|A large number of mountain peaks and ranges in the Great Himalayas are named after the Lord of Mountains - Shiva. The most famed is Mount Kailash (22,028 ft / 6,714 m) , on top of which is the heavenly abode of Lord Shiva, who shares this lofty peak with his consort Goddess Parvati.
Mount Kailash lies in the south western part of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It is the highest peak in the Kailash range of the Himalayas, separated from the Great Himalayas chain by a trough that is drained in the north west by the Sutlej river and by the Yarlung Zangbo river (the extreme upper part of river Brahmaputra) in the south east. Manasarovar Lake, lying just south of Mount Kailash at 4,557 m (14,950 ft), is one of the world's highest lakes.
Mount Kailas is an important pilgrimage site and has religious significance for both Hindus and Tibetan Buddhists. Hindus regard Mt. Kailash as the earthy manifestation of Mt. Meru – the spiritual center of the Universe, described in the ancient texts as a World Pillar , 139,440 km high, around which everything revolves.
According to Hindu mythology, Mount Kailash is the abode of Shiva, the supreme deity, who rules over cosmic dissolution, is said to reside on the summit with his wife Parvati and family.
It expounds the philosophy of Shiva & Shakti. The radiant silvery summit is the throne of Truth , Wisdom & Bliss – Sachidanandam. The primordial sound AUM from the tinkling anklets of Shakti created the visible patters of the universe and the vibrations (DWANI) from the feet of Shiva, the Natraja weaved the essence of ATMAN, the ultimate truth.
Mt Kailash is the apex, where the sound and the lights merges and the true Yogi transcends both these and merges into OM. Mind is the knot tying consciousness and matter, this is set free here. This is the heart of Indian Philosophy and civilisation and the grand Manasarovar reflects the total Indian consciousness.
Kalpa Viruksha tree is supposed to adorn the slopes. The south face is described as Sapphire, East the Crystal, West as Ruby and the North as Gold. Ganga after originating from the toe of Lord Vishnu entered the lunar circle and descended on peak of Mt.Kailasa. Shiva quelled her furiousness by receiving her on his matted locks.,It is believed that Ganga after circuiting Mt. Kailash seven times, divides herself into four rivers – Indus (north) , Ganga (south), Brahmaputra, (east) & Sutlej (west).
In tantric Buddhism (the form prevailing in Tibet) Mount Kailash is equated with the palace of Demchok, an invincible twelve-armed deity, and his consort Dorje Phagmo. The embrace of Demchok and Dorje Phagmo represents the ultimate union of the means and wisdom leading to enlightenment. For the Bonpos, Kailash was the sacred nine storey Swastika Mountain, upon which the Bonpo founder Sherab alighted from heaven and for the Jains, Mt Kailash is acclaimed as a site where their first Prophet achieved enlightenment.
South of Mount Kailash, across the great plain of Bharka at the base of the majestic Mt Gurla Mandhatta, are the two lakes Manasarovar and Rakshash Tal. They are the highest bodies of fresh water in the world , with Mansarovar , about 15 meters higher than Rakshash Tal. The Mansarovar lake is situated at a height of 14,950 ft and is about 300 ft deep, whereas Rakshash Tal is at a height of 14,900 ft and is 150 feet deep. Due to its shape and mood, Manasarovar is linked to the sun and the forces of light whereas Rakshash Tal is compared to the moon and the forces of darkness.
Manasarovar lake was once surrounded by eight monasteries, symbolizing the eight chapter of the Dharma but most of them were destroyed during cultural revolution restoration work. Presently five monasteries stand all along the shore, out of which, Jiwa and Chiu monasteries are most notable.
Legends has that the mother of Buddha, Mayadevi was bathe at Mansarovar by Gods before giving birth to her son.
The lake can be circumambulated in four or five days. It is often a gem like cobalt blue colour but during storm, it can turn into a churning black sometimes.