ashoka the Great, who lived from 304–232 BCE, however there is no archeological evidence to support this claim. The currently accepted theory is that they were constructed between 1174 to 1211, during the reign of King Narapatisithu, who was the last important king of Pagan (today known as Bagan). Each of the stupas is unique. Some are the original brick, others have been plastered and whitewashed, while still others are covered in gold leaf. A few have been well maintained, while others are decayed and crumbling. Many are elaborately decorated or incorporate statues of Buddha tucked into niches. Every few feet, a new scene opens up before the visitor, making Indein Pagoda one of the more fascinating religious sites in Myanmar. This was just one of many magical sights seen during my Myanmar Explorer Cruise/Tour with Viking River Cruises.