What and Where Is the Golden Rock?

The Golden Rock sits atop a granite outcropping in the Eastern Yoma Mountains.
The Golden Rock sits atop a granite outcropping in the Eastern Yoma Mountains.

The Golden Rock, also known as Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, is located in the Mon State of Burma. It is a popular Buddhist Pilgrimage site. In fact, the Golden Rock is the third most important pilgrimage site for the Buddhists in Burma after Mahamuni Pagoda and Shwedagon Pagoda. It is a small Buddhist Temple structure on top of a granite boulder. The pagoda is delicately placed on top and on the edge of the boulder. Despite appearing like it can fall off the granite boulder, the golden rock is steadfast. According to Buddhist legends, the Golden Rock stands on a strand of Buddha’s hair. Both the Golden Rock and the granite boulder are on top of Mount Kyaiktiyo.


The rock is located in Mon State near Kyaikto, in the northern region of Tenasserim Coast approximately 140 kilometers north of Mawlamyine Mon State’s capital and 210 kilometers from Yangon. It is on top of the Kyaiktiyo hill or otherwise referred to as Eastern Yoma Mountains. The golden rock is 3,609 feet above the sea level. The rock itself is golden in color, a color attributed to the golden leaves that Buddhists place on the rock during their pilgrimage. It is 7.6 meters tall with a circumference of 15 meters. The area of contact between the granite and the Golden Rock is small. The shape of the rock is believed to be similar to the shape of the head of the hermit that received the strand of hair from Buddha. The Golden Rock is believed to be a pilgrimage site for Buddhists for over 2,600 years.

Pilgrimage Site

Buddhists from all over Myanmar on pilgrimages frequently visit the Golden Rock. The pilgrimage season reaches its peak between November and March. During the visit, Buddhists offer fruits, gifts, and incense to Buddha. They also place gold leaves on the rock. Only men are allowed to go into the temple while women are not allowed to even touch the Golden Rock. The Buddhist laws dictate that people remove their shoes and walk barefoot once they reach a certain point called Yatetaung on their way up the mountain. The road leading to the pagoda is dusty with kiosks on its sides. A staircase that leads into the Pagoda offers different viewpoints of the rock.


Many tourists, both local and international are impressed by the positioning of the rock that defies the gravitational force. It seems like it can fall off the mountain at any moment. It is one of the top tourist attraction sites in Myanmar. The food kiosks, food outlets, guesthouses, and restaurants around the site make it even more tourist-friendly. The shade of the Golden Rock changes according to the intensity of the sunlight. The shades observed at dawn and dusk is usually unique. The mountain is also a good place for hiking. The tourists are also required to take off their shoes because the place is considered holy.


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