Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock)
The Pagoda has offered an awesome and enchanted feeling to foreign tourists when they have visited the Rock. The Golden Rock has been found during the lifetime of Buddha over 2600 years ago and it has also defied the Law of Gravitation, precariously perching over a cliff of the main mountain of 1100 meters above the sea level.
The Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda has disseminated a message of Buddhist religious consciousness to all that have visited the holy place which has enshrined with a strand of the Buddha’s hair. Thus Buddhist devotees have a deep desire to go on pilgrimage to the Pagoda. Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is the most revered and celebrated pagoda in Myanmar.
News of some foreign geologist visitor, in fits and starts utter casually that it was perhaps a volcanic accidental phenomenon occurrence which contributed to the peculiar rock formation there in time immemorial had the properties of magnetic force that holding the boulder rock just in a slanting position in adhesion to the mountain. In fact, no team of geologists has ever visited Kyaikhtiyo to find out how the boulder, with an 18-feet tall pagoda on top, manages to perch precariously above the cliff of the main mountain.
As the legend says that the hair from Lord Buddha was given to a hermit who treasured the sacred hair that was kept in his hair knot until he had found a boulder resembling his own head on which he had built a pagoda to enshrine the hair. It is a miracle that this boulder has remained in its precarious position for centuries despite several earthquakes took place in the vicinity. Buddhist devotees have attributed to the influence of the power of the hair relic enshrined in the pagoda, had made the miracle boulder rock hovering in the air with awesomeness.
At the peak of the pilgrimage season during November to March, the Golden Rock gleams in different shades from dawn to dusk [ the sight at dawn and at sunset are unique], pilgrims’ chants reverberate in the precincts of the shrine, lighting of candles, meditation and offering to Lord Buddha continued throughout the night. Men crossed over a bridge across an abyss to affix golden leaves on the sides of the Golden Rock [women are not allowed to cross the bridge, as this is a Myanmar cultural tradition ].
Pilgrims from all regions of Myanmar and foreign tourists also visit the Pagoda. Even disabled persons who are staunch devotees, walking up the track on crutches. Old people who cannot climb are carried on stretches by porters to the Pagoda to offer prayers to Buddha The Full Moon day Tabaung in March is a special occasion for pilgrims to the shrine. On that day, the platform of the pagoda is lighted with ninety thousand candles, as a reverential offering to Lord Buddha.