Myanmar - Jeff Henry Photography
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Devotion at the Golden Rock

Devotion at the Golden Rock

This image was captured as the sun was rising at Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, better known around the world as Myanmar’s Golden Rock. The sky was a dull grey, filled with a layer of overcast clouds, which limited the options for photographing sunrise. Instead, I decided to focus on the rock and the people who had made the pilgrimage to this holy place.

While this image does not show the sheer scale of the Golden Rock, I believe it helps portray a softer and more personal side of the rock and the people who travel long distances to reach it. This young novice Buddhist monk was one of many I saw praying at at the Golden Rock. But, his concentration and devotion, as demonstrated by the long time he was in this position—far longer than anybody else I witnessed—showed how much it meant to him to be in this place at this time. That is a hard image to capture and portray in a photograph, but I think some of it comes across here.

The Kyaiktiyo Pagoda actually sits on top of the gold encrusted rock, but can’t be seen in this image. According to legend, the Golden Rock is perched on a strand of the Buddha’s hair, which keeps it from falling down the cliff. My guide said it was two hairs, but who’s counting. Men are allowed to approach the rock and place gold leave on its surface, which over the years has created a thick gold coating to the rock.

AcceptanceAsiaAsianBuddhismBurmeseCULTURECompassionContemplationContemplativeContentCulturalCustomsDedicatedGildedGoldGoldenKyaiktiyo Pagoda Golden RockMonkMorningMorning LightMyanmarPeacefulPrayingRedRegionalReligiousScaredSolitarySoutheast AsianTranquil