About Mount Kailash Parvat
Mt. Kailash, 6,740 m. is situated to the north
of the Himalayan barrier, wholly within Tibet.
It is the perfect mountain with awesome beauty,
with 4 great faces. It is the spiritual center
for four great religions: Tibetan Buddhism,
Hinduism, the Jain religion and the pre-Buddhist
animistic religion - Bonpo. To Tibetans it is
known as Khang Rimpoche (Precious Jewel of Snow)
and they see it as the navel of the world. It is
said that a stream from the mountain pours into
a nearby lake and from here rivers flow in the
four cardinal directions. The River of the Lion
Mouth to the North, the River of the Horse Mouth
to the east, the River of the Peacock Mouth to
the south and the River of the Elephant Mouth to
the West. Strangely enough, four major rivers do
indeed originate near Kailash, the Indus, the
Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), the Karnali and
the Sutlej. Tibetans believe that it is the
residence of Demchog, a fierce looking tantric
deity who lives there with his consort, Dorje
Phagmo. For the Tibetans also, it is a
particularly special place in that their poet
saint Milarepa, spent several years here
meditating in a cave.
For the Hindus Mount Kailash is the earthly manifestation of Mt. Meru, their spiritual center of the universe, described as a fantastic 'world pillar' 84,000 miles high, around which all else revolves, its roots in the lowest hell and its summit kissing the heavens. On the top lives their most revered God, Shiva, and his consort Parvati.
For the Jains, an Indian religious group, Kailash is the site where their first prophet achieved enlightenment. For the older, more ancient religion of Bon, it is the site where its founder Shanrab is said to have descended from heaven. It was formerly the spiritual center of Zhang Zung, the ancient Bon Empire that once included all of western Tibet. Bon people walk around the mountain in a counter clockwise manner, unlike the other religions. Over the centuries pilgrims have constantly journeyed immense distances to achieve enlightenment or cleanse themselves of sin, braving enormous distances, particularly harsh weather and bandit attacks.