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 Mt. Kailash
Soaring above 22,000 feet, the great Mount Kailash holds the distinction of being the most sacred, yet least visited mountain in the world. Because of its remote location in far western Tibet, this mountain is only visited by a few pilgrims every year. There are no modern conveyances to get to Kailash, and even with rugged overland vehicles, the journey takes a grueling three weeks.

Mount KailashFollowers of the Vedas believe that Kailash is the abode of Shiva, one of the principle demigods of the Vedic canon. There, he resides with his consort, Parvati and practices austerities on the peak of the mountain. Kailsasa is sacred to other religions also. The Tibetan Buddhists refer to Kailash as ‘Kang Rimpoche’ – the ‘Precious Jewel of Glacial Ice’ and believe that it is the home of the Buddhist deities Demchog and Dorje Phagmo. The Tibetan shamanists call the mountain ‘Tise’ and believe it is the seat of the sky-goddess Sipaimen. The Jains call the mountain ‘Astapada’ and believe it to be the place where their founder, Rishabhadeva, attained liberation.

         Demigod Shiva

Lord ShivaReaching this holy mountain is difficult in itself, yet pilgrims voluntarily take on the additional austerity of walking 32 miles to circumambulate it, which generally takes three days. Climbing Mount Kailash is strictly forbidden. In fact, the only person said to have reached its peak was the Tibetan Buddhist yogi Milarepa in the 11th Century. Eighteen miles southeast of Kailash is Lake Manasarovara, a 64-mile circuit, which is rarely completed except by the most devout.

Said to have been created from the mind of the creator Brahma, bathing in this lake, or even sprinkling its water on one’s head, is said to be of enormous spiritual benefit to those who can brave the icy water which many claim contain miraculous powers.

This is a freshwater lake, three miles above sea level.There is a saltwater lake, separated by a narrow peninsula, named Rakshasa Tal, or ‘The Demon’s lake’. According to the epic Ramayana, this lake was created from the tears of the powerful demon Ravana after he unsuccessfully tried to lift Mount Kailash. Pilgrims consider this lake inauspicious and don’t bathe or circumambulate this crescent moon-shaped body of water.

This documentary traces the history and significance of the arduous pilgrimage to the worlds holiest mountain with rare footage, never before seen by the western eye.

 

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