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Why Golden Rock (Kyaikto) is special ?
With its great weight balanced so precariously on the cliff edge, the Golden Rock is a truly extraordinary natural feature. It is little wonder it is regarded with such sacred awe. According to legend, it is kept in place by a single hair of the Buddha.
The main legend of the Golden Rock begins with a hermit bringing a hair of the Buddha to his king. The hermit instructed that his gift be enshrined under a rock shaped like the hermit's head. (The name Kyaik-htiyo means "Pagoda on a Hermit's Head.")
Fortunately the king was the son of a zagwi (a hermit reborn as a powerful, magical being) and a naga (sea dragon) so he was able to find and retrieve the rock from the bottom of the ocean.
The king built a ship to carry the rock to the mountain. After the rock was in place, balanced on the hair of the Buddha, the boat turned to stone. A stone that looks a bit like a ship is enshrined in the complex.
Another legend explains that the rock actually hovers in the air above the cliff. Originally there was enough room between for a chicken to walk under it, then it sunk a bit and only a partridge could walk through, and finally only a sparrow could walk through. Today it still hovers, but the space is so narrow that it can't be seen.
What to explore at Golden Rock (Kyaikto)?
The Golden Rock is a great boulder about 25 feet high, which looks like it could crash down the hill at any moment. Its area of contact with the cliff is extremely small. The gilded boulder is topped with an 18-foot tall pagoda.
The great rock suddenly and spectacularly comes into view from the steep path up the hill, and can then be approached and touched (by men only) from the shrine complex that spreads out behind it on the cliff.
The Kyaiktiyo shrine complex consists of several viewing platforms, pagodas, Buddha shrines and nat spirit shrines. Worshipers gather in the area behind the rock to pray and make offerings, and nearly all apply a square of gold leaf to the rock as an offering and act of merit.
Away from the main shrine complex is a circle of eight gongs with four statues of nats and angels in the center.
The views from the Golden Rock are spectacular and many visitors stay to watch the sunset.
How to get to Golden Rock (Kyaikto)?
The Golden Rock with the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is located close to Kyaikto town, some 80 kilometers East of Bago and 160 kilometers North East of Yangon. Getting there requires quite a bit of effort. Although the trip is an adventure in itself, it takes considerable time and part of the journey can be uncomfortable.
The first leg of the journey is taking a bus or private taxi from either Yangon or Bago to Kinpun village at the base of the mountain where the Golden Rock is on. From the base camp in Kinpun travellers make a ride in the back of an open truck that is fitted with benches. The ride up on the winding roads on the forested mountains over 1,000 meters above sea level takes around 30 minutes to Ya Thay Taung.
From here it is about one hour walk to the Golden Rock along a road with souvenir shops. Bring plenty of water for the climb. At the entrance gate of the temple complex you have to take off your shoes and socks and continue the walk barefoot. Bring a bag to carry them with you. If you don’t feel like walking you care hire porters to carry you up to the Kyaikhtiyo Golden Pagoda in a kind of bamboo sedan chair. Negotiate a price before leaving and pay at the end of the return trip.
- Beautiful view if you get nice weather
- The Magical Golden Rock
- Fantastic atmosphere
- The second most holy place in Myanmar
- Must stay the night
Thaton District, Myanmar
Tips for you
Before i booked my tour For Yangon, I searched for the Places Of Interests That I wanted to see and it was one that Attracted me! However I decided to book he Tour once I got there...And I did With a Driver and Car That I hired but halfway there we had to get this bus ride to get to the place! i even had to buy a new hat because lost one the day before! Fascinating sights along the way as well, though quite uncomfortable with the sweltering heat and other people in the bus. Upon Arrival there was quite a bit of walk as well. The place lined up with Restaurants, Cafes, and other tourist and worshippers alike. Elderly ones are Being Carried aloft a makeshift plank. But The Sight Was Indeed Awesome! unfortunately, Women were not allowed to get Close to the Rock itself so I just took photos and posed for some. Just to be there is an experience one will always remember! A mixture of magic and Faith makes It Worth Seeing! I highly recommend it to Co Travellers! Don't miss it!