India has a bit of everything. We have beautiful valleys, serene landscapes, lush forests, peaceful beaches, and of course, our colossal mountain ranges. Among them is Mt. Kailash, which stands at about 2000 feet shorter than our (and the world’s) highest peak, Mt. Everest.
But this isn’t any old mountain, and there are many peculiar aspects of it. Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Mysterious Mt. Kailash.
1. It’s Unclimbable.
Even though it’s shorter than Mt. Everest (which thousands have scaled), No one has reached its summit so far. Many claim this to be the bidding of supernatural forces, while scientists are left baffled. Many attempts have been made to get to the peak, but almost all of them were thwarted by extreme weather conditions the moment they set foot on the mountain, almost like the mountains didn’t want people climbing it. Several others claim that once on the mountain, navigation becomes impossible as directions become confusing, some even going as far to say that the mountain and it’s supernatural forces twist and turn directions.
2. Lord Shiva’s Abode
According to Hindu Mythology, it is said that Lord Shiva along with this family reside in this mountain of black rock. This is among many reasons why Mt. Kailash is a holy pilgrimage for many. Devotees of Shiva come here for salvation, and feel many supernatural forces when they do so. Some even claim to have seen Lord Shiva himself, in his form as Neelkanth.
3. Known As Astapada By Jains
This mountain isn’t just sacred to one religion, as it revered as the site at which their first prophet received enlightenment. Jains have a different name for this peak, Astapada, and they believe that the first of the twenty-four Tirthankaras, Rishaba, achieved liberation.
4. Also Known As Tise
Along with Hindu and Jain mysticism regarding this mountain, an ancient religion, even before Buddhism came into play, has roots in this mountain. Adherents of Bon, an ancient shamanistic religion, call the mountain Tise, believing it to be the Goddess Sipaimen’s seat.
5. Kang Rimpoche For The Buddhists
The final religious connection to this mountain lies within Buddhism. For them, the mountains is known as Kang Rimpoche, or ‘Precious One of Glacial Snow’.
6. Legend Says Only One Person Has Climbed It
There isn’t much information on this, but it believed that the only person to ever reach its holy peak was an Tibetan Buddhist Yogi, Milarepa, in the 11th century.
7. Kailash: Mountain, or Pyramid?
Dr Ernst Muldashev, a Russian ophthalmologist has theorized that Mt. Kailash isn’t some natural geographical structure, but rather a Pyramid made by some supernatural beings. Not only that, but this theory also claims that Kailash is only the main pyramid in a complex of 100 such structures. This theory also goes as far as to say that this complex is the headquarters of such structures all over the world, where similar paranormal phenomena occur.
8. The Spiritual Center Of The Universe?
Mt. Kailash, by many, is regarded as the Axis Mundi of this earth. The axis provides a connection between the physical world and spiritual worlds. In Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain mythology, the axis mundi is a certain Mt. Meru or Sumeru, and it is said that Mt. Kailash is the earth version of them.
9. Lakes Like Yin-Yang
There are two lakes at the base of this mountain, the Manasarovar and the Rakshastal. These two lakes are like ying and yang. Let me tell you how.
Manasarovar is shaped like the sun. Rakshastal is shaped like a crescent moon. Manasarovar is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world, while the Rakshastal is one of the highest saltwater lakes.
Manasarovar is always calm and serene irrespective of the weather conditions. Rakshastal however is always stormy and has rough waters.
10. Gauri Kund, The Birthplace of Ganesha
Another lake with mysticism attached to it, Lake Gauri Kund is also recognized as the Lake of Compassion, and Parvati Sarovar. The last name was given to it because it was here that the Goddess Parvati brought Ganesha into this world, creating him from the soap lather on her body, and then breathing life into him.
11. Gratuitous Source Of Rivers
This mountain might as well be the center of all things, as four important rivers flow from it. The Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra,and Karnali (the tributary of our sacred Ganga) all flow from near the base of this mountain.
12. The Four Faces
This mountain isn’t like other mountains, which are roughly shaped like a cone, this one has four distinct faces, almost aligned with the four directions. The Puranas say that it is the center of this world, dividing it into quarterly regions. Perhaps the most peculiar statement, The Puranas also say that each face is made of gold, ruby, lapis lazuli, and crystal.
13. The Seat Of All Power
The early settlers of this region, who followed the religion of Bon, maintain that the mountain and the area around it is very sacred. They called it the Nine Storey Swastika Mountain, and it was the seat of all power (Game of Thrones much?). And indeed, when viewed from the south face, a swastika can be seen.
14. The Gateway Of The God Of Death
The Yam Dwar, the initial point for those who want to circumambulate the mountain, when translated, means the “gateway of the God of death”. It is said that circumambulation of this mountain can wash one of his or her sins, and enough rounds and you could also be set for life with good karma.
15. Siwasthal, The North’s Bodh Gaya
Siwasthal is known as another Bodh Gaya since it replicates the mystic funeral grounds at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. People who come here on a pilgrimage, experience a metaphorical death, and are then in the presence of Yama. After which, they are “reborn” at Drolma La. The grounds here are strewn with clothes, bags and what not. Perhaps the most disturbing, you can also spot bones, hair, and blood. These are regarded as the possessions that people leave behind in their “previous life” and also the offerings made by the pilgrims.