Mount Kailash standing at 6638m in Tibetan Plateau is one of the most intriguing mountain range in the whole Himalayas. It is the world’s most revered holy places. It is a beautiful lone, snow-capped peak detached from the main Himalayan range in Tibet’s Kangdise Mountains. It dominates the entire regional landscape. Mt. Kailash is believed to be thecentre of the world and is known as Axis Mundi aka cosmic axis. The location of Mt. Kailash is in synchronization with several ancient monuments in the world and the earth’s poles.
It is sacred to people of mainly four religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Bon, and Jainism. Hindus consider this place to be the abode of Lord Shiva who resides there along with his consort Goddess Parvati and children Ganesha and Kartikeya. Buddhists believe it is the home of Dhemchokv(an incarnation of Buddha who represents pure bliss). Mt. Kailash also referred to as Mount Mehru within the Buddhist text, is central to its cosmology, and a major pilgrimage site for some Buddhist traditions. Jains believe it is where their first Tirthankara, Rishabhadeva attained liberation. While people of the Bon religion (a native Tibetan religion) consider the entire region to be the cosmological axis.
Every year thousands of pilgrims enter Tibet for a pilgrimage tour of holy Mt. Kailash. But given the inhospitable conditions, 52 km. long route and extremely high altitude, few make it to the region while a very few manage to complete the circumambulating the peak. Climbing the mountain has been prohibited because of its religious significance although in the past some daring mountaineers tried to attempt the summit but had no luck. Trekking all the way up to the mountain summit is prohibited among Hindus for the fear of trespassing the sanctity of the mountain and disturbing the divine energies residing in there. Only one person in the history of humankind is believed to have climbed this peak, a Buddhist monk named Milarepa, who allegedly achieved the feat 900 years ago.
The breathtaking natural beauty of the snowcapped Kailash Peak and widespread alpine grassland along with majestic mirror-like holy lakes, Manasarovar and Rakshastal is the most stunning magical sight you will see. Another unique contribution to the mystical and spiritual aspects of Kailash is the four most sacred rivers of the Indian sub-continent which begin from here - Sutlej, Karnali, Brahmaputra, and Indus. The end of these rivers is more than 2,000 kilometres apart, and yet they all have their source within hundred kilometres of Mt. Kailash. For thousands of years, people of many faiths have visited this beautiful mountain seeking spiritual purification and transformation. Therefore not only the natural beauty but also the sight of people from various races and religions coming together to seek spiritual fulfilment with great passion will astound you even more.
Believed to bring spiritual benefit to purify your soul and lead fulfilment of your prayers, pilgrims set out for doing a circumambulation of the mountain which is called Kora or Parikrama. The circumambulation is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists, while Jains and Bons circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. The tour around Mount Kailash normally takes 3 days but some pilgrims may vary the tempo of their movement. It is also believed that the pilgrim who completes 108 parikramas around the holy Kailash is assured of enlightenment. Most pilgrims to Mt. Kailash also take a short plunge in the nearby sacred lake Manasarovar which is believed to be the lake of consciousness and enlightenment. After three times of Kailash Kora, a pilgrimage or its believer plan to make Kailash Inner Kora, which reach up to inner part of it Saptarishi cave, Charansparsa and Nandi. This is a hard part all the trekking and only fit peoples can plan.
Best time to Visit Mt. Kailash
During winter, there is heavy snowfall which seals the passes to the mountain. The best time to visit Mt. Kailash is during late spring to early fall (May to September) when the weather is much better. Although if you are going to do Kora, the summertime (June-August) is best suited as the weather is warmer and the oxygen content is higher.
How to get to Mt. Kailash
The best way to get to Mt. Kailash is to take a flight or train to Lhasa from China or Kathmandu. Stay a couple of days acclimatizing there. Lhasa is about 1,200 kilometres away from Darchen, a small town located at the foot of Mt. Kailash, and the journey takes about 3 days to drive out to the mountain in the Far-Western Tibet. Another good way to reach Mount Kailash is by using Nepalese road. Overland tour from Nepal to Mount Kailash and Helicopter tour from Nepal is operating from years by Nepalese operators. No the new road to Kailash is also opening from India using Nepalese land Lipulek. The roads towards western Tibet have been paved and hotels upgraded in recent years therefore it will be a relatively comfortable and scenically wonderful drive. You can make bookings from licensed agencies that provide Mt. Kailash Tour and the agency will arrange all of the transportation and accommodations for you. An individual without using a registered agent is not getting any permission from Tibet government till yet.
Nearby Attraction of Mount Kailash
There are two beautiful lakes at the foot of Mountain Kailash which adds up more beauty to the surrounding of the mountain:
- Lake Manasarovar: This Lake is considered a place where true believers can get great blessings. It is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world at an altitude of 15,060ft. It has deep spiritual significance. Pilgrimage believed to wash their sins when they dip here.
- Lake Rakshastal: This Lake is considered as the lake of demons and people avoid touching it as they believe they might get cursed. As believed to have a close association with a demoniac entity, the Rakshas Tal Lake is endowed with salty water and deprived of aquatic plant life and marine life.
The high altitude makes it difficult for people to achieve the feat there. You should acclimatize before going there, be physically prepared, and bring the right equipment and clothes if you are planning for Kailash Yatra. Listen to the advice from the good organizer and your guides.
Mt. Kailash is an inspirational place and one of the holiest mountains in the world. People often go there to purify their spirit and obtain inner peace. The beautiful natural beauty and peaceful environment of the whole region help to achieve inner peace the moment you get there. Even people from different religions come here to explore the beauty of this place and seek spiritual purification. Pilgrimage to this sacred mountain and magical mesmerizing lakes is a life-changing experience and a great opportunity to witness the most beautiful and magical scenery in the world.