Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (also known as “Golden Rock”) is a widely known Buddhist site in the East Yoma Mountains, Burma.
The Golden Rock – a place frequently visited by pilgrims and one of the country’s most sacred places – is situated at an altitude of 1,100 meters (3,600 ft) above sea level.
Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, of which name means “pagoda upon a hermit’s head” is rather small (only (7.3 meters (24 ft) but its location is fascinating and at the same time unbelievable.
It was erected on the top of a huge granite boulder the so-called “balancing rock”, which is approx. 25 ft (7.6 m) in height and has a circumference of 50 ft (15 m).
The boulder itself – covered with gold leaves pasted on by devotees – seems to balance hazardously on the edge of the 1100-meter high cliff, with just a tiny footprint touching the rock.
It gives the impression that it will roll off the cliff at any moment and it seems to defy gravity.
Fortunately it has been there for centuries at least, despite that the boulder’s area of contact with the cliff beneath is indeed very small.
Legend says that the pagoda or ‘Golden Rock’ itself is built upon one hair of the Lord Buddha, who was visiting various locations and in one of them, he met a Taik Tha, a hermit, who chose to live in loneliness and to follow God.
Buddha gave Taik Tha a strand of his hair and the hermit gave it to the king of that time.
The king, who supposedly inherited supernatural powers from his father, an alchemist and his mother, a naga serpent dragon princess, found a rock at the bottom of the sea.
This rock , which resembled the hermit’s head shape, was placed on top of a cliff and, along with Buddha’s hair strand, covered the entire rock in gold and built a pagoda on top of it.
According to the legend the boulder was transported by a boat, which was later turned into a stone. This stone is also worshiped by pilgrims and it is located only 300 meters (980 ft) from the Golden Rock and Kyaiktiyo Pagoda.