Monday, September 9, 2019

Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda: A masterpiece of nature

Myanmar is considered the country of temples. Among them, the Golden Stone Pagoda or Kyaikhtiyo Temple is one of the most famous temples in Myanmar, is considered the wonders of Southeast Asia and is the strange temple in the world when located on a rock inlaid gold lying on the cliffs.

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Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda is an ancient temple with more than 2,500 years of history, located on a rock at an altitude of 1,100 m above sea level near Kyaikto town, Thaton district, Myanmar, about 210 km from Yangon.

In the Mon language, Kyaik means a temple and Htiyo is "a monk's head". Kyaikhtiyo means "the temple is placed on the monk's head". In addition to the name Kyaikhtiyo, the temple is also known as Golden Stone Pagoda because it was built on a 7.3m high rock, circumference of 15.2m, and both the stone and the temple are covered with gold leaf.
Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda
The main special feature that makes everyone surprised by the Golden Stone Pagoda is that it is located on a rock that is precarious, craggy, dangerous on the ridge when the point of contact with the cliff is only about 78cm².

From a distance, everyone feels like a rock is about to fall. However, this sacred stone has survived for thousands of years, breaking all principles of gravity. And of course, if you want to go to Kyaiktyo temple on the top, you definitely have to cross this mysterious Golden Rock.

Golden Stone is associated with a very interesting legend. According to legend, the time Shakyamuni Buddha came here to preach, he gave a hair to a hermit named Taik Tha. Upon his death, the hermit returned the hair to his adopted son, King Tissa, the ruler of Myanmar in the 11th century, with instructions to store this relic in a stone shaped like his head. 

The king could not find such a stone, and had to ask his parents (god Zawgyi and goddess Naga) to help him. These two gods found a rock in the ocean. The stone was brought up and placed on Kyaikhtiyo hill. The hair of the Buddha was stored in a stone and a small temple was built, named Kyaikhtiyo.

According to the belief of the local people, the big stone only contacted with the mountains less than 1m², but it was extremely sustainable thanks to the god Tawadeintha used a god boat to salvage the stone and transport it to the top of the hill. The boat and the rope were turned to stone and lay about 300 meters away from the golden stone to keep it from falling.

At present, the entire Kyaiktiyo Pagoda and the unique rock are plated 24k gold by Myanmar people which create magnificent and impressive architecture for the construction. However, to get here, you have to go through a very difficult distance of travel about 11km from the foot of the mountain, with steep, zigzag, winding roads.

If walking takes too much of your time and energy, you can choose to sit in a truck, but learn carefully because many people said that feeling like sitting on a roller coaster. This is dangerous for the faint of heart!

But the road from Kimpun camp to Golden Rock is an interesting challenge for visitors. These are steep and winding like elbows, that no vehicles, no horse can go, can only be conquered by the feet. Only about 1.2 km but it usually takes up to 1 hour to reach the top.
Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda
Myanmar Buddhists believe that to arrive, kneel and embrace the stone will help them become rich and prosperous. Visitors here can buy the gold leaf inlaid thinly and manually lay on the sacred stone to pray.

However, according to Myanmar custom, only men can do this, and women have to stop in front of an iron fence separating the temple. They can only respectfully present offerings to altars and kneel on the ground, pray. People also shared stories about if going to Kyaiktiyo Temple 3 times a year, they would have good luck and happiness.

Every corner of Kyaikhtiyo temple complex is placed Buddha statues, with many more prominent than the others because it is inlaid with thousands of gems, several hundred diamonds and hundreds of golden bells. The scenery here is majestic, always surrounded by white, floating clouds. Standing on high, visitors can zoom eyes, fully capture the magnificent landscape of the mountains.

In the morning, when the sun has not wakened up, the horizon shone with bright colors, below, white clouds hugged the lower peaks, creating a water-color painting. In the afternoon, Golden Rock became sparkling and fanciful. At night, the sacred stone glowed in the golden light, sparkling in the smoke of incense and melodious in the prayers.

The unique architecture, the strangeness of the rock protruding on the cliffs, especially the sacred Buddhist space has made the temple more and more famous, attracting many tourists from everywhere. Associated with the Golden Stone is an interesting and mysterious legend about the Buddha's coming here to preach tenets. Therefore, there are always many people coming here to visit, worship, and celebrate.

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