Submerged in myths and mysteries, Mount Kailash is the world’s most respected, least visited and a revered site located in the far west Tibet. The mountain is named as ‘Kailasa’ in Sanskrit which means crystal. In Tibetan word, the name of the mountain is “Kang Rinpoche” which means ‘Precious Jewel of Snow.’
Even though the mountain is not that high with the height of only 6,714 meters, but still, there are no other mountains in Tibet which are as holy as the Mount Kailash. The mountain carries high spiritual significance and thus is a beautiful destination for the Buddhist and Hindus. Every year thousands of pilgrims walk along the 52 kilometers long pilgrimage circuit around the mountain to pay homage to this sacred mountain.
What’s the Religious Significance of Mount Kailash?
Mount Kailash carries a great religious significance not only to the Hindu community but also in Buddhism, Jainism, and Bon. According to Hindu mythology, the mountain also called as ‘The Kailash Parbat’ is the home to Lord Shiva. The legends claim that Lord Shiva lives in the top of the mountain with his wife, Parvati. For the followers of Hinduism, the pilgrimage walk around the Kailash and viewing the top is a way to get released from any kind of sin, ignorance, and delusion. A story in Vishnu Purana of the mountain states explains that the four faces of the mountain are made of crystal, ruby, gold and lapis lazuli.
While as per Buddhism, the is mountain referred to as Mount Meru. They believe that the mountain is home to the Buddha Cakrasamvara also called Demchok, who represents supreme bliss. The mountain area also has many sites which are associated with Padmasambhava, one who is responsible for establishing Buddhism in Tibet. The Buddhists also believe that walking around the mountain will wash away their sins. They also believe that walking around 13 times will bring enlightenment within one lifetime and if one can make it for 108 times, it will bring immediate enlightenment.
Moreover, in Jainism, Ashtapada, the mountain next to Mount Kailash, is the place where the first Jain received freedom. After his liberation, the son of the Jain constructed three stupas and twenty-four shrines with their idols in precious stones. The last shrine was taken to the summit of the mount Kailash by Lord Indra after his birth.
Mysteries about the Mountain
Kailash Mountain is full of mysteries which can really amaze any person. Located around the four long rivers, the Indus, the Sutlej, the Brahmaputra, and the Karnali, the Kailash Parbat is a sacred place and huge storage of mysteries still to be searched for.
Let us find out of some those mysteries.
A mountain or a Man-made Pyramid
Well, there are still confusions whether the Kailash Parbat is a mountain or a pyramid. There exist some theories which explain that the mountain is actually a huge human-made pyramid made during the ancient time.
An expedition of Russian scientists led by Professor ER Muldasheva, in 1999, concluded that the mountain top is a huge massive human-made pyramid with hundreds of other small pyramids and monuments around it. The complex of the pyramid was tentatively measured as 100-1800 m. If it is a real truth, then it is larger than any of the pyramids known today on the earth.
Center of the World
Many travelers mostly around the early 20th century claimed that Mount Kailash might be the center of a world-wide system that connects the other monuments or sites where the paranormal phenomenon occur. The mountain is also regarded as the Axis Mundi or the cosmic axis, world axis, world pillar, center of the world. The mountain is believed to be the point where the mountain meets heaven.
The shape of the mountain is like a large cathedral with the sides being perpendicular and fall sheer for hundreds of feet.
You age faster
It is quite surprising to hear that the air of the mountain will make you grow older. Well, people age faster once they have been to Mount Kailash. So, do not be surprised if your hair gets grey or if wrinkles appear. Nails and hair also grow at a faster rate. Nails and hairs growth in two weeks under normal conditions will double in 12 hours around the mountain.
There are even stories about such incidents. According to a Siberian mountaineer, a group of climbers climbed beyond the specified point and suddenly aged by a few decades. He also added that the climber died of old age in another year. Maybe there occurs some strange and powerful energy in the surrounding. Seems strange to listen, but who knows.
No Scaled till date
The height of the Kailash Mountain is not a big deal since there are many mountains with greater height. But still, the Kailash Mountain is a virgin mountain. Nobody till date is lucky enough to get the honor of the first climber of the mountain.
It’s not like nobody ever attempted. There were several attempts, but unfortunately, due to some reasons, they failed. A mountaineer named Colonel R.C Wilson discovered an easy way to the mountain, but a sudden snowfall hindered the climb.
There are stories that prevail in mountain climbing. The mountain is a very sacred mountain and believed that only a person who is entirely free of any sin could reach the top. The ancient story even believes that the one without any sin can get to the top in the form of a bird without putting any effort.
Mount Kailash located is in Tibet, an autonomous region of China. The political disputes between China and Tibet have always existed. Once when China provided permission to climb Mount Kailash, there were criticisms regarding the religious aspects of the local people. They even claimed that the government’s decision had hurt the sentiments of the people. This compelled the government of China to prohibit the climb. The Chinese government has issued a report that restricts the climb to the mountain.
Mansarovar Lake lies near the Kailash Mountain and is the most sacred lake in Tibet. The lake is one of the highest lakes in the earth which lies at an altitude of 4590 meters. The lake covers an area of total 40 sq km with the deepest point about 90 meters.
The beautiful freshwater lake surrounded by the mountain peaks is also a major pilgrimage site for the Hindus, Buddhists and the followers of Bon religion. The Buddhists regard the lake as the place where Mayadevi conceived Buddha. They also believe that Mayadevi took a bath in the lake after giving birth to Gautam Buddha. Likewise, the Hindus believe that the god Brahma created the lake, and a bath or a holy dip in the pond can erase all the sins. The Hindus, therefore, make a holy deep, bath or drink some water of the lake due to their beliefs. However, this is not common among Buddhists.
There are 5 Buddhist monasteries along the edge of the lake: Chiu, Gossul, Trugo, Yerngo, and Seralung. The Chiu is the most popular and lies on the northwest side of the lake. Every year, thousands of people from Tibet walk around the lake. The Hindus from India also make a frequent visit. There is a dusty road around the lake through which it takes around 3 hours drive to reach.
The lake looks extra beautiful during summer when the flocks of swans crowd it. The Ji wu temple, located at the western bank of the Mansarovar is a famous place for the overnight stay for the tourists. The temple lies in the direction of the sunrise and is a perfect destination for the sunset view.
Mount Kailash Trekking Permit
Trekking to the Kailash Mountain is a challenging and adventurous trek to for. Trekkers will require having several trekking permits to trek around the mountain. The first and the most important permit is ‘The Tibet Travel Permit’ or ‘Tibet Entry Permit’ which is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau. Trekkers will need this permit while traveling to the Tibet in flight or train. This permit will also be checked in Tibet.
Another permit is an Alien Travel Permit. This permit allows the trekkers to have a walk around the Ngari prefectures, Kailash Mountain, Mansarover Lake, Guge, etc. Since the Kailash Mountain is located near the border of Nepal, India, and China, trekkers will also require a border pass. Lastly, trekkers must also have a Military Permit which will be issued by the Military office in Lhasa.
Approach Route to Mount Kailash
From Simikot, Nepal
From Nepal, the trek to Kailash Mountain starts from Simikot. The trek will head towards the Hilsa border and continues towards the Mount Kailash and Mansarovar. The trek through this route will provide the trekkers with enough time to acclimatize in higher elevation. After crossing the Hilsa, there occurs a bridge. Then after comes Purang, the first main town in Tibet. Further, from the Purang, the trail will lead the trekkers towards Lake Manasarovar and the Kailash Mountain.
From Lhasa to Kailash
The route from Lhasa is the most common route to Mount Kailash. Between 90% to 95% of the foreign traveler (except Indians) take this route. The good paved road will lead to the Kailash via the towns of Shigatse, Lhatse, Saga, and Paryang. Well, planned acclimatization is crucial for the trekkers since trekkers will be gaining heights. Many have died during their mission to trek around the Kailash, make sure you won’t be the one among them.
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