Mt Kailash (Gang Rimpoche in Tibetan), is located in Burang County, and is 81.3°longitude east, 31°altitude north. It is the highest peak of Gangdise Mountain, with an altitude of 6,638 meters (2,177 feet).
Mt Kailash (Gong Rimpoche) refers to the “sacred mountain” in Tibetan and “Heaven of Siva” in Sanskrit (Siva is the god of Hinduism). It is the place where the religion of Bon is originated. According to the Indian epics Lomoyana and the Tibetan historic epics History of Gangdise, people began to worship Mt Kailash as early as in 1000 B.C. As the Bon sutra goes, a river, which rose from Mt Kailash, flew into Lake Manasarova, which meant “unconquerable”. Then four great rivers, named after the four supernatural animals in paradise - the horse, lion, elephant and peacock, rose from the lake and flew to four directions.
The river flowing eastward was Zangbo Maquan River (Ma means horse, and the lower branch was called Lamaputela River), in which were many emeralds. People believed that water from the river could make them as strong as horses. The river flowing southward was Majia Zangbo Peacock River (the lower branch called Ganges River), in which was much silver sand. People believed that water from the river could make them as lovely as peacocks. The river flowing westward was Langqen Zangbo Xiangquanhe River (Xiang refers to elephant, and the lower branch was called Sutlei River), in which were many gold mines. People believed that water from the river could make them as strong as elephants. The river flowing northward was Senge Zangbo Shiquanhe River (Shi refers to lion, and the lower branch was called Hindu River), in which were many diamond mines. People believed that water from the river could make them as brave as lions. Pilgrims from India, Bhutan, Nepal and China cluster to the mountain to make circumambulation every year.
It is said that Mt Kailashis is the Sumeru Hill in Buddhism. Semeru means the center of the world. As the legend goes, 360 deities once lived on the mountain.
Indians call it Mt Kailash. They also think it is the center of the world. They believe that Siva, the god with highest supernatural power and the highest rank among the three gods of Hinduism, lives in the mountain. The upper branches of Hindu River, Ganges River rise from the mountain. So it is not strange to see a lot of Indian pilgrims there.
The weather is very changeable on the mountain. The temperature changes greatly during day and night. Tourist should know about the climate before going and prepare enough warm clothes.
The only possible transport to Mt Kailash from the south is to hitchhike a vehicle (Sometimes it is only possible to cover one part of the distance, and then you have to hitchhike another vehicle to continue with your trip). The transport from the north is mainly the trucks running to and from Shiquanhe Town. It is 330 km from Shiquanhe to the Sacred Mountain, and it takes 1 and half days to reach the mountain. The fee is about 50-80 RMB.
It is charged to go circling the mountain, and the price is going up every year. The admission fee in year 2000 was RMB10 yuan per person; in 2001 it was RMB100 yuan per person. If the number of people who come for the circling keeps increasing, it is probable that the admission fee will be rising.
Any time is ok for the Circling. However, April 15 is the day when Buddha Sakyamuni was born, the day he became the Buddha, and also the day when he passed away and reached the state of nirvana. On that day, a ceremony of replacing the Mani flag is held at the entrance of the Sacred Mountain. The Tibetan Buddhists believe that the circumambulation this day will accumulate more virtues for them. So there are usually more people there that day.
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