At the end of this long walk, you can see the amazing golden rock on which the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, one of the three sacred monuments included in the Buddhist pilgrimage destinations, is perched.
What makes this work of art so special? The location, for sure. In fact, the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is perched on a massive granite boulder, which has been balancing on a cliff on top of Mount Kyaikto for over 2500 years. Legend has it that the balance of the rock depends on a strand of the Buddha’s hair, without which it would have fallen from the cliff. The sacred rock, also known as the “golden rock”, is covered with gold leaves pasted on by devotees after the pilgrimage in sign of respect to gain merit and purify their souls. Today, the rock is fully covered with gold, and the sight at dawn and at sunset is unique, as the light reflects on it making it shine even more.
The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a small Stupa (spiritual monument); it is just over seven metres tall and it is found in the Mon state in Myanmar.
The Stupa represents Buddha’s enlightened mind. In particular, its appearance represents the five peculiar elements of Buddhism. The square base represents the earth; the round dome, water; the cone shape, fire; the canopy, air and the stupa’ volume, space. Generally, these buildings are built to store the relics of important Buddhist masters.
Tourists and pilgrims remain amazed by the legend of Buddha’s strand of hair that holds the boulder, but most of all they are overwhelmed by the golden hues produced by the golden rock at sunset.