A great mass of black rock soaring to over 22,000 feet, Mt. Kailash has the unique distinction of being the world's most venerated holy place.
The supremely sacred site of four religions and billions of people, Kailash is seen by no more than a few thousand pilgrims each year. This curious fact is explained by the mountain's remote location in far western Tibet. No planes, trains or buses journey anywhere near the region and even with rugged over-land vehicles the journey still requires weeks of difficult, often dangerous travel. The weather, always cold, can be unexpectedly treacherous and pilgrims must carry all the supplies they will need for the entire journey.
How long have people been coming to this sacred mountain? The answers are lost in antiquity, before the dawn of Hinduism, Jainism or Buddhism. The cosmologies and origin myths of each of these religions speak of Kailash as the mythical Mt. Meru, the Axis Mundi, the center and birth place of the entire world. The mountain was already legendary before the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were written. Indeed, Kailash is so deeply embedded in the myths of ancient Asia that it was perhaps a sacred place of another era, another civilization, now long gone and forgotten.
Tibetan Buddhists call the mountain Kang Rimpoche, the 'Precious One of Glacial Snow', and regard it as the dwelling place of Demchog (also known as Chakrasamvara) and his consort, Dorje Phagmo. Three hills rising near Kang Rimpoche are believed to be the homes of the the Bodhisatvas Manjushri, Vajrapani, and Avalokiteshvara.
Pilgrims to Kailash, after the difficult journey getting there, are then confronted with the equally arduous task of circumambulating the sacred peak. This walking around the mountain (clockwise for the Buddhists, counter-clockwise for Bon adherents) is known as a Kora, or Parikrama, and normally takes three days. In hopes of gaining extra merit or psychic powers however, some pilgrims will vary the tempo of their movement. A hardy few, practicing a secret breathing technique known as Lung-gom, will power themselves around the mountain in only one day. Others will take two to three weeks for the Kora by making full body prostrations the entire way. It is believed that a pilgrim who completes 108 journeys around the mountain is assured enlightenment. Most pilgrims to Kailash will also take a short plunge in the nearby, highly sacred (and very cold) Lake Manosaravar. The word 'manas' means mind or consciousness; the name Manosaravar means Lake of Consciousness and Enlightenment. Adjacent to Manosaravar is Rakas Tal or Rakshas, the Lake of Demons. Pilgrimage to this great sacred mountain and these two magical lakes is a life changing experience and an opportunity to view some of the most magical scenery on the entire planet.
Mount Kailash rises to 22,028 feet (6,714 m) in one of the highest
and most rugged parts of the Himalayas. Made of black rock, the
symmetrical peak has a distinctive diamond-like shape with four steep
facades. The south face has a vertical gash across its horizontal
layers, creating the appearance of a swastika - an ancient symbol of
good luck in this part of the world.
The landscape around the mountain is rugged and dry but crossed by crystalline blue streams and other bodies of water. Near the sacred mountain is the source of the Indus, Sutlej and Bramaputra rivers and on its south side are two freshwater lakes, the easternmost of which is the highly sacred Lake Manasarowar (Mapam). With an altitude of 14,950 feet, Mansarovar is the highest body of fresh water in the world. The other lake, Rakshastal, also has legendary significance.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that Kailash is the home of the Buddha Demchok (also known as Demchog or Chakrasamvara), who represents supreme bliss. They also say it was on this sacred mountain that Buddhism displaced Bön as the primary religion of Tibet.
According to legend, Milarepa, champion of Tantric Buddhism, arrived in Tibet to challenge Naro-Bonchung, representative of Bön. The two magicians engaged in a great sorcerous battle, but neither was able to gain a decisive advantage.
Finally, it was agreed that whoever could reach the summit of Kailash first would be the victor. While Naro-Bonchung soared up the slope on a magic drum, Milarepa's followers were dumbfounded to see him sitting still and meditating. Yet when Naro-Bonchung was nearly at the top, Milarepa suddenly moved into action and overtook him by riding on the rays of the sun, thus winning the contest and bringing Buddhism to Tibet.
Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating (walking around) Mount Kailash will remove sins and bring good fortune. The pilgrimage around the sacred mountain is called the Kailash Kora.
It is said that one trip around the sacred mountain will wipe away all the sins (bad karma) of one's current lifetime; 108 revolutions will remove the sins of all one's lifetimes and bring salvation from reincarnation (moksa). Alternatively, pilgrims who complete one circumbulation of Kailash and bathe in the frigid waters of Lake Mansarovar will also bring salvation.
No pilgrims climb Mt. Kailash; all four religions believe it would be a serious act of sacrilege to set foot on its slopes. Legend has it that the only person to have reached the summit is the Buddhist champion Milarepa (who flew to the top in the 12th century) and that all others who have ventured to defy the taboo have died in the process.
The rugged path around Mount Kailash is 32 miles (52 km) long, following a blue mountain stream much of the way. Altitudes range from 15,000 feet at the start to 19,000 feet at the Dolma Pass. The circumambulation is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists but counterclockwise by followers of the Jain and Bön religions.
The mountain is located in a particularly remote and inhospitable area of the Tibetan Himalayas. Only those in the best health are able to undertake the journey even to the starting point of the circumambulation, let alone walk 52 km in a single day. A few modern amenities, such as benches, resting places and refreshment kiosks, exist to aid the pilgrims in their devotions.
Most pilgrims and trekkers take three days to complete the journey around Mount Kailash from the city of Darchen, aiming for Drirapuk Monastery on the first night, crossing Dolma La Pass and arriving at Zutrulpuk Monastery the second night, and finally returning to Darchen on the third day.
Mount Kailash is a peak in the Gangdisê Mountains, which are part of the Himalayas in Tibet. It lies near the source of some of the longest rivers in Asia: the Indus River, the Sutlej River (a major tributary of the Indus River), the Brahmaputra River, and the Karnali River (a tributary of the Ganges River). It is considered as a sacred place in five religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Ayyavazhi and the Bön faith. In Hinduism, it is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva and as a place of eternal bliss. The mountain lies near Lake Manasarowar and Lake Rakshastal in Tibet.
The word Kailāśā means "crystal" in Sanskrit. The Tibetan name for the mountain is Gangs Rin-po-che, meaning "precious jewel of snows".
Mt. Kailash is the holiest mountain in Tibet . The Grandeur of Mt. Kailash can be rivaled by a very few mountains in the world. Situated in the far corner of the Tibetan Plateau, this legendary snow capped jewel is revered by different religious(Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism & Bonpo) as one of the most sacred and Challenging Pilgrimages in the world. Four of the orient's Greatest rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Sutlej, the Indus and the Karnali originate from around the Mt. Kailash at the back of the mountain, are two vast lakes called Manasarovar & Rakastal.
The journey to Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar has always been taken as one of the most difficult ones in the world, but attracting more and more number of pilgrims and visitors every year.
In brief, Mt Kailash has been enchanting and inviting all pilgrims and adventure lovers from different corners of the world .A trip to this holy place offers you a holiday that is more than a dream, a voyage of adventure, discovery and spiritual happiness.
Hindus believe Mt.Kailash to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Like many of the Hindu gods, Shiva is a character of apparent contradictions. He at once the Lord of Yoga and therefore the ultimate renunciate ascetic, yet he is also the divine master of Tantra, the esoteric science that regards sexual union as the most perfect path to spiritual enlightenment. According to legend, immortal Shiva lives atop Kailash where he spends his time practicing yogic austerities, making joyous love with his divine consort, Parvati, and smoking ganja, the sacred herb known in the west as marijuana, Hindus do not interpret Shiva's behaviors as contradictory however, but rather see in him a deity who has wisely integrated the extremes of human nature and thus transcended attachment to any particular, and limited, way of being. For a Hindu, to make the arduous pilgrimage to Kailash and have the darshan (divine view) of Shiva's abode is to attain release from the clutches of ignorance and delusion.
According to Hindu mythology, Shiva, the god of destruction and regeneration, resides at the summit of a legendary mountain named Kailāśā. Mount Kailāśā is regarded in many sects of Hinduism as Paradise, the ultimate destination of souls and the spiritual center of the world.
According to a description in the Puranas, Mount Kailash's four faces are made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli; it is the pillar of the world; rises 84,000 leagues high; is the center of the world mandala; and is located at the heart of six mountain ranges symbolizing a lotus. From it flow four rivers, which stretch to the four quarters of the world and divide the world into four regions.
This legendary mountain has long been identified with the striking peak in the Himalayas that now bears its name. Shiva is therefore believed to dwell at its summit. Some traditions say the mountain is Shiva's linga, while Lake Manasarowar is the yoni of his consort.
The importance of this holy mountain in Hinduism is reflected, among other places, at the famous Ellora Caves in India, where the largest and most important rock-carved temple is dedicated to Mount Kailash.
For the Hindus, Mt. Kailash is regarded as the earthly manifestation of Mt. Meru , a spiritual centre of the universe which is described in the Hindu mythology as a fantastic pillar of 84,000 miles around which everything revolves with its root to the lowest hell and summit touching the heaven. Mt. KAILASH is itself an abode of Lord Shiva, lord of the Universe, who shares this magnificent mountain with his consort Parvati. There at the back is the sacred Lake Manasarovar where a bath offers a pilgrim an access to Brahma's (Hindu god of creation) paradise and drink of its holy water wipes out the sins of hundred lifetimes. Jains, a religious group in India with many similarities with Buddhism, Mt. Kailash is taken as the holy Pilgrimage where their first prophet achieved enlightenment.
This Video contains pictures of Mount Kailash and Manas Sarovar And Gouri Kund
Video from stills taken on the journey to Holy Mount Kailash in deep western Tibet. Also pictures of the Yogurt Festival in Drepung Monastery near Lhasa. Mount Kailash is the center of the Universe for Tibetan Buddhists and the Home of Shiva for Hindus.
http://www.ishafoundation.org/Kailash I have been to many truly sacred places, I have been to many truly powerful places. I have seen many powerful beings, when I bow down to them I am genuine, but I bow down to them a little less than I would bow down to my Guru, always. Now when I bow down to Kailash I bow down to it the same way that I would bow down to my Guru. Never before have I done that in my whole life. - Sadhguru andeur of a mountain one must keep one's distance; to understand its form one must move around it; to experience its moods one must see it at sunrise and at sunset. But to truly know it, one must journey the mountain with a Master, an Enlightened Being. Regarded as the spiritual centre of the universe, Mt. Kailash is revered by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bonpos alike. For Hindus it is on top of this wondrous peak that Lord Shiva resides in an eternal state of meditation, creating the sustaining force that holds the universe together. Tibetans have aptly named this mighty rock as 'The Precious Jewel of The Snow". It is here that the great Tibetan mystic, saint, and poet Milerapa wrote a hundred thousand poems on Buddhism. For Jains, Mt. Kailash is the site where their first prophet achieved enlightenment. For the ancient religion of Bon, it is where their founder descended from the heavens. Legend according to Tibetan tradition has it, that whenever a certain number of realized beings gather in this location, Gautama Buddha physically manifests himself.
Sadhguru offers the pilgrim the rare privilege to discover with him the beauty and sacredness of Mt. Kailash. Guided and enveloped by intense meditation processes and satsangs, the seeker can feel the explosive power of these sacred mountains and the saints who reside in them, thus unraveling the forces of life and our own ultimate potential.
Twenty kilometers away from Mt. Kailash lies Manasarovar, the most beautiful and sacred lake in Asia. It is named by the Tibetans as The Unconquerable Lake' and sits at a height of 15015 ft, with a circumference of 90km (56 miles). Being the highest source of fresh water in the world, this blue and emerald green lake is attributed with healing properties.
The path to Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar takes the seeker through Nepal and Tibet, where an array of temples and stupas, ancient architectures and colorful bazaars are explored and enjoyed.
Mount Kailash - Lake Manasarovar - Tibet
Trek around holy Mount Kailash in Tibet
This post was modified from its original form on 01 Apr, 4:26
Karunesh - Mount Kailash Call Of The Mystic
The title of this video is that of the pre-Buddhist Goddess and Bodhisattva known to the Tibetan people as Drolma and throughout the world as Green Tara. This is mythopoetic journey into the archetypal imagery of the flag of independent Tibet. The soundtrack features the mantra of Green Tara - the personification of active compassion and all enlightened activity :
aum tare tuttare ture svaha
The central image is that of the snow-capped pyramid peak of Mount Kailash which is revered as the World Mountain and the Axis Mundi in the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and indigenous Bon-Po traditions.
This has been created as a focus for visualization and devotional meditation using the techniques of Tantric Buddhist teaching.
Mt. Kailash, like Delphi in Greece and Tara in Ireland and Uluru in Australia, represents the mythic World Mountain, the Axis Mundi - a natural kinetic archetype that represents the centre of all movement and which provides a connection and a means of moving and communication between the Three Worlds : the sky, the earth and the paradisal underworld - a concept that stretches right back to the cosmology of ancient shamanic totemism.
The Navajo term for this mythic Navel of the World is
"The Mountain Around Which All Moving is Done".
The Navajo were always skilled codetalkers and their magic is the dynamic of the spoken word.
Consider for one moment how the ceremonial sand-paintings of the Navajo are mirrored in the sand mandalas of Tibetan ritual practice.
They are the temporary focus of energies which are dispersed to the Four Winds once their work is completed and the moment has passed.
When we begin to retrace our roots we discover that we are still one people living on one planet and that we can rediscover the deep language of collective consciousness which is beyond words and finds it clearest expression in multi-layered poetic imagery.
The audio track is that of the invocation of Tara by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.
LIFE Voices Interview with Bruno Baumann covering his many explorations to the Mount Kailash in Tibet and much more with beautiful pictures of his recent trips.