Golden Rock or Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda
The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, also called the Golden Rock is one of Burma’s most sacred Buddhist sites in Mon State, Myanmar. It is located close to Kyaikto town, some 80 kilometers East of Bago and 160 kilometers North East of Yangon and a small pagoda (7.3 metres (24 ft)) built at the top of a sandstone boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male devotees. A massive boulder on the edge of a cliff with a pagoda on top of it enshrining a hair of the Buddha is an important pilgrimage site for Burmese Buddhists.
Another legend states that the celestial king was impressed by a Buddhist priest with his asceticism, and the celestial king used his supernatural powers to bring the rock to its present place, specifically choosing the rock as a resemblance to the head of the monks. The rock balances on the edge of a cliff and it appears like it can fall down in the valley below it at any moment. The boulder seems to hover over the ground; the contact area is very small.
Every day many people come to the rock and pay their respect. Devotee pilgrims apply gold leaf to the rock. Only men can do this, as women are not allowed to touch the rock. Since this is a sacred place, at the main entrance you have to take off your shoes and socks and walk barefoot to the Golden Rock. Two large lions (Chinthes) guard the entrance to the temple grounds.
After dark the Golden Rock is a place with a mystical atmosphere with all the candle lights and the smell of burning incense sticks. The complex consists of several viewing platforms, a number of pagodas, shrines containing Buddha images and shrines for Nats, the Burmese spirits. The Golden Rock with the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is one of the most important places of pilgrimage for Buddhists in Burma. Anyways, it’s still a nice place to visit in Myanmar.
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