Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock) and Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)


Kyaiktiyo is “Golden Rock,” a huge boulder completely covered with gold leaf. The gilded boulder is delicately balanced on the edge of the sloping surface of a separate rock table. The boulder and rock barely touch each other. The legend is that the position of the boulder is held by virtue of the power of a Hair relic of Gautama Buddha, enshrined in the pagoda. Built in 574 BC (more than 2500 years ago) and recognized as one of the wonders of Southeast Asia, Golden Rock is an important pilgrimage site. The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Pagoda and/or Stupa are interchangeable words) is located on top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo at about 3,600 feet above sea level.

You get to the top by taking an open truck (very crowded) up the 6-mile dirt road to a mid-staging point. …View image… The lower area is surrounded by food stalls and lots of hustle and bustle. The truck operators have their routine down to a science…wait until each truck is completely loaded, jowl-to-jowl,…cheek-to-cheek… and head on up with everyone hanging on for dear life. We smooshed ourselves in towards the backside of the truck to hold on because it resembles a bumpy, roller coaster ride. At the half-way mark, all foreigners get off with the aid of a little ladder and start walking to the final stage (another three miles), up steep paths. Foreigners are not allowed to travel any higher by vehicle because the road is steep and dangerous. …View image

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truck up to Golden Rock
Visitors can also be carried in sedan chairs by four porters at a cost of $10 per person. The porters took one look at ex-Marine’s heft and started negotiating. They probably thought there was no way he was going to make it, and followed us for at least a mile and a half waiting for him to drop before they gave up. Toe did hire a porter to carry our bags to the Golden Rock Hotel (e-mail: grtt@goldenrock.com.mm), an hour below Golden Rock at the top. There are some guesthouses at the top, but we chose not to stay there. If watching the sunset and sunrise on the Rock is important to you, stay at the top.

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porters eyeballing ex-Marine’s weight at Kyaiktiyo in Myanmar
 

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they were determined to carry him up to Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock)

Beyond the Golden Rock Hotel, we passed people on pilgrimages, porters carrying items up…View image… and started walking through different areas with shops and guesthouses until we reached the main area where Toe paid the entry fees and we had to take our shoes off.

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approaching the top of Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock), Myanmar

There were viewing platforms to walk around the Golden Rock. Only men are allowed to actually afix the gold leaf to the rock in devotion. Toe bought some and he and ex-Marine went beyond the barriers to attach it to this sacred Buddhist site. …View image

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Golden Rock in Myanmar

November to March is pilgrimage season and the area was loaded with people chanting, lighting candles, meditating, sleeping and eating on the marble terraces through the night. There are several other stupas and shrines at the top but we concentrated on Golden Rock, walking along the terraces to get different views of this huge rock balanced so precariously. An incredible sight as the rock changed from bright gold to gold with purple tints in the dusk but it was getting cold up there and we headed down to Golden Rock Hotel for the evening.

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view of Golden Rock from below, Myanmar

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One Response to “Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock) and Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)”

  1. Beverly says:

    Happy Birthday!

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