Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, also known as the Golden Rock Pagoda, is located on top of Kyaikhtiyo Hill at about 3,600 Feet ( 1,100 meters ) above sea level in Mon State. The distance from Yangon via Bago is approximately 130 miles ( 210 km ). The Pagoda was built over a hair relic , more than 2,500 years ago , in the life time of Buddha. Legend has it that the hair relic was given to a hermit by Buddha himself. The hermit treasured the sacred hair in his hair knot until he found a boulder resembling his own head on which he could build a Pagoda to enshrine it. Although small in size ( The height of the Pagoda is 22'-8" or 6.9 meters , and that of the boulder on which the Pagoda was built is 22' or 6.7 meters ) it is one of the most revered and celebrated Pagodas in Myanmar. It could be qualified as one of the wonders of the world by virtue of the fact that it sits uniquely at the apex of a huge, almost egg shape granite boulder. This boulder ( now completely gilded ) is precariously perched on a projecting tabular rock. The gilded boulder and the rock table are two separate pieces, the boulder actually balancing off the extreme verge of the sloping surface of the rock and overhanging it by nearly half its length. The slope drops down perpendicularly into a valley below. On the other side the rock table is separated several feet from the rest of the hill by a deep chasm, now appended by a small bridge. By gently rocking the boulder a thread could be passed through between it and the rock table. When viewed from a certain angle, this separation can be appreciated by virtue of a thin beam of day light shining through. It is not known what freakish law has kept the boulder in its precarious position for many centuries and despite several violent earthquakes. Pilgrims used to trek 12 km up Mt Kyaikhtiyo from a base camp at Kinmon which consists largely of guesthouses, places to eat and souvenir shops. But in 1999 a paved mountain road linking the base camp and Ya-the-taung camp ( now bus station ) on the hill was built, thus leaving only 1.2 km hike to the Golden Rock. Most of the tourists coming to Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda use network of many kilometers of foot trails to go other parts of the mountains where there are other smaller lately built temples and pagodas, and many good vintage locations for photographing. Now there are a couple of decent hotels on the mountains within 3 km distance of Kyaikhtiyo pagoda serving local as well as international tourists.
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Asia is the biggest continent on Earth, a darling little gem floating around in space.
Hm, what is Asia? Who's in on it?
China and India are safe bets for Asian nations. Korea, Japan, Thailand, you're fine.
Europe? No. Europe would sort of be on the "Asian continent" if not for those pesky Ural mountains dividing things up in the middle, and then also the whole lineage of kings and wealth and nations and the EU and all that "give me my respect" stuff.
Russia would probably be happiest as its own continent, so for now we'll leave it in "Eurasia" and just hope the natural gas supplies keep flowing.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are dang close to Asia, but politically they show up in "Middle East" news stories an awful lot. Verdict: Eurasia.
I guess we'll actually have to consider everything from Turkey on eastward to be "Eurasian", although the moniker seems overlappitory of the territory.
The Asian economy is now officially raging like a wild furnace of lava that consumes everything in its path. Japan has had the largest individual economy in Asia for decades, but it is forecast that both India and China will outstrip Japan within twenty years.
China is the largest holder of United States debt and is positioned to become the world's next superpower, provided that Godzilla doesn't return and decide to stomp everybody back into the Shang Dynasty.
Text by Steve Smith.