The towering 22028 ft high peak Mt. Kailash in the Himalayas, a great mass of black rock,25 miles north of the Mansarovar lake is hailed as the abode of Lord Shiva by Hindus. It is an arduous trek to Kailash through the snow clad Himalayas and is attempted only by a few. The Tibetians refer to Kailash as Kangrimpoche (Jewel of Snow). Kailash is also referred to as Hemakootam.
Kailasam is considered sacred by four religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Bön faith. In Hindu religion, it is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva. 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.
The Buddhists refer to the sacred mountain as Kangri Karchchak; they regard the presiding deity of Mt. Kailash as Deity with three eyes, holding the damaru and the trishul; his consort is referred to as Dorje Fangmo. The Jains regard Mt. Kailash as the Ashtapada mountain where the first Tirtankara Adinath (Rishabhadeva) attained nirvana.
Followers of Bon, Tibet's pre-Buddhist, shamanistic religion, call the mountain Tise and believe it to be the seat of the Sky Goddess Sipaimen. Additionally, Bon myths regard Tise as the sight of a legendary 12th century battle of sorcery between the Buddhist sage Milarepa and the Bon shaman Naro Bon-chung. Milarepa's defeat of the shaman displaced Bon as the primary religion of Tibet, firmly establishing Buddhism in its place. While the Buddha is believed to have magically visited Kailash in the 5th century BC, the religion of Buddhism only entered Tibet, via Nepal and India, in the 7th century AD. Tibetan Buddhists call the mountain Kang Rimpoche, the 'Precious One of Glacial Snow', and regard it as the dwelling place of Demchog (also known as Chakrasamvara) and his consort, Dorje Phagmo. Three hills rising near Kang Rimpoche are believed to be the homes of the the Bodhisatvas Manjushri, Vajrapani, and Avalokiteshvara.
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. 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.