The sacred mountain of Kailash

The sacred mountain of Kailash in Tibet has been very much in the news of late, with the publication of Colin Thubron's book To a Mountain in Tibet.

 The First View Of Mount Kailash - Tibet
Prayer flags at the first view of Kailash on the eastern approach

For those of you who might be encouraged to follow in his footsteps, for whatever reason, why not read our own Cicerone guide to Mount Kailash. Siân writes, “The power of Mount Kailash is inexplicable to many of us from the Western world who believe in scientific proof and logical explanations. I remember reaching the ‘place of the dead’, Shiwal Tsal, before writing the book and with no real knowledge of the particular places en route, only to find myself mysteriously overwhelmed by the desire to lie down and rest for a short while. A couple of minutes later, I arose, refreshed and ready to continue on to the summit, as if reborn and rejuvenated.

A visit to Mount Kailash is sure to regenerate and uplift your spirits in more ways than you could possibly imagine. Having spent many years working in Nepal and the Himalayas, and almost as many in the Alps, it was inconceivable that one day we would not eventually be able to make a trip to Mount Kailash in Tibet. Perhaps the surprise is that it took so long! Pilgrims have been seeking the powers of Kailash as a spiritual centre for centuries, but apart from a few early missionaries, adventurers and explorers, it is only in more recent years that recreational trekkers and visitors have been admitted."

Isolated for centuries behind the Himalayas in Tibet, Mount Kailash is a mysterious and mythical mountain. At 6714m (22,028ft) high, it is a mountain that captures the imagination and breathes sheer excitement into the soul. Kailash has for more than a thousand years been a central pilgrimage site for some of the world’s major religions. It is sacred to Hindus, Buddhists, Bonpo and Jains from India. For a few short days it will enthral and capture even the most atheistic of souls.

Tibet is a magical place, a very special land; today it is blessed with resurging monasteries. Tibet has quaint villages, spectacular mountains, clear luminescent light, crumbling history, mysterious religion and large yak herds set in a timeless landscape. But there is one further inspirational destination that we include in this book, for no journey to the region would be complete without a visit to the lost Kingdom of Guge.

Where the northern slopes of the Indian Himalayas hide the headwaters of the River Sutlej, in a vast maze of crazily eroded sandstone towers, are the ethereal fortress ruins of Tsaparang, the former capital of Guge. This is Tibet’s greatest Buddhist treasure house of art and paintings, a fairytale location, a place so unbelievable that its fame will surely spread.

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