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 centre 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 centre 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 centre 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
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