great mass of black rock rising up to over 22,000 feet, Mt.
Kailash has the exceptional feature of being the world's
least visited but most venerated holy place. Its grandeur lies
not in its height but in its distinct shape—four sheer
faces matching the cardinal points of the compass—and
its solitary placement, free from neighboring mountains that
might dwarf or obscure it. The extremely sacred site of four
religions- Tibetans, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism- and
billions of people, Kailash is seen by no more than
a few thousand pilgrims each year. This curious
explained by the mountain's remote location in far western Tibet.
All pilgrims who travel to Kailash respect the sacredness of
the mountain by not hiking it. All along the route are monasteries
and points of religious importance and ritual- natural stone
carvings honored as footprints of the Buddha, rock formations
representing mythological forms, places where pilgrims gather
mementos and others where pilgrims leave behind offerings such
as a lock of hair or a tooth.
Most pilgrims to Kailash also take a dip in the nearby, highly
sacred Lake Mansarovar (Lake of Consciousness and Enlightenment).
Adjacent to Mansarovar is the Rakshas Tal (Lake of Demons)
in which pilgrims don't bathe but do pay their respects.
geography and mythology have played a role in the sacred significance
of Mount Kailash. At just over 22,000 feet, Kailash can’t
compete with peaks in the nearby Himalayan range, which includes
Mount Everest. Kailash is regarded as the earthly expression
of mythic Mount Meru, or Sumeru, the spiritual center of the
universe in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cosmology. This great mountain
was believed to be the source of four life-giving rivers, and
indeed, the Indus, Brahmaputra, Sutlej and Karnali, which is
a major tributary of India’s sacred Ganges, begin in the
area surrounding Kailash. To Tibetan Buddhists, Kailash is the
abode of the tantric meditational divinity Demchog. Hindus see
Kailash as the throne of the great god Shiva, one of the most
important deities. Jains revere Kailash as the site
at which their first prophet received
enlightenment. And long
before Buddhism took root in Tibet in the 7th century A.D.,
Kailash was cherished by the Bönpo, practitioners of the
indigenous religion of the region.
Pilgrims journey to Kailash to complete a 32-mile
ritual walk. Most take one to three days to complete the circuit,
although some devotees spend up to a month doing full body prostrations
along the ground. A single circuit wipes out a lifetime's worth
of sins while 108 circuits bring enlightenment. The journey made
by Hindus who walk clockwise around the mountain is known as Parikrama,
which normally takes three days. The Parikrama around Mt. Kailash
starts and finishes at Tarchen. From Tarchen, the pilgrim circuit
enters the Lha Chhu (God's River) valley, a spectacular canyon
below the mountain's western flanks. In the northern face, the
trail climbs to the Dolma Pass (18,600 ft.), and then descends
quickly into the Lham Chhu Khyer valley before returning to Tarchen.
It is a 54-km circuit around Mt. Kailash. The Mansarovar Parikrama
covers Huore, Chugu and Zaidi, a distance of around 75 km.
your journey, you will encounter multiple holy peaks: Ravana
Parvat, Hanuman Parvat, Padmasambhava,
Manjusri, Vajradhara, Avalokiteswara,
Jambeyang, Shavari, and Norseng.
Continuing through Dhira Puk, Shivasthal,
and eventually to Dolma, at 18,783 feet (5725
meters) is the highest point on the voyage. This pass is said
to belong to Deviparvat and is spiritually
Adjacent to Mt. Kailash are two lakes - Mansarovar
and Rakshas Tal. The former is the highest
freshwater lake in the world while the latter is a saltwater
lake. Stretching majestically over the Tibetan Plateau, Lake
Mansarovar has the shape of the sun. The lake is majestically
calm like a huge bluish green emerald set between the two mighty
and equally majestic silver mountains, the Kailash on the north
and the Gurla Mandhata on the south and between the sister lake
Rakshas Tal or Ravan Harda on the west and some hills on the
east. Contrary to this, the Rakshas Tal is in the form of a
crescent moon and is believed to have been created by Ravana
after his failed attempt to lift up the holy Mount Kailash.
The best time to visit Kailash Mansarovar is between mid-May
to mid-October. The weather is considerably stable and visibility
is at its best during this time. Temperatures, however, are
cool during the day and below freezing at night.
The route from New Delhi consists of both bus journey
and high-altitude mountain trekking. The bus route covers the following
Delhi- Gajraula- Kathgodam- Nainital- Bhowali- Almora- Kausani- Bageshwar-Chowakari-Didihat-
Dharchula via Jauljibi-Tawaghat.
The trekking route which takes the pilgrims
through some beautiful landscape and passes, covers the following:
The first halt is at Kasauni near Nainital,
which is famed for its sunrise beauty, and the next at Dharchula.