Mount Kailash is, perhaps, the most sacred of all religious sites for Hindus, as well as Buddhists. The mountain is located in present day Tibet and is believed to the abode of Lord Shiva. Therefore, it’s not a surprise that it is a favourite pilgrimage site especially for people in India. Earlier when Tibet was not a part China, it was fairly easy to get through the porous boundary of the country; but now the stringent border controls on the part of the Chinese authorities makes travelling to the holy mountain an arduous task. However, once you get there, it’s all worth it. Here’s why this part of the Tibetan Plateau must be visited at least once in a lifetime, regardless of whether you’re a religious person or an atheist. If you love to travel, this could be an experience of a lifetime. Also Read - In a First, US Does Not Describe Tibet as 'Inalienable Part of China'
Mount Kailash is located in Tibet, just north of Lake Rakshastal and Lake Manasarowar, one of the holiest lakes in various religions. Imagine the kind of social media validation you’ll get once you post your experiences with pictures. That’s because it’s not easy to plan a trip to this unique location. It involves great physical and emotional strength because there’s loads of trekking involved in especially harsh weather conditions. Also Read - Want to Know All About Hindu Religion & Dharma-Karma? This App Called 'Bhagwaanji' Will Help You Out!
It is also touted as the most ancient pilgrimage in the world: The Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and the Bon Po have been circumambulating the mountain for ages now. It was also known as the Sumeru Parvat in ancient times, long before the written word was invented. Also Read - China Building Dam on Brahmaputra River, Says Report | What it Means For India
Witnessing locals doing dandvat parikrama around Kailash without food, shelter, oxygen back-up or medication for days is a sight to behold. It’s both awe-inspiring and scary because braving extreme weather conditions is not cake walk. Especially when this parikrama is of 52 kilometres at 16,000 – 19,000 ft.
Kailash Mansarovar is also thought to be the Axis Mundi of Earth; the point where heaven meets the earth. In the Indian subcontinent Mount Kailash is believed to be the most revered cosmic axis, the navel or the centre of the world.
This is the holiest place on earth for four major religions, namely, the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and the Bon Po people who preceded the advent of Buddhism in Tibet and they all have their own stories for it. Hindus believe that Mount Kailash is ringed on all sides by six different mountain ranges including the Nandi Parvat which makes it impossible to cover. They believe that anyone who dared to cross it has ever returned; you’ll never have heard of any international climber of repute succeeding in climbing this singular, spectacular block of black stone. The Buddhists believe that the Chakrasamvara – the Deity of Supreme Bliss resides on Kailash. The Buddha himself had flown to Mount of Kailash in the form of a black crane, thus making it a pilgrimage for all Buddhists. The Jains venerate Kailash because saint Rishabhdeva attained liberation at the feet of Kailash. And the Bon Po believe that Kailash is the seat of all mystical and spiritual powers.
Mount Kailash is where all the four major rivers originate; it is ironically also the sustainer of life. The Brahmaputra, Indus, Sutlej and the Ganges are the rivers that originate here and sustain life of billions of people living in South Asia.
You can reach Mansarovar in approximately 10 hours via a train from Delhi. And although it’s an expensive trip, a traveller never regrets spending his money on this experience.