KYAIKHTIYO PAGODA

Kyeikhtiyo pagoda is usually visited from October to March every year. There is a candle lighting festival during that time all over the country. The famous legendary Pagoda on the Golden Rock is about 160 km from Yangon and 11 km of hiking from the base camp at Kyaikhto. Visitors can also go by car up to the point about a mile away from the Pagoda. This pagoda is situated on a rocky mountain 3615 ft above sea level.

The Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is one of the most ancient and celebrated pagodas in Myanmar. It is situated in the vicinity of Kyaikhto Township, Thaton district. The pagoda is said to have been built during the life time of the Buddha over 2400 years ago. According to Mon tradition, the name is a corruption of Kyaik-ithi-yo being derived as follows;
In Mon language the word "Kyaik" means " pagoda" and "yo" "to carry on the hermits head"; in Pali the word "ithi" means a hermit and therefore the name means " the pagoda carried on the hermit's head; the tradition is that after the hermit had obtained the hair from the Buddha, he was carrying it on his head inside his hair knot till he found a boulder which resembled his head, and so he built the pagoda on its enshrining the relic, substituting the boulder for his over head.

The pagoda, about 15 feet high, is situated on the hill of the same name on the ridge between Sittaung and Thanlwin. It is built on a huge, almost egg-shaped, rounded granitoid boulder perched on the very summit of a projecting and shelving tubular rock, which in itself is separated several feet from the mountain by a rent or chasm, now spanned by a small foot bridge of iron and on the further side drops perpendicularly into a valley blow.

On the extreme verge of this sloping rock table, and actually over hanging it by nearly half, is perched this wonderful boulder (now completely gilded with gold, thirty feet high and surrounded by the pagoda. By gently rocking the boulder a thread can be passed underneath; seemingly appears as if the additional weight of a few pounds, or a strong wind, would send it sliding down from the place it has occupied for unknown centuries watching over three thousand feet into the sloping valley beneath and we know what freakish law keeps it in its position.

Anyway pious Buddhists attribute it to the power of the relic enshrined in the pagoda. This relic is a hair of Gotama given to a hermit residing on the mountain by the Buddha himself as he was returning from the second heaven of the Nats whither he had gone to preach the law to his mother. It is of considerable celebrity and attracts crowds of worshippers annually beginning from October to March which is the seasonal pilgrimage period for worshippers Especially in the full moon day of Tabaung, the platform of the pagoda is lighted with ninety thousand candles offered to the Buddha and thousand of worshipper gather around the pagoda offering fruits, food, incense to the Buddha. Sometimes reflected rays of colour from the Buddha's image were said to have been observed by the worshippers.

Photographs
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