Kyaiktiyo Pagoda

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Renowned globally, it entices pilgrimage tourists with its awe-inspiring spectacle of a pagoda poised atop a solitary rock on a towering mountain, thousands of feet above ground.  PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

By U Win Sein

What sets the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda apart is its unparalleled uniqueness. The Golden Rock, securely seated on the mountain’s edge, is a symbol of stability and spirituality. Its intriguing history adds to its allure.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is situated in Mon State, Kyaikto Township, with nearly 5,000 pilgrims visiting the holy site daily. Besides its fame as a worldwide religious site, it attracts pilgrimage tourists so enthusiastically with its awesome attraction wonder of a pagoda perching lonely on a rock sitting on a prominent mountain thousands of feet deep below precariously. Not only the local religious devotees but also tourists from far away China, India, America and Britain, respectively, visit the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda.
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is so unique. The Golden Rock is sitting on the edge of the mountain stably. And the history of the pagoda makes you curious. A well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon State, it is a small pagoda 7.3 metres (24 feet) built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male worshippers. According to legend, the Golden Rock itself is precariously perched on a strand of Lord Buddha’s hair, which would make it the oldest Buddhist stupa in the world. The pagoda was first built between the 6th and 10th centuries AD.
Buddha is the main draw, but another reason to make the journey is the panoramic 360-degree view of the surrounding Mon State mountains from the
summit.
Kyaiktiyo is a pagoda atop a mountain named after it, meaning “pagoda on a hermit’s head “. The pagoda stands 20 feet tall and is constructed on a granite boulder covered with gold leaves by devotees of Buddha, giving it a golden appearance. It is located at the summit of Kyaiktiyo Mountain, close to Kinpun, Mon State. It is one of the most popular pilgrim sites among Buddhists and, most importantly, is getting a lot of attention among international travellers.
Myanmar, as the title of this post states, is the land of golden pagodas. And yes, you are correct in guessing that means Myanmar is filled with pagodas. During its golden age, around the 11th-13th century, its kings built a massive amount of graceful temples and pagodas. The pagoda is made of marble and brick, and much of the brick is covered in gold. The various small stupas and icons are carved from marble and painted or covered in gold. The main stupa is completely covered in gold and contains priceless diamonds, rubies and emeralds at the top.

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