foreigners travel to this remote western corner
of Tibet. For most that do, there is
only one destination in mind--Mount Kailash.
From time immemorial this area has been sacred
to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and the followers
of Bon, Tibets indigenous religion. Even
today, pilgrims from all over the Himalayan
region travel to Kailash to perform
arduous Parikrama or Khora (circumambulating
of the mountain), often prostrating themselves
the entire way.
Ancient cosmography identifies
Kailash with the mighty mountain Sumeru,
the central peak of the world. To Buddhist,
the Father Mountain represents
the means to enlightenment; Lake Manasarovar,
the mother principle, represents
transcendental consciousness. Hindus consider
Kailash to be the throne of Lord Shiva,
one of the three principle gods of the Hindu
pantheon, whose long, matted hair forms the
holy Ganges River. As a Bon center it
is the soul of the country and assures protection
for all Tibetans.
Scenically, the area is outstanding.
At 6,714 meters (22,022 ft.), Kailash
is a glittering snow-crystal towering above
the Tibetan Plateau like a beckoning
jewel, visible from miles away. Manasarovar
is famous as one of the highest lakes in
the world. Four of the greatest rivers of
South Asia- the Indus, Sutlej, Ganges and the
Brahmaputra (the Yarlung-Tsangpo In Tibet)-
originate from around Mt. Kailash.
Mount Kailash (6714m),
Lake Manasarovar, and Rakas Tal
(lake) are situated on the high plains of the
western Tibetan plateau, between the
mountain ranges of Gurla Mandhata in
the southeast and the Kun Lun Mountains in the
northwest. The situation of these mountain
ranges, placing Kailash at their
center, mimics the Buddhist mandala (representing
the universe) and is not only religiously significant
but is also scenically beautiful. Holy Mount
Kailash (or Mount Sumeru) is considered
the abode of the primary Hindu god Shiva.
For Hindus a pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash
assures rebirth to Shivas paradise.
For the Jains it is Mt. Ashtapada, from
where their religious founder, Rishabanatha,
achieved spiritual liberation. For Buddhists,
Mt. Kailash is considered the power place
of Shivas head Chakra and thus the manifestation
of the illusory wheel of sensory emanation.
Since Kailash is Mount Sumeru its summit
is considered the heaven for higher level Gods,
it is also the five Buddha's heaven.
For Hindus, Manasarovar
is the Manas or the soul
of Brahma. And also it is the place where
Shiva and Parvati is take baths. In this
way Manasarovar is considered the lake
of Wisdom, the abode of compassionate or peaceful
Gods and Goddesses. Therefore, Hindus often
come here to make the circuit of more than 85
km around Manasarovar. Drinking its elixir
water or bathing with it, ones pollution
of being born by womb will be purified, and
one can derive wisdom. Unlike this, Rakas Tal
is considered the lake of power and residence
of wrathful or violent gods and Goddesses.
Holy Mt. Kailash and Lake
Manasarovar are not only important for living
beings, but for the dead spirits too. Since
Kailash Mandala is Heaven, taking the
spirits of the dead there is considered salvation
for them. The reliquaries of high Buddhist
Lamas, Sadhus, and their lay devotees are
carried to Mt. Kailash. Relics, such
as the hair and earrings of Shamans are compulsorily
carried to Lake Manasarovar, for their
salvation. In the same way, the Hindu peoples
death spirits are also taken to Manasarovar,
especially those who have become harmful ghosts.
Why it is important to visit Pashupatinath
and Kailash in ones lifetime ? Mount Kailash and Pashupatinath, in Nepal,
are considered the residences of the Hindu
God Shiva. Hindus recognize Shiva as the
greatest Yogi, as well as Pashupati.
Since Lord Shiva is considered the main god
of Chodpa in Tibetan Buddhism and Kapalika
in Shivaism, the cemetery (the place where a
life ends, and gives space to a new one) is
highly respected place of worship by mystics
and Sadhus at both Mt. Kailash and Pashupatinath
temple. It is said that the God Shiva is
considered non- Aryan as the Tradition of worshiping
the Shiva Lingam and Pashupati derived
from the Dravidian culture of Sindhu.
In Nepal, Hindu devotees consider Kailash
the summer residence of the God Shiva,
whereas Pashupati Shrine is his winter
place. After the celebration of Shivaratri (His
birthday), it is believed he moves to his summer
place, bringing spring to Kathmandu.
Importance of Parikrama (Khora)
circumstance and why in2002
According to legend one Khora around this holy
Mountain cleans away the sins of a lifetime;
10 circuits cleans away the sins of one Kalpa
(era) and 108 khoras secure Nirvana in
this life. Making one circuit around the mountain
in the Year of the Horse (2002), is equal to
13 circuits in any other year. It is considered
the most auspicious year for the Kailash
pilgrimage, because that was when it became
a power place. After making 13 khoras one is
allowed to make the inner circumambulation.
In this way the more Khoras you make, the cleaner
and more pure you become. As you become more
pure, you are allowed closer to the core of
Kailash and nearer to nirvana/heaven.
This is why the paths of holy Mt. Kailash
are an endless stream of pilgrims throughout
the summer months.