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Archaeology -- Sacred sites

Individual Documents

Date of publication: December 2008
Description/subject: The Golden Rock ranks with the Shwedagon and the Mahamuni as a solid member of Burma’s sacred triumvirate, yet its history is the most obscure. The hair relics of the Buddha believed to be inside the granite boulder are the objects of devotion, but the rock’s sanctity owes as much to its rich legacy. How this 611.45 ton granite boulder balancing on a cliff side in a remote mountain range came to achieve national veneration is testimony to not only the tenacious continuity of old legends but also their remarkable elasticity. If myths are to survive and flourish, then they must be nimble and able to change with new circumstances. The present modest and preliminary exploration sketches the major historical sources surrounding Kyaik-htiyo and suggests how the Golden Rock grew to be one of Burma’s most sacred sites. Its history is plagued by gaps, but its general outline can be pieced together.
Author/creator: Donald M. Stadtner
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 6, 2008
Format/size: pdf (2.7MB)
Date of entry/update: 10 July 2010