Mount Kailash
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A 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 fact is

Mount Kailash
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.

History of Kailash Mansarovar

 


Lord Shiva and Parvati

Both 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.
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2008

 

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.

Places to visit in Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

 


On 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 very significant.

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.

Best time to visit 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.

How to reach Mount Kailash

 

The route from New Delhi consists of both bus journey and high-altitude mountain trekking. The bus route covers the following tracks:

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:

Tawaghat-Thanidar-Pangu-Sosa-Narayan Ashram-Sirkha-Rungling Top-Simkhola-Gala-Jipti-Malpa-Gudhi-Guji-Garbhyang-Kalapani-Avidhag-Lipu-Leh Pass-Pala- Taklakot.

The first halt is at Kasauni near Nainital, which is famed for its sunrise beauty, and the next at Dharchula.

  


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