Mount Kailash: Wikis

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kailasa redirects here. For the band, see Kailasa (band)
Mount Kailash
Kailash north.JPG
Kailash, north side view
Mount Kailash is located in China
Mount Kailash
Elevation 6,638 metres (21,778 ft)
Location Tibet
Range Trans-Himalayas
Coordinates 31°4′0″N 81°18′45″E / 31.066667°N 81.3125°E / 31.066667; 81.3125Coordinates: 31°4′0″N 81°18′45″E / 31.066667°N 81.3125°E / 31.066667; 81.3125
First ascent No ascent attempts

Mount Kailash (Tibetan: གངས་རིན་པོ་ཆེ, Kangrinboqê or Gang Rinpoche; simplified Chinese: 冈仁波齐峰, Gāng rén bō qí fēng; Sanskrit: कैलाश पर्वत, Kailāśā Parvata) is a peak in the Gangdisê Mountains, which are part of the Himalayas in Tibet. It lies near the source of some of the longest rivers in Asia: the Indus River, the Sutlej River (a major tributary of the Indus River), the Brahmaputra River, and the Karnali River (a tributary of the Ganges River). It is considered as a sacred place in five religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Ayyavazhi and the Bön faith. In Hinduism, it is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva and as a place of eternal bliss. The mountain lies near Lake Manasarowar and Lake Rakshastal in Tibet.

There have been no recorded attempts to climb Mount Kailash; it is considered off limits to climbers in deference to Buddhist and Hindu beliefs. It is the most significant peak in the world that has not seen any known climbing attempts.[1]

Contents

Nomenclature, orthography & etymology

The word Kailāśā means "crystal" in Sanskrit. The Tibetan name for the mountain is Gangs Rin-po-che, meaning "precious jewel of snows". Another local name for the mountain is Tisé (Tibetan: ཏི་སེ་) mountain, which derives from ti tse in the Zhang-Zhung language, meaning "water peak" or "river peak". In the Jain tradition, the mountain is referred to as Ashtapada.

Chandra (1902: p.32) in his dictionary identifies the entry for 'kai la sha' (Tibetan: ཀཻ་ལ་ཤWylie: kai la sha) which is a loan word from Sanskrit 'kailāsa' (Devanagari: कैलास).[2]

Religious significance

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In Hinduism

The south face
An illustration of the Hindu significance of Mount Kailash, depicting the holy family of Shiva, consisting of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha and Muruga (Kartikeya)

According to Hinduism, Lord Shiva, the destroyer of evil and sorrow, resides at the summit of a legendary mountain named Kailāśā, where he sits in a state of perpetual meditation along with his wife Pārvatī, the daughter of Himalaya. Kubera, the god of wealth was also said to have his abode on or near the mountain.

This Kailāśā is regarded in many sects of Hinduism as a place of eternal bliss, the ultimate destination of souls who attain moksha and the spiritual center of the world.

According to one description in the Vishnu Purana, Mount Kailash is the center of the world, its four faces are made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli. It is the pillar of the world; is the center of the world mandala; and is located at the heart of six mountain ranges symbolizing a lotus. The four rivers flowing from Kailash then flow to the four quarters of the world and divide the world into four regions.[3]

The largest and most important rock-cut temple, Kailash Temple at Ellora, Maharashtra is named after Mount Kailash. Many of its sculptures and reliefs depict episodes relating to Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati, including Ravana's tale. (Ravana was a devotee of Lord Siva, just like Lord Ram. Ramayana does not document Ravan shaking Kailasa mountain.) Ravana's mother had fallen ill, as they were great Lord Shiva devotees, he had attempted to carry the temple on his back to bring it closer to his mother. Shiva being stunned by his bravoure, had blessed him with immortality as Ravana had passed Lord Shiva's test on devotion. [4]

In Buddhism

Tibetan Thangka depicting Mt. Kailash

The Tantric Buddhists believe that Kailash is the home of the Buddha Demchok (also known as Demchog or Chakrasamvara),[5] who represents supreme bliss.

There are numerous sites in the region associated with Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava), whose tantric practices in holy sites around Tibet are credited with finally establishing Buddhism as the main religion of the country in the 7th-8th century CE.[6]

Stupas under Mount Kailash

It is said that Milarepa (c. 1052-c. 1135 CE), champion of Tantric Buddhism, arrived in Tibet to challenge Naro Bön-chung, champion of the Bön religion of Tibet. The two magicians engaged in a terrifying sorcerers' battle, but neither was able to gain a decisive advantage. Finally, it was agreed that whoever could reach the summit of Kailash most rapidly would be the victor. While Naro Bön-chung sat on a magic drum and soared up the slope, Milarepa's followers were dumbfounded to see him sitting still and meditating. Yet when Naro Bön-chung was nearly at the top, Milarepa suddenly moved into action and overtook him by riding on the rays of the sun, thus winning the contest. He did, however, fling a handful of snow on to the top of a nearby mountain, since known as Bönri, bequeathing it to the Bönpo and thereby ensuring continued Bönpo connections with the region.[7]

In Jainism

The Jains, who refer to Kailash as Mount Ashtapāda, believe the founder of their faith, Rishabhadeva attained Moksha or Nirvana (spiritual liberation) at this place.[8][9]

In Bön faith

The Bön, a religion which predates Buddhism in Tibet, maintain that the entire mystical region and the nine-story Swastika Mountain are the seat of all spiritual power.

Guru Nanak on Mount Kailash

Guru Nanak Dev, is one of the few people believed to have ascended the mountain peak.[10] It is widely believed that Guru Nanak conversed with the Nath Yogi's who meditated on the slopes of Kailash concerning their spiritual beliefs and meditation techniques.[1]

Pilgrimage

Satellite view of Mount Kailash with lakes Manasarowar (right) and Rakshastal in the foreground

Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists. Followers of the Jain and Bönpo religions circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32 mi) long.

Mt Kailash .jpg

Some pilgrims believe that the entire walk around Kailash should be made in a single day. This is not easy. A person in good shape walking fast would take perhaps 15 hours to complete the 52 km trek. Some of the devout do accomplish this feat, little daunted by the uneven terrain, altitude sickness and harsh conditions faced in the process. Indeed, other pilgrims venture a much more demanding regimen, performing body-length prostrations over the entire length of the circumambulation: The pilgrim bends down, kneels, prostrates full-length, makes a mark with his fingers, rises to his knees, prays, and then crawls forward on hands and knees to the mark made by his/her fingers before repeating the process. It requires at least four weeks of physical endurance to perform the circumambulation while following this regimen. The mountain is located in a particularly remote and inhospitable area of the Tibetan Himalayas. A few modern amenities, such as benches, resting places and refreshment kiosks, exist to aid the pilgrims in their devotions. According to all religions that revere the mountain, setting foot on its slopes is a dire sin. It is claimed that many people who ventured to defy the taboo have died in the process.

Location of Mt Kailash

Following the Chinese army entering Tibet in 1950, and political and border disturbances across the Chinese-Indian boundary, pilgrimage to the legendary abode of Lord Shiva was stopped from 1959 to 1980. Thereafter, a limited number of Indian pilgrims have been allowed to visit the place, under the supervision of the Chinese and Indian governments either by a lengthy and hazardous trek over the Himalayan terrain, travel by land from Kathmandu or from Lhasa where flights from Kathmandu are available to Tibet and thereafter travel over the great Tibetan plateau by car. The journey takes four night stops, finally arriving at Darchen at elevation of 4,600 m (15,000 ft), small outpost that swells with pilgrims at certain times of year. Despite its minimal infrastructure, modest guest houses are available for foreign pilgrims, whereas Tibetan pilgrims generally sleep in their own tents. A small regional medical center serving far-western Tibet and funded by the Swiss Ngari Korsum Foundation was built here in 1997.


Walking around the holy mountain—a part of its official park—has to be done on foot, pony or yak, taking some three days of trekking starting from a height of around 15,000 ft (4,600 m) past the Tarboche (flagpole) to cross the Drölma pass 18,200 ft (5,500 m), and encamping for two nights en route. First, near the meadow of Dirapuk gompa, some 2 to 3 km (1.2 to 1.9 mi) before the pass and second, after crossing the pass and going downhill as far as possible (viewing Gauri Kund in the distance).

Notes

  1. ^ a b However, sources say Guru Nanak was able to reach on the peak to meet Yogis meditating there. Other notable peaks that are now closed due to religious concerns, include Machhapuchhare and Gangkhar Puensum.
  2. ^ Sarat Chandra Das (1902). Tibetan-English Dictionary with Sanskrit Synonyms. Calcutta, India: Bengal Secretariat Book Depot.
  3. ^ Allen, Charles. (1982). A Mountain in Tibet, pp. 21-22. André Deutsch. Reprint: 1991. Futura Publications, London. ISBN 0-7088-2411-0.
  4. ^ .Snelling, John. (1990). The Sacred Mountain: The Complete Guide to Tibet's Mount Kailas. 1st edition 1983. Revised and enlarged edition, including: Kailas-Manasarovar Travellers' Guide. Forwards by H.H. the Dalai Lama of Tibet and Christmas Humphreys, pp. 22-25. East-West Publications, London and The Hague. ISBN 0-85692-173-4.
  5. ^ http://www.khandro.net/deity_Chakrasamvara.htm
  6. ^ Snelling, John. The Sacred Mountain, pp. 39, 33, 35, 225, 280, 353, 362-363, 377-378, . (1990) East-West Publications. London and The Hague. ISBN 0-85692-173-4.
  7. ^ Snelling, John. The Sacred Mountain, pp. 31, 33, 35. (1990) East-West Publications. London and The Hague. ISBN 0-85692-173-4.
  8. ^ The World's Most Mysterious Places Published by Reader's Digest ISBN 0 276 42217 1 pg.85
  9. ^ .Snelling, John. (1990). The Sacred Mountain: The Complete Guide to Tibet's Mount Kailas. 1st edition 1983. Revised and enlarged edition, including: Kailas-Manasarovar Travellers' Guide. Forwards by H.H. the Dalai Lama of Tibet and Christmas Humphreys, pp. 25-26. East-West Publications, London and The Hague. ISBN 0-85692-173-4.
  10. ^ The earliest known Janamsakhi (now referred to as the Bhai Bala Janamsakhi for identification purposes) records this event.

References

  • Nomachi, Kazuyoshi. Tibet. Boston: Shambhala, 1997.
  • Thurman, Robert and Tad Wise, Circling the Sacred Mountain: A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas. New York: Bantam, 1999. ISBN 0-553-37850-3 — Tells the story of a Western Buddhist making the trek around Mount Kailash.
  • Snelling, John. (1990). The Sacred Mountain: The Complete Guide to Tibet's Mount Kailas. 1st edition 1983. Revised and enlarged edition, including: Kailas-Manasarovar Travellers' Guide. Forwards by H.H. the Dalai Lama of Tibet and Christmas Humphreys. East-West Publications, London and The Hague. ISBN 0-85692-173-4.
  • (Elevation) Chinese Snow Map "Kangrinboqe", published by the Lanzhou Institute of Glaciology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Further reading

  • Allen, Charles. (1999). The Search for Shangri-La: A Journey into Tibetan History. Little, Brown and Company. Reprint: Abacus, London. 2000. ISBN 0-349-111421.
  • "A Tibetan Guide for Pilgrimage to Ti-se (Mount Kailas) and mTsho Ma-pham (Lake Manasarovar)." Toni Huber and Tsepak Rigzin. In: Sacred Spaces and Powerful Places In Tibetan Culture: A Collection of Essays. (1999) Edited by Toni Huber, pp. 125–153. The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, H.P., India. ISBN 81-86470-22-0.
  • Stein, R. A. (1961). Les tribus anciennes des marches Sino-Tibétaines: légends, classifications et histoire. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris. (In French)
  • Johnson, Russell, and Moran, Kerry. (1989). "The Sacred Mountain of Tibet: On Pilgrimage to Kailas." Park Street Press, Rochester, Vermont. ISBN 0-89281-325-3.
  • Govinda, Lama Anagarika. (1966). "The Way of the White Clouds: A Buddhist Pilgrim in Tibet." Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, Colorado. Reprint with foreword by Peter Matthiessen: Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts. 1988. ISBN 0-87773-007-5

See also

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : East Asia : China : South West : Tibet : Ngari : Mount Kailash

This article is an itinerary.

Chortens and Mount Kailash
Chortens and Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash (冈仁波齐峰; Gāngrénbōqí Fēng. Tibetan: Kang Rinpoche) is a sacred mountain in the far west of Tibet.

Understand

This Mountain is considered holy by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. In ancient texts, it is referred to as the center of the world. The reason can be understood from the geographical significance of it's place: within 30 miles radius, are the sources of mighty rivers Indus (north called "Sindhu" in India), Sutlej (in west), Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsang-po in east), and Karnali (largest tributary to the Ganges in south).

History

Hindus regard the peak as Shiva's symbolic Lingam or Phallus and worship Mt Kailash, which is the Sanskrit name for the mountain. Bonpos believe the sacred mountain to be the place where the founder of the Bon religion landed when he descended from the sky. Tibetan Buddhists believe Kang Rinpoche, which means Precious Snow Mountain, is a natural mandala representing the Buddhist cosmology on the earth and the Jains believe this is the place where their religion's founder was spiritually awakened.

Get in

There are only four land routes to reach Mt. Kailash.

  • From Xigatse (accessible from Lhasa or Kathmandu) - Saga - Manasarovar (4 days on a hired jeep, longer by a combination of public transportation and hitch-hiking) or Xigatse - Ali - Darchen (6 days on a jeep)
  • From Indian border near Uttarkashi (very limited number of Indian citizens every year by lottery system).
  • from Kashgar via Ali
  • from Simikot in Nepal via Purang (only open to people on a costly group tour)

The entry point for Mt. Kailash is Darchen. Located right in front of Mt Kailash, this is the starting point for pilgrims going on the Khora.

Fees/Permits

Y50 per person no matter how many times they circumambulate the mountain on one visit. Porters or yaks will cost about Y65 per day.

Get around

The main attraction of the mountain is the pilgrimage circuit around the mountain. It normally takes 3 days and should only be undertaken by the well-prepared and fit.

  • Mt Kailash Khora (Pilgrimage Circuit) - A pilgrimage to Mt Kailash involves nothing more or less than making circuits around the sacred mountain. The Outer Pilgrimage Circuit (Chikhor) is about 52km, and Tibetans can complete a circuit in a day. The majority of pilgrims try for 13 circuits, if they can. Some pilgrims do a circuit performing Kyangcha (Prostration). While the average circuit takes about 14 hours to complete, those doing prostration can take a couple of weeks. Those seeking to secure their path to enlightenment try for 108 circuits. Buddhists and Hindus travel clockwise around the mountain while Bonpos travel counter-clockwise. Most travelers take three days to complete a circuit.
  • Day 1 - Darchen - Drirapuk Gompa
Darchen - Chogu (Chuku) Gompa (3-4 hrs), Chogu (Chuku) Gompa - Drirapuk Gompa (3-4 hrs)
  • Day 2 - Drirapuk Gompa - Dolma La - Zutrulpuk Gompa
Drirapuk Gompa - Zutrulpuk Gompa (7-8 hrs)
  • Day 3 - Zutrulpuk Gompa - Darchen
Zutrulpuk Gompa - Darchen (3 hrs)
  • Lake Manasarovar Khora (Pilgrimage Cicuit) - Together with Mt Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a pilgrimage site. There is a pilgrimage path around the lake and a circuit is a little over 100km, taking 4-5 days to complete. Chiu Gompa, 30 km south of Darchen, is a good starting point for a circuit around the lake.
  • Day 1 - Chiu Gompa - Langbona Gompa
  • Day 2 - Langbona Gompa - Seralung Gompa
  • Day 3 - Seralung Gompa - Trugo Gompa
  • Day 4 - Trugo Gompa - Chiu Gompa
  • Mt. Kailash Khora - the pilgrimage circuit
  • Lake Manasarovar Khora - another pilgrimage circuit

Stay safe

Weather conditions can change rapidly here and you should be prepared for the worst.

It's unlikely you will have problems with the altitude other than shortness of breath, and less energy than you are used to as you will have been at altitude for quite some time just to get here, however altitude sickness is unpredictable, and you should always keep your plans flexible enough to give your self a rest day if needed.

  • Do not sit or climb on sacred sites.
  • Pass mani stones to the right.
  • Turn prayer wheels in a clockwise direction.
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