Before I started thinking of going to a trek in the Tibet region, I had never heard of Mt. Kailash. What is curious is that, although I am not a Buddhist, I have read numerous Buddhist and Indus books and texts and I have never realized that the Mt. Kailash is the holiest place for both religions.
Mount Kailash (Tib: གངས་ རིན་ པོ་ ཆེ, Kangrinboqê or Gang Rinpoche, in Chinese: 冈仁波齐 峰, GANG rén bō Qí Fēng; Sanskrit: कैलाश पर्वत, Kailasa Parvata) is a Tibetan mountain, situated in the city of Ngari, near the lakes Manasarovar and Rakshasta, is the source of four of the largest rivers of Asia: the Ganges, the Brahmaputra River, the Indus and the Sutlej river.
Some search on the Internet and I discovered some information about the sacred mountain and the trek itself: Mt. Kailash (6714m) is the most sacred mountain in Asia. It is believed to be the physical embodiment of the mythical Mt Meru, said to be the center of the universe or ‘navel of the world’. Mt. Meru is depicted as a mandala, and its image occurs throughout both Buddhista and Hindu parts of Asia. Four religions consider that Mt Kailas is holy (Buddhism, Bon, Hindu and Jainism).
To Hindus, Kailas is the abode of Shiva and nearby Manasarobar Lake is the means or soul of Brahma. Tibetans call Kailas Kang Rimpoche. Jains worship it as Mt Ashtapada, the peak from which the religion’s founder, Rishabanatha, achieved spiritual liberation. Followers of Bon-Po, the ancient pre- Buddhist shamanistic religion of Tibet, revere Kailas as the soul of Tibet.
The circumbulation of Mt Kailash is an important pilgrimage for Hindus, Brddhistats and Jains. Hindus perforn a parikarama, Buddhistas call it a Kira. Tibetan Buddhists believe that a single kora washes away the sins of one life and that 108 circuits secure nirvana in this life. Indian Pilgrms make the circuit in three days, but it is rushed, particularly since the circuit, though mostly level, involves the crossing of a 5630m pass. A four-day trek is for more enjoyable and rewarding.
If you decide to trek it is a 52km distance. Darchen, the village at the southern foot of Mt. Kailash, is the starting point for a pilgrimage. A number of ways can get to Darchen, but there are mainly two routes, the so-called northern route and southern route. Both routes start from Lhasa to Coqen, where it splits into the southern and northern routes and both lead to Shiquanhe. The most popular southern route is Lhasa –Shigatse- Lhatse-Saga- Paryang-Darchen, which is also the most direct way to the Holy Mountain. As soon as I go there, I will write my experience and impressions of this mystical and wonderful trek.
Cover photo by remotelands.com
Article written by Sabrina Fidalgo.