Kyaiktiyo Pagoda or Golden Rock has become a popular pilgrimage and also tourist attraction in Mon State, Myanmar. In the Mon language, the word 'kyaik' means "pagoda" and 'yo' means "to carry on the hermit's head". The word 'ithi' means "hermit". Thus, 'Kyaik-htiyo' means "pagoda upon a hermit's head" The pagoda is located near Kyaikto in Mon State in the northern part of the Tenasserim coast. The Golden Rock is situated at an elevation of 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) above mean sea level, on top of the Kyaiktiyo hill (also known as Kelasa hills or Eastern Yoma mountains); it is on ridge of the Eastern Yoma mountains. It is at a distance of 210 kilometres (130 mi) from Yangon. The Kinpun village 16 km (10 mi) is at the base of Mt. Kyaiktiyo. According to legend, the Golden Rock itself is precariously perched on a strand of the Buddha's hair. The rock seems to defy gravity, as it perpetually appears to be on the verge of rolling down the hill. The rock and the pagoda are at the top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo. It is the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma after the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Pagoda.
The boulder itself was said to be floating miraculously up in the air, carrying the tiny pagoda with of holy Buddha relics in it. Over many centuries, it has descended bit by bit, and it is now intact with the cliff. However, being intact only for about 1 square meter, this still is a miracle that this golden rock has survived many earthquakes and storms for over 2400 years. Regular coaches reach only Kinpun Base Camp at the foot of the hills. Special trucks driven by well-trained drivers can now drive you up to Mt. Yathae, from which visitors trek uphill for about 45 minutes. Porters and palanquins are available to carry luggages and pilgrims who are too old or too weak.
It is a myth and a popular belief that one will gain more wealth, better health and luck every time he or she visits the miracle pagoda. Best season to visit Golden Rock is from October to March. Candle Light Festival is annually held in December.
From the base camp at Kinpun, the hiking trek to the pagoda is about 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) and many devotees do this trek as part of the pilgrimage rites.
There are also many temples and pagodas, which have been built recently on other hills in the vicinity of the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda that are visited by pilgrims and tourists by trekking along foot tracks.
Kyaikhtiyo Wildlife Sanctuary
Location - Mon state, Kyaikto Township
Area - 38606 acres.
Climate - Warm and humid
Annual rainfall - 145 inches
Average temperature 28 0C
Type of forest - Tropical rainforest .
Approach - On Yangon-Moulmein Highway, 120 miles south of Yangon.
all on paved road, accessible all season.
Characteristic - Golden-Rock ( Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda ) which is a natural heritage is situated in this sanctuary.
Potential for Tourism
(1) - Trekking Tours
(2) - Excellent site for Culture Tours
(3) - Bird-watching Tours.