Kyaiktiyo Paya

Rubbing gold leaf on an image of the Buddha will make you merit. You can make merit for somebody else. Or make somebody else's prayers or vows stick. And you sometimes have to, because women are not allowed to touch any Buddha image. Here women are not even allowed on the platform; only men. And often a man will perform the ritual of gold leaf rubbing for his wife, his mother or sister. Sometimes for a total stranger. Which in turn of course brings him merit.
Contrary to warnings in some guidebooks it is totally acceptable to take pictures. Even with an image of the Buddha in the background. Nowadays Burmese will even pose for each other's camera, while applying the gold leaf.

Christmas 1999

men only, Kyaiktiyo Paya, the golden rock

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