Kyaiktiyo – Golden Rock
The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda also known as Golden Rock is a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon State, Myanmar. Believers claim that the large boulder was placed on the cliff 2500 years ago, by two nat (Burmese spirits). Atop the gilded boulder is a 5.5 m pagoda, which is believed to contain a hair of the Buddha. The pagoda is located on Mt. Kyaiktiyo, and to get there requires a hike of 16 km or a trip by jeep followed by a 3km walk. There are men who will carry you up those final 3 km in a palanquin, however. The boulder is covered with layers of gold leaf. Women are not allowed to touch the boulder, nor are they allowed to be within proximity of the pagoda. The gilded boulder on which the pagoda sits is of granite. It is very precariously perched and seems to defy gravity. It is an example of a Rocking Stone, and the boulder can be set in a rocking motion by the coordinated pushing of a couple of persons, the motion is best observed by jamming a piece of bamboo strip between the base and the rock, and watch it bend as the rock moves. It has also been reported that a thread can be passed under the base by using the rocking motion to advance the thread, as it is pulled through. Some believe that this is evidence that the boulder does not touch the base, but floats above it, in part due to its holy nature. The area abounds with round granite boulders, some rocking, some not, but none as dramatic as the main Kyaiktiyo boulder. But for example, there is a silver boulder and paya near Kyaiktiyo, that pilgrims pass close to during the walk up the mountain to Kyaiktiyo. Kyaiktiyo has become a popular tourist attraction place of Pagodas in Myanmar. The town of Kyaikto located at the foot of the hill, is about 160 km from Yangon. The drive takes about 5 hours to reach Kinpun base camp at the foot of the hill. Upon arrival , you can enjoy ‘trekking taking 4 fours’ or ‘a steep winding motorway heading to the nearest camp of the pagoda. Many legends about the pagoda and the ‘nats’ or ‘spirits’ can not be counted. It is a 11 km uphill climb for the hikers from Kinpun base camp. There is also a steep winding road for 4-wheel drive cars from the base to the nearest point of the pagoda.