About Mt. Kailash

About Mt. Kailash

Mt. Kailash (6714m) is the most sacred mountain in Asia. It is believed to be the physical embodiment of the mythical Mt Meru, said to be the center of the universe or ‘navel of the world’ . Mt. Meru is depicted as a mandala, and its image occurs throughout both Buddhista and Hindu parts of Asia. Images of Mt Meru occur as far away as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobadur in Indonesia. Mt Kailas is holy to followers of four religions. To Hindus, Kailas is the abode of Shiva and nearby Manasarobar Lake is the means or soul of Brahma. Tibetans call Kailas Kang Rimpoche. Jains worship it as Mt Ashtapada, the peak from which the religion’s founder, Rishabanatha, achieved spiritual liberation. Followers of Bon-Po, the ancient pre- Buddhist shamanistic religion of Tibet, revere Kailas as the soul of Tibet.

Another geographical factor that contributes to the mystical aspect of Kailas is that nearby are the headwaters of four major rivers of the Indian subcontinent, the Sutlej, Karnili (a major tributary of the Ganges), Brahmaputra and Indus. The mouths of these rivers ate more than 2,000 km apart, yet they all have their source within 100 km on Mt Kailas.

The circumbulation of Mt Kailash is an important pilgrimage for Hindus, Brddhistats and Jains. Hindus perforn a parikarama, Buddhistas call it a Kira. Iou are welcome to do either of these, or simply make a trek around the peak. Tibetan Buddhists believe that a single kora washes away the sins of one life and that 108 circuits secure nirvana in this life. Devout Tibetans often make the 52 km circuit in a singles day. Indian Pilgrms make the circuit in three days, but this also is rushed, particularly since the circuit, though mostly level, involves the crossing of a 5630m pass. A four-day trek is for more enjoyable and rewarding.

Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims make a clockwise circuit of the peak. Bon-Po tradition is to circumambulate in the opposite direction. As you circle Kailash by the traditional rout, you will meet followers of Bon-Po making a Kora in the opposite direction. When I was at Kailash there was a large contimgent of Bon-Po pilgrims from faraway Kham and Nakchu. We were astounded at the huge number of adherents to what has been described as an ‘ancient pre-Buddhist’ religion making the counterclockwise circuit.

There is also an ‘inner Kora’ that passes two lakes to the south of kailash. Tradition dictates that only those who have made 13 circumambulations of Kailash may follow this inner route. This tradition is so important to Tibetans that we were required to assure our hosts that we would not violate the sanctity of this route before they allowed us to proceed to Darchan.

Manasarovar:

At an elevation of 4510m, is more important to Hindus than to Buddhists. Hindu pilgrims make an 85km. circuit around Manasarovar that is made longer and more difficult by marshes and complicated stream crossings. The Tibetans, being more pragmatic, often make a circuit of the lake in the winter when the streams are frozen and the route is shorter. Near Manasarovar is another large lake, Rakshas Tal, the ‘Demon Lake’ that holds far less spiritual significance.

Trithapuri:

It is situated 70 Km west of Kaiash which on the bank of River Satlaj. It is very colorful area with Hot spring. It is believed that it is the place where demon Bhasmasure was burnt to ash.

The area is made from red and white mountains