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Myanmar: Wherever the cliffs are covered in gold
The Golden Rock, or Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, is situated in the state of Myanmar, about 130 miles from Yangon. Recently, on a glowing heat, I went to the Golden Rock to experience its fascination for myself. From Yangon to the Golden Rock, a four-hour ride takes you through Bago and on to Mon State.
I' ve made a full excursion from Yangon, which means a very long one. You would leave your accommodation at 5 a.m. and return around 5 p.m. Most travellers spend the night at Golden Rock, making the journey physically and logistically a little simpler.
Kyaik Hto is the best place to stay at the Golden Rock. The Golden Rock, also known as Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. I' ve taken aim at the Golden Rock, a picture that has become an icon for Myanmar. But after I had visited Myanmar for 20 years, I thought it was the right moment. I was about to study (and have often seen in the past) that the travel is more about the travel than about the goal, a piece of knowledge that cannot be overrated.
In Myanmar, however, all bad thoughts about early dawn are prone to vanish quickly as the brightly shining sky begins to shimmer on the horizon. In Myanmar, however. It is truly magic when Myanmar wakes up: the fog raises over the paddy paddies and landlocks; the humans start their period and do their everyday work; the friars are leaving their temple and going through the towns to welcome their early mornings charity; the temple shimmers in the bright golden glow of the first of the year.
Once I got out of Yangon and the day was up, I felt an emotion for the trip I was taking. According to legends, it was established by two mon principesses in 573 A.D. The Lord Buddha foretold that a kingdom would emerge in this very place - and so he did.
Concerning the concept Kyaikpun Pago, it comes from a mon-lexicon: "Kyaik" (Buddha) and "Pon", which means "four" and refers to the approximately 27 meter high four-seater Buddha-chrine. The next one was the Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha, 55 metres long and 16 metres high, making it the second biggest Buddha in the whole wide universe.
Like from one side of Indiana Jones, the Shwethalyaung Reclining Buddha, solid as it is, was actually "lost" to the worid when it was looted in 1757. Only later, in the British Indian era, was the Shwethalyaung Lying Buddha re-discovered under a gigantic roof of jungles.
We left Bago and walked past Shwe Maw Daw Stupa, which resembles the more popular Shwedagon pit in Yangon, but is actually bigger. Often known as the Golden God Temple, with a peak of 115 metres, it was built around 1000 A. D. and repeatedly devastated by horrible quakes, two of which were particularly horrible in 1917 and 1930.
This hair was given by Buddha himself to two Mon traders on a journey to India. Buddha's dental relic was added in 982 A.D. and 1385 A.D. When we left Bago, there was a sudden tailback that seemed odd for 7:30 a.m. on a Saturday in the countryside of Myanmar.
But it turned out that there was a parade of novitiate friars (and their families) on their way to the church for a coiffure. In order to become a friar, you must make certain changes, dress in certain clothes and of course you must clean your skull. This is a noviciate in Bago. Luckily I saw this scenery in a small town when the novices ride horses, paint faces and dress in colourful outfits.
A similar Yangon event would be performed by a similar force in motorised traffic in a side-by-side setting. Presumably there were 10 novitiate friars, from five years to early teens. All of their family participated in the parade - first the older men on horseback, with lavish parasols, then the noviciate friars, followed by the ladies.
We had a long parade of the most beautiful women in the town, all in gold. This is because the Myanmar population does not rely on banknotes made of pen and pencil, or even numbers on a computer monitor, but on gold to make trading easier. In general, the Bangladeshi population has always wore gold.
It' an intrinsic part of their culture. Though I saw a hair shave ceremonies a few years before Yangon, I always wanted to watch this kind of parade in a more rustic setting, so I felt very happy that time. After this wonderful surprise we had a three hours ride to the Kyaiktiyo Golden Rock station.
By the time we got there, I could see the huge, shiny Golden Rock in the faraway. I' always thought the Golden Rock was golden. But since it is Myanmar, I have found out that it is in fact entirely coated with gold foil - two tonnes, as my leader said.
Myanmar tribe is sticking gold foil to the rocks as a way of worshipping. It is not allowed for a woman to touch the rocks, so it is the men who attach the gold sheets. More than 90% of genuine gold is pure. As it is quite impossible to study every gold sheet fixed to the rocks, objectivity may allow the conclusion that the gold of the rocks differs in cleanness.
Can the very needy people on pilgrimage buy genuine gold? It' s astonishing that the Golden Rock has never dropped despite the earthquake. It is an impressing place and it corresponded to the photos I had seen of him in the past. Before it was customary to return to Yangon, I took pictures of the picture from different perspectives.
After we took the motorway back to Yangon, we briefly stoped on the Taukkyan War Cemetery with its tombs of 6,374 troops who were killed in World War II. I had finished my voyage, I went back to Yangon, weary, but on many planes weaker. Although Golden Rock was indeed a real gem, this tour embodies the saying that the voyage is more important than the final goal.