In the far west of the country, and at some 6,714m above sea level, stands Mount Kailash. The holiest mountain in the Tibetan world, believed by many Tibetans to be the mythical mount Meru, the abode of the Gods and the centre of the universe. The peak is sacred to Tibetan Buddhists, Bon worshippers, Hindus and Jains alike.
It was once thought by explorers in the west to be the source of some of India’s great rivers. Although this eventually turned out to be untrue, it was discovered that the source of the Indus, the Yarlung Tsangpo (which leads into the Brahmaputra), the Sutlej, and the Karnali (a tributary to the Ganges), all lay within 100km of Kailash.
Most visitors at Kailash are either Tibetan or Indian pilgrims who travel often huge distances to make their holy Kora (the name given to the clockwise circuit around holy sites, temples and stupas). However in recent years the circuit is becoming popular with western trekkers. Most allow 3 – 5 days for the circuit depending on time and fitness.
Close by is lake Manasarovar, one of the holiest lakes in Asia, and having circumnavigated Kailash, and the lake, pilgrims will then head to the near by Tirtapuri hot springs for a leisurely one hour Kora and a dip in it’s reputedly healing waters.