Lying on a mountain, Kyaikhtiyo Mountain Temple, with its long history, is a must-see destination in every Myanmar tour. Let us admire the beauty of this temple and explore the fascinating legends about this place.
Origin of the name “Kyaikhtiyo”
The name Kyaikhtiyo comes from Mon language, which means “the temple is on the head of a priest.” Legend has it that a Myanmar king received the Buddha’s hair from a priest. The king decided to build a temple to keep the sacred treasure. The priest advised the king to build the temple on a rock shaped like a head of monks and lay people. They then stored the treasure in the temple, on top of the holytower on a golden rock, which is also clinging to the cliff.
Discover the wonders of the Golden Mountain Temple on the Myanmar tour
The creative hand of man combined with natural masterpieces created miracles. Kyaikhtiyo is still the first destination of most of those who travel to Myanmar. The Temple was built on a large, egg-shaped rock at an altitude of 1,100 meters above sea level. This is a world famous religious architecture, the cultural heritage of humankind. From the bottom of the mountain, visitors only see the single rocky outcrop, but when it comes to the top, the scenery in front of the eyes is a unified architectural complex.
To climb to the top of a 12 km long from Kimmunsakhan, you have to climb 20 different stops with small stalls serving full of beverages and fruit. However, the attraction for most peopleis that during such a long journey, no ray of sunlight can affect people thanks to the large foliage that can shade everyone.
Kyaikhtiyo temple is about 30 meters high with many statues of Buddha placed around the corner, especially, some Buddha statues are decorated with thousands of precious stones, several hundred diamonds with hundreds of gold bell. The entire campus of the Golden Temple is rectangular in size, 20 meters above the city level. From four main directions are four rows of stairs covered with roof tile. The longest staircase includes 175 stairs and the shortest includes 104 stairs. The two side are a series of guest houses for pilgrims. It is believed that the supernatural power of the Buddha keeps balance of the temple and of the rock, on which the temple was built. Only a Buddha’s hair placed exactly in a7.3 m tower can anchor the huge rock on the cliff.
Listen to the myth of Golden Mountain Temple in Myanmar
In the past, in the jungle of the kingdom of Suvannabhumi (now Thaton) there are two brothers. They are two princes, but they have given up the glorious life, the golden palace, the wealth of the world to practice asceticism in the forest. The older brother’s name was Teikthadharma, the younger was Thiharaza.
One day, as the two men went to find the bulb, the fruit to eat, they found two large eggs lying on the ground. The older said, “This egg is unusually large, not of a normal species. Let’s keep it to see how it will be”and his younger brother agreed. Each person brought an egg to their home in the forest.
Some time later, surprisingly, the eggs hatched two children. They wholeheartedly nurture and care for the children. Thanks to their love and concern, they grew up into two handsome young men. The two masters and their adoptive sons often walked in the jungle, where they were trained in the use of various weapons as well as lifestyles in the jungle.
Ten years passed, suddenly the adoptive child of the younger brother died. That tragedy was truly a tragic event for the two brothers and the adopted son left. But misfortune never come singly! Soon they heard the news that the King of Suvannabhumi died. The courtiers rushed to plead with him to return to the city to claim his father’s succession. Teikthadharma rejected the offer even though the courtiers said that a country without a king like a rudderless ship. The prime minister exclaimed, “Oh! How will your people beif you donot return to rulethe country? “But the man decided, he said,” Dear loyalty and wisdomcourtiers! I do not want to leave this place because I have left the world with the pleasures and temptations. However, if you agree, I will hand over my adopted son to govern the people”. Seeing his strong and stable decision, the courtiers followed this suggestion. So the adopted son was taken to the palace and crowned king, named Teikthadharma Thiriraza, in the name of foster father and adoptive father.
Speaking of his adopted son, soon after he died he was reborn as the son of a rich man in Mithila. He grew up, became a gentle and filial young man. One day, he came to pay homage to the Buddha and begged him to go home as a monk. After years of meditating and attending the Buddha Fa, he attained the divine Arahant, the so-called Venerable Gavanpati.
One time, while meditating, his mind recalled the past life in the forest of Suvannabhumi country, thinking of his adoptive father and his foster father. He decided to comeback and visit them.
Upon arriving at the two masters’ home, Venerable Gavanpati told them that he was their former adopted son, who at the age of ten died and was reborn. When they heard that, the two men were overjoyed. They were more than happy to hear that Bodhisattva Gotama became Enlightened Buddha and was teaching the Dharma in India. They longed to be able to meet His obeisance and to hear His noble teachings! Can this Arahant pray for the Blessed One to reach Suvannabhumi? Venerable Gavanpati reverently conveyed this request and the Buddha accepted it. He and the monks departed for Suvannabhumi.
They prepared everything to welcome the Buddha. When he arrived, he was met by two priests, the King or their adoptive son and the priest Kelathaya in the nearby forest. The Buddha preached many Dharma lessons on compassion and wisdom for them to hear. When he was about to return to India, they asked him to give them a privilege of having fewer relics to worship the Buddha objects during this visit. He accepted compassion and gave each man a curly hair. Thiharaza and Kelathaya placed Buddha relics in a small casket and preserved in the temple they built. Teikthadharma placed relics in his hair, often celebrated the treasures of the Enlightened One.
A few years later, the two priests Thiharaza and Kelathaya died. Teikthadharma felt that his life was running low. The King of Heaven was afraid that the precious relics of the Buddha would be lost. The King of Heaven descended and appeared to the King of Suvannabhumi, saying, ‘The king, the father of Teikthadharma, is dying, and I feel uneasy about the relics the Buddha has given. If we can convince the priests to find a way to keep the relics safe before his death, then it is good. ‘
Hearing this, King Suvannabhumi came with the King of Heaven to the forest to meet Teikthadharma. Seeing them, the priest surprisingly asked the reason. The Emperor replied: ‘Because the priest does not live so long, we come here begging for the precious relics the Enlightened One has given. We will build a temple on the relics, this will be the place where people will come to worship when you pass away”. Initially the priest appeared reluctant, but after a while thinking, he agreed to give them the relic under a condition: they had to find a stone looks like his head. The relics would be stored in the small niche of the rock, and over there build a temple.
King of Heaven was very happy to hear of this condition. The King of Heaven immediately went to the beach and found a giant stone similar to the head of the priest, and many people brought this stone to the top of the hill. The rock is in the position where the King can sit between the bottom of the rock and the top of the hill. After that, the god King asked the monk and the king to see.
Teikthadharma was so pleasedwith this arrangement, he told the King of Heaven to make a small hole in the stone so that he could relieve the relics. After this was accomplished, the caretaker carefully took the relics from his head, bowed down, and placed them in this place. Above the relics, at the top of the rock, they built a new temple. When it was completed, King of Heaven returned to his heavenly place. And the priest sat underneath the old shrine of the holy relic of the Buddha and calmly passed away.
Since the temple was restored, the gap between the bottom of the rock and the top of the hill is gone. However, this sacred stone can still move back and forth, but completely balanced, steady!
The beauty and legend associated with Golden Mountain Temple is really a miracle, always attracting every guest.