WHY KAILASH
MOUNT KAILASH
Mount Kailash (22,028 ft, 6,714 m), the famed holy peak, is situated to the north of the Himalayan barrier in Western Tibet. This legendary snow-shrouded rock dome is one of the most revered pilgrimage sites for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bonpos (Pre-Buddhists) and draws pilgrims from India, Nepal, Mongolia, Tibet, Japan, China, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. At the slopes of Kailash, a stream is said to pour into Manasarovar and from this lake, flow four of Asia's great rivers ­ the Indus, the Brahmaputra, the Karnali and the Sutlej.
kailashmansarovar
For well over a thousand years, pilgrims have journeyed here to pay homage to the mountain's mystery, circumambulating it in a ritual that continues to this day. Their faith proclaims that not just the mountain's ice - capped summit but the entire region is the abode of the Gods.

Hindus cross the frozen mountain passes of India and Nepal to circle the peak that is Lord Shiva’s throne and bathe in the lake created from the manas (mind) of Brahma. Buddhists journey from Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh, Mongolia and every corner of Tibet to this holiest of mountains they call Kang Rinpoche. Jainism knows Kailash as Mount Astapada. Atop the summit, the religion's founder, Rishabhanta, gained spiritual liberation. And to the Bonpo, followers of Tibet’s old pre-Buddhist beliefs it is the ‘Nine - Storey Swastika Mountain’, the mystic ‘soul’ of the entire region. Each holds different beliefs, each sees different Gods, but the underlying reality is the same.

Manasarovar, the lake born from the mind of Brahma, is among the most ancient and holy of Hindu pilgrimage sites. Hindu legend tells of twelve Rishis, wise 'Seers' of pre-Vedic times who retreated to this remote region for meditation and prayer. They stayed many years performing penances and austerities, and were awarded a vision of Shiva and Parvati, the divine Lord and Lady of Kailash. But still they lacked, in this dry land, a suitable place to perform the daily ablutions required of devout Hindus. The Rishis prayed to Brahma so that they might fulfill their duties. From the infinite depths of his all-encompassing mind Brahma created Manasarovar. Manasarovar's clear waters are said to possess miraculous healing properties.

According to ancient Hindu folkfore, it was Brahma - the Creator, who himself created Manasarovar and the divine Jambu tree, which though invisible to the human eye, grows in the centre. It is for this reason that the world was called Jambudwipa by the ancients; and it is said that because of the fruits of this divine tree that the waters of the Manasarovar have turned into a life - giving elixir! Manasarovar's clear waters are said to possess miraculous healing properties.

'When the earth of Manasarovar touches anyone's body or anyone bathes in the lake, he shall go to the Paradise of Brahma, and he who drinks its waters shall go to the heaven of Shiva and shall be released from the sins of a hundred births. Even the beast who bears the name of Manasarovar shall go to the paradise of Brahma. Its waters are like Pearls.' (The Ramayana).

The pilgrimage to Kailash and Manasarovar has always been considered the most difficult in Asia. The distances seem unending. The weather is harsh. The temperature could soar to 40 Degrees C and drop to 0 Degrees just in a matter of a few hours. Supplies are virtually non-existent. The pilgrim has to undergo extreme hardship under extreme temperatures. The terrain is not very friendly either. Nevertheless, pilgrims come from all parts of the world, defying all hardships. They trek for 53 km around Kailash and 90 km around Manasarovar at altitudes between 15,000 - 19,000 feet above sea level.

Mt. Kailash has long been an object of worship for four Major religious, for Hindu, it is domain of Shiva, It is also the abode of samvara-a multiarmed, wrathful deity worshipped in the chakrasamvara Tantric cycle of Tibetrian Buddhism. The joins of India also reverse the mountain as the site at which the first of their saints emancipated. And in the ancient Bon religion of Tibet, Kailash was the secred nine storeys Swastika Mountain, upon which the Banpo founder Shenrab alighted from haven. The 53 Km. Kailash circuit is the holist of all-Hindu as well as Buddist pilgrimages and the beacon, which draws most traveller to western Tibet. It is said that a single Parikarma erases the accumulated sins of a lifetime, while 108 cicurmbulation will achieve Salvation.
Lake Mansarovar
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.
lake-mansarovar
Sprawling below Mount Kailash is the sacred lake Manasarovar (4580m), where ritual bath will deliver a pilgrim to brahm's paradise and drink of its water relinquishes the sins of a hundred lifetimes.

The Inner Kora (circuit) or circumambulation of Mount Kailash from a very close distance, is certainly one of the most harshest pilgrimages of all. This involves a 34 km. journey on foot around the Holy Mountain, at 19,000 feet above sea-level. Here the landscape is entirely made up of rock, crevices, snow and ice. Apart from two small monasteries no humans live along the inner Kora region. It is said that one can do the inner Kora of Mount Kailash only after completing 13 outer Koras. It is a belief that during the Year of the Horse one can do an Inner Kora after doing only one Outer Kora instead of the customary 13. Very few people have attempted to do the inner Kora. Some of them have not returned. The entire Kailash - Manasarovar region is dotted with ancient Buddhist monasteries. Many of these are uninhabited.
Mt. Kailash North Face
Kailash is known as Meru in the Mahabharata. Here it is rises 5,000 feet straight up in a frozen monolith behind the ridge of the guardian peak of Jambayang, just like a huge Shiva Linga on the way to Khampo Sanglam La. Of all the views of the mountain, this is the most awe-inspiring. No man has ever set foot on its 22,028-foot summit except, say Tibetans, for the Buddhist monk Milarepa, who magically flew to the top.
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Mt. Kailash South Face
Mt. Kailash (elev. 6675mt), called Kang-Rinpoche by Tibetans, one of the world's most sacred mountains, stands in the Ngari region of Western Tibet. Since thousands of years, and to this day, pilgrims of four religions have been journeying to this 22,028 - foot rock, circumambulating it in their obeisance to God. Their faith proclaims that not just the mountain's ice-capped summit but entire region is the abode of the Gods.
kailashmansarovar
Gauri Kund, the “Lake of Mercy"
Gauri Kund, the “Lake of Mercy’ called Tukje Chenpo Tso by Tibetans, lies in a setting of jagged ice cliffs. Pilgrims come across this lake while descending Dolma La, the Pass of redemption and salvation where the pilgrim is said to be reborn. At 18,600 feet it is one of the highest lakes in the world. Gaurikund is considered the bathing place of Goddess Parvati (Uma), the consort of Lord Shiva
gaurikund
Gurla Mandhata with Houre Village
Tibetans call it Memo Namgyal. At 25,355 feet this is the third highest mountain in Tibet. Here it is viewed from the village Houre, where the 53-mile Manasarovar kora (parikrama) begins. The small village settelement can be seen below the lower ridges of the mountain
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Gurla Mandhata
On the Manasarovar’s southern shore lie the five sister peaks of Gurla Mandhata. Here it is viewed from Tarchen. This she-mountain is the abode of Lhamo Yang Chen, the region’s agricultural goddess; Purang farmers pray to her for rain. Her mountain is destined to become a pilgrimage site according to an ancient prophecy which predicts the arrival of a holy man, who will unlock the mountain’s mysteries.
gurla-mandata
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