The enchanting Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, the incomparable Golden Rock

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Any country can put forward their ancient outstanding cultural or natural sites for listing as the World Heritage Sites with UNESCO. Such sites must contain outstanding value and must meet at least one out of the ten selection criteria lay down by the Selection Committee of UNESCO .The Selection criteria are :-
[1] to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius.
[2] to exhibit an important interchange of human values ,over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on development in architecture or technology, monumental arts ,town planning or landscape design.
[3] to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared.
[4] to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technology ensembles or landscape which illustrate[a] significant –stage [s] in human history.
[5] to be an outstanding example of traditional human settlement ,land –use ,or sea-use which is representative of a [ culture].Or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
[6] to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living tradition. With ideas, or with belief, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significant [The Committee considers that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with other criteria];
[7] to contain superlative nature phenomena or area of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
[8] to be outstanding example representing major stages of Earth’ history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features;
[9] to be outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystem and communities of plants and animals;
[10]to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in –situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation .
As Myanmar is still in its infancy state on her international tourism business, so she has had a faraway distance left behind in the back in order to catch up her neighboring countries like China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam who have already developed themselves with sustainable tourism, comprising cultural tourism and preservation of historical heritages. Myanmar has offered many kinds of tourism services namely; Marine tourism, ecotourism, community tourism and trekking trips to the snow-capped mountains in the far North of Myanmar. Like many countries in the world, crying demand for travels and tours businesses together with the ability to generate high level of employment to prove the importance as a tool for economic development and jobs creation. For Myanmar to visualize a total tourism receipts from USD-534 million in 2012 to USD 10.18 million in 2020 and by such projected time the tourism industry could have create 1.49 million jobs.
With the inscription of the three ancient Pyu cities of Beikthano, Sriksetra and Hanlin names have been listed as the World Heritage Sites with UNESCO, the pagodas and temples crowded ancient great city of Bagan, the Shwe Dagon Pagoda of Yangon, the spelled bound and enchanted Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda in Mon State. are still left behind to be listed as the World Heritage Sites by the Selection Committee of UNESCO, but on account of some difficulties in the intricate procedure of selection, the recognition would soon be materialized on the substantial facts, Myanmar [Burma ]has after a drastic changes in her political, economic and social attitudes in all spheres in the whole country. With the media sector doubling its efforts to make known to all corners of the world that Myanmar has been free and invites the outside world to come and aid and make investment in Myanmar without fear at all.
To see Myanmar for real, is to come and visit Myanmar around October the start of the tourism season for Myanmar. To begin with, is the visit to the spelled bound and enchanted 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 life-time of Buddha over 2600 years and it has also defying 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. 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. Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is the most revered and celebrated pagoda in Myanmar. It is indeed recognized as one of the wonders of South East Asia, befitting to be called as one of the Great Wonders of the World. As lengend 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. Sometime, certain peculiar matter cannot be explained by modern technology or science, like the inexplicable question of what is Nature? There may be many ways to explain. For instance; the precise period of the four seasonal months taken place in accordance with a fixed period since time immemorial and that on which month, which kinds of flowers in blossom; or in space. planets are moving around a star by the solar system in a perfect systematic order regularly on and on as if an invisible hand has been taken care to direct all these happenings in the whole Universe in a systematic manner. As time goes by, many philosophers might have interpreted this invisible hand idea as equivalent to be called as Nature. Once, the inventor of atomic bomb theory, Dr. Albert Einstein was being asked the question of “Do you believe in God?” It was replied by Einstein “Yes, I do, everything happening in this Universe is manipulated by someone whom I may Him as Nature or others may call Him as God “So from the assumption of the peculiarity of that Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda precariously perched on a strand of Lord Buddha ‘hair enshrined in it, balancing on the boulder rock that defying gravity as it was perpetually appeared to be on the verge of rolling down the mountain would be a miracle with inspiration enough for any person to turn to Buddhism for good.
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 bridge across an abyss to affix golden leaves on the sides of the Golden Rock [women are not allow 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 this day, the platform of the pagoda is lighted with ninety thousand candles, as reverential offering to Lord Buddha.Injection of interest and enthusiasm on foreign tourists by making known widely to the outside world about Myanmar ,that it worth the money they would spend to take a trip to Myanmar thus enhance our country to receive more tourism revenue for our Government’s coffer.

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