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K A I L A S H

@exotic.T I B E T

 
Mt. Kailash has the unique distinction of being the most venerated yet least visited of the world's major holy places. Due to its remote location in far western Tibet, the mountain is visited by no more than a few thousand pilgrims each year. There are no trains nor planes going to the region, and by land there are only three, long and difficult, routes. Even today, with rugged over-land vehicles the journey takes weeks, and you must carry all your gasoline and supplies for the entire journey.
How long have people been coming to this sacred mountain? The answers are lost in antiquity, long before the dawn of Hinduism, Jainism or Buddhism. The cosmologies and origin myths of each of these religions speak of Kailash as the mythical Mt. Meru, the Axis Mundi, center and birth place of the entire world. The mountain was already legendary before the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were written. Indeed, Kailash is so deeply embedded in the heart and mind and archetypes of ancient Asia that it was perhaps a sacred place of another era, another civilization, now long gone and forgotten.
Pilgrims to Kailash, after the difficult journey getting there, are then confronted with the equally arduous task of circumambulating the sacred peak. This walking around the mountain (clockwise for the Buddhists, counter-clockwise for Bon adherents) is known as a Kora, or Parikrama, and normally takes three days. In hopes of gaining extra merit or psychic powers however, some pilgrims will vary the tempo of their movement. A hardy few, practicing a secret breathing technique known as Lung-gom, will power themselves around the mountain in only one day (the authorís method). Others will take two to three weeks for the Kora by making full body prostrations the entire way. It is believed that a pilgrim who completes 108 journeys around the mountain is assured enlightenment. Most pilgrims to Kailash will also take a short plunge in the nearby, highly sacred (and very cold) Lake Manosaravar. The word 'manas' means mind or consciousness; the name Manosaravar means Lake of Consciousness and Enlightenment. Adjacent to Manosaravar is Rakas Tal or Rakshas, the Lake of Demons. Pilgrimage to this great sacred mountain and these two magical lakes is a life changing experience and an opportunity to view some of the most magical scenery on the entire planet.
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