The Golden Rock in Myanmar, also known as Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is one of the greatest unsolved natural mysteries. It’s a huge boulder, covered in gold leaf and which is placed in perfect equilibrium at the edge of a cliff. The journey to get here is long but it’s definitely worthwhile to walk the five hour hike from sea level to an altitude of 1200 meters (4000 ft.) where the rock is. All this through pristine and luxuriant pathways through the jungle.
The sight of this majestic golden boulder atop the steep hill is reward enough after walking for several hours, and some say it’s enough to turn any person to Buddhism, after seeing it. Young men push the stone to show people how easy it is to move it, even though it never falls down.
How this golden rock stays on the edge like that is a complete mystery. The boulder looks like it’s not even touching the cliff it’s on. According to legend, the only reason why the rock stays where it is, is because of the pagoda built on top of it. That pagoda is said to contain one strand of Buddha’s hair and that’s what keeps everything in place.
The story tells of a king by the name of Tissa who, in the 11th century, received the hair from a hermit under the condition that the king would find a rock which looked like the hermit’s head. Then he would place the stone on the edge of a cliff, build a pagoda on top of it and place the hair inside.
After a long search, the king finally found the rock he was looking for, at the bottom of the sea with the help of the nat king, Thagyamin (Burmese spirits). He brought it up to the surface and loaded it up on a boat with which he took the rock all the way up to its current location. The boat then turned into the another stone which is also worshiped by pilgrims at a location about 300 metres (980 ft.) from the golden rock. It is known as the Kyaukthanban Pagoda or stupa (literal meaning: stone boat stupa).