Burma 4

More of the Golden Rock

Other Burmese gems (below)

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, also known as Golden Rock, is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site in Mon State, Burma. It is a small pagoda (7.3 metres (24 ft)) built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male devotees.

According to legend, the Golden Rock itself is precariously perched on a strand of the Buddha's hair. The balancing 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. Another legend states that a Buddhist priest impressed the celestial king with his asceticism and the celestial king used his supernatural powers to carry the rock to its current place, specifically choosing the rock as the resemblance to the monks head. It is the third most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma after the Shwedagon Pagoda and the Mahamuni Pagoda.

Currently, women are not allowed into the inner sanctuary of the rocks vicinity, maintained by an employed security guard who watches over the gated entrance. Women are permitted in the outer balcony and the lower courtyard of the rock.


Other Burmese gems

A bit about George Orwell (below)

George Orwell served in the Indian Imperial Police in Burma for five years from 1922 to 1927, an experience that was the inspiration for his 1934 novel “Burmese Days.” He worked as a colonial police officer in northern Burma in the 1920s. He wrote the “past belongs to those who control the present” and described Mandalay as a rather disagreeable town—“it is dusty and intolerable hot and it said to have five main products that begin with P, namely pagodas, pariahs, pigs, priests, and prostitutes.”

George Orwell (1903-1950) was born as Eric Blair in British India. After graduating from Eton College in England, he worked in Burma. He fought against the fascist dicatorship of Franco in the Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936. His novels "Animal Farm" and "1984" were published in 1945 and 1949, respectively. The latter depicts a nightmarish totalitarian nation. Even today, closed societies such as North Korea are described as "Orwellian".