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Kyite Kha Mee Pagoda
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Good Time To Visit: The Whole Year
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      Once upon a time a King of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), with great compassion for the other Buddhists in other lands set adrift four Buddha Images into the sea. One Image on a stone raft came to Kyaikhto and is now enshrined as the Kyaik Paw Law Image there. The other on a teak raft was either said to have landed at Rakhine or Pathein but the two last Images, on rafts made of Thingan wood, were sighted at Kyaik kha mee (in ancient times known as Tazaungpee) and Dawei respectively. The town’s population tried to salvage the Image without success until a widow known for her piety and strict observance of the Five Precepts made a solemn vow and was able to bring the Image to shore. The Image that finally arrived at Tazaungpee was enshrined on a rocky island about a furlong from shore.

      The Kyaik kha mee Pagoda got its name from the fact that this Image was put in the pavilion facing east and despite several attempts to make it face that way always turns towards the south. Kyaik kha mee(Kyaik kha mee in the Mon language) translates into Myanmar language as Paya Hmaw or Image that is Longing, meaning it is longing for its brother Image that has been enshrined at Dawei further to the south. Tazaunpee town also came to be known as Kyaik kha mee because of the Image. The other Image at Dawei is known as Shin Moat Htee Image and highly venerated.

      The Kyaik khamee Image is a sitting Image with a Naga (dragon) shadowing the Buddha under its spread hood. There are two tiers at the main pavilion and it is a belief among the devotees that women are not allowed to go up to the upper tier or a storm will brew up unexpectedly out of the sea. The women are allotted a separate pavilion for their worship. Also locals belief that the rocky outcrop where the Image is house will never be submerged, no matter how high the waves are due to the omnipotent powers of the Image.

      Kyaik kha mee Pagoda Festival is held annually during the Fullmoon of Thadingyut. One unique feature of this festival is that the devotees set adrift small earthen pots filled with steaming rice and lighted candles into the sea at dawn on Thadingyut Fullmoon Day. This is said to be in commemoration of the Image’s odyssey across the ocean before arriving at its final destination.
      Kyaik kha mee was also called Amherst in honour of, Lord Amherst, who was also the Governor General of India at that time, when the town came under the British administration after the 1st Anglo-Myanmar War in 1824.

      Kyaik kha mee is easily accessible from Mawlamyine by road. Added attractions are the detour to the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery, where remains of the Allied servicemen who died in the construction of the infamous Death Railways to connect Kanchanaburi in Thailand with Myanmar during the 2nd World War and the Setse beach.

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