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Mt. Kailash

Every year, thousands of tourists and devotees travel to carry out their ritual ceremony at the Mount Kailash. If you are an avid traveller and a seeker of spirituality, you must have heard about this peak many a time. Meaning 'precious jewel of eternal snow', Mount Kailash is a place which is shrouded in mystery. It's history remains wrapped up in a number of legends.

A pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash is something that you should undertake at least once in a lifetime. It's truly a unique spiritual experience.


Location

Mount Kailash (21,778 ft) is one of the most well-known peaks in the Kailash Range, located in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. This peak is located from where mighty Asian rivers like the Indus, the Karnali, the Sutlej and the Brahmaputra originate. Lake Manasarovar also lies close to his mountain.


Religious Significance

Mount Kailash has huge religious significance. It is held in high esteem by the followers of three major religions - Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Hinduism : Hindus believe that Mt. Kailash or Mt. Kailasa is the site where Lord Shiva, the Destroyer of evil, abides. Lord Shiva is believed to sit at the zenith of this peak in a state of indefinite meditation. He is accompanied by his wife Parvati. According to Hindu traditions, Lord Shiva is the divine master of Tantra, a belief system which had its genesis in India. The religious significance of the Mount Kailash has also been emphasized in the Vishnu Purana.

Jainism : Followers of Jainism call Mount Kailash as Meru Parvat or Sumeru. According to Jain traditions, this is the place where the first Jain Tirthankar Rishabhadeva achieved nirvana.

Buddhism : Mount Kailash is also believed to be the place from where Buddhism originated and was established in Tibet. According to Tantric Buddhism, this is the place where the Buddha Demchok resides. The mountain has multiple sites where Tantric Budhism was practised.

The legend has it that Milarepa, a maven of Tantric Buddhism, came to Tibet to challenge Naro Bon Chung, a maven of Bon religion. A formidable battle followed in which each of the magicians tried to gain an advantage over the other. But none of them could win the battle of sorcery. Ultimately, they agreed to a unique challenge of whoever reached the summit of Mount Kailash first would be declared as the winner. Both Milarepa and Naro Bon Chung used their sorcery skills to become the victor. Naro Bon Chung used a magic drum to reach the top of the mountain. He had almost reached the zenith of the peak when Milarepa all of a sudden sprung into action and beat him by riding on the rays of the sun.

Apart from Hindus, Buddhists and Jains, followers of the Bon religion of Tibet also hold the Mount Kailash in high regard.


Pilgrimage to Mount Kailash

If you plan to have a unique spiritual experience, you can never say 'No' to a divine journey to the Mount Kailash. For ages, pilgrims and travellers have been undertaking this arduous journey to seek blessings.

Followers of different religions travel to Mount Kailash on foot because it is believed to bring good fortune. The path along which devotees travel is both long (52 km) and challenging. Still, people come here in large numbers, year after year. Hindus and Buddhists walk around the Mount Kailash in clockwise direction while those belonging to Jainism and Bon cover the circumference in anti-clockwise direction.

Since the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash is a hard one, people may take multiple days to complete the ritual or parikrama. However, some pilgrims insist upon completing the Mount Kailash parikrama in one day. If someone is fit and healthy, they may cover the distance around the peak in at least 15 hours. But the uneven terrain and the harsh climatic conditions pose a big challenge for others. Different pilgrims also follow different regimen while performing parikrama at the Mt. Kailash. Depending on the regimen a pilgrim follows, it may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

For the convenience of pilgrims, limited modern amenities have been arranged around the Mount Kailash. There are resting places where you can rest awhile, catch your breath and then restart the pilgrimage. Since the mountain Kailash is highly revered and believed to lead to the heaven, pilgrims consider it blasphemous to put their feet on its slopes. Both the Indian and the Chinese governments have taken useful measures for the safety and comfort of devotees and travellers who wish to undertake the Mount Kailash Yatra. Foreign pilgrims can avail themselves of the guest houses available at the site to spend the nights. If you plan to walk around the mountain, you can do it either on your own or with the help of a pony or a yak.


Other Tourist Attractions

During your travel or pilgrimage to the Mount Kailash, you can also view other attractions that lie close to it.

Tibetan Villages : If you are interested in local village culture, you'll love exploring the Tibetan villages that are located close by. In these villages, you'll experience the ancient cultural traditions villagers follow. You'll have the opportunity to interact with village people and know more about their daily life.

Lake Mansarovar : This is a highly sacred lake lying close to the Mount Kailash. The shape of the lake is circular. This is also the place from where the mighty Sutlej River originates.

Monasteries : There are five monasteries that surround the Mount Kailash. During your Kailash Parvat Yatra, you should definitely explore these monasteries - Nyari Monastery, Drirapuk Monastery, Songchu Monastery, Gyangzha Monastery and Thailong Monastery. Not only are these monasteries beautifully decorated, but they are also endowed with interesting legends.


Climate

Usually, Mt. Kailash has cooler nights and warmer days. Since summers are pleasant, you should plan your trip between May and August. September, October and November are monsoon months with little rainfall. Winters, from December to April, at Mount Kailash are chilly with snowfall.


How to Get There

There are different ways to reach the Mount Kailash, depending on the mode of travel and from where you are coming.

By Road : If you prefer travelling by road, you can reach Mount Kailash either from India or Kathmandu (Nepal). First, you can catch a flight to Kathmandu from anyone of the connecting cities in India and then cover the distance from Kathmandu to Mount Kailash by road.

By Helicopter : Helicopter tour to Mount Kailash is a fantastic option for those who don't like travelling by road or don't have many days in hand. At Max Holidays, we offer customized Kailash Helicopter Yatra so that you can travel in style without wasting much of your precious time.

By Air : First you can fly to Kathmandu and then catch a flight from there to Lhasa in Tibet. This is a good option if you are planning to explore multiple towns in Tibet including Shigatse, Gyantse, Lhatse, Prayang etc.


Tips You Can Use

Give yourself some time for acclimatization. Due to the sudden change in altitude, you may feel lethargic or drowsy. Just take in adequate water so that you remain well-hydrated and have as much rest as you can.

If you find it difficult to carry out the Parikrama (ritual walk around Mount Kailash) on your own, don't try too hard. Instead, use alternative arrangements like riding yaks or ponies to make the trip suitable.

Use porters to carry your luggage. When travelling to high-altitude sites, you may face difficulties carrying your luggage by yourself. You can also use horses and yaks to have your luggage carried for you.

If you are on certain kind of medication, don't forget to consult your physician before you start the trip and follow their advice.

Interact with the travel guide and the driver, as they are local experts and can share some useful knowledge and tips with you. Don't hesitate to talk to the caring staff about any kind of difficulties.