Mount Kailash in western Tibet is a mountain sacred to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bongos, the adherents of ancient animistic beliefs. In Sanskrit it is also called “Mount Meru” or “Sumeru”, in Hindu “Kailash” or the “Crystal Shining”. To Tibetans it is “Kang Rimpoche” or the precious jewel of the snows. It is home to the shores of sacred Manasarovar Lake (4600m) soaring to 6723m.
Travelling west across southern Tibet is an adventure into another way of life. Nomads heard their sheep and yaks in company with devout pilgrims making their way to the holy sites. Hindus believe that it is thew world pillar described in ancient texts around which all else revolves, its roots in deepest hell, its summit kissing the heavens. Here resides Lord Shiva with his consort the Goddess Parvati. To Manasarovar come Hindus to drink of its holy water to shed the sins of a hundred lifetimes. The Tibetans come to circumscribe the mountains, in the belief that a single circuit will cleanse them of the sins of a lifetime. 108 laps will ensure the attainment of enlightenment in this lifetime. Mysterious Tibet long closed to foreign travellers continues to exert a strong influence on the imagination of the world. The starkness of its countryside, the warmth of its people, its unique and colourful Buddhist traditions appear to many to be the embodiment of mythical Shangri-la. Lhasa, the Forbidden City is no longer forbidden: it is open to ordinary travellers. More and more exciting places are now accessible and affordable through the change that has taken place. Tibet remains a fascinating and truly adventurous destination.