One of the top pilgrimage centers of Hinduism, Bon, Buddhism and Jainism, Mount Kailash is located in Tibet Autonomous Region, China. It is revered as the abode of Lord Shiva. Mt. Kailash stands tall at 6,638 m (21,778 ft) and is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. The pilgrimage site is as famous for its religious relevance as it is for its unique characteristics. To get a better idea, here’s a look at some of the amazing facts about Mount Kailash.
52 kilometers on foot in one day – One of the key holy rituals is circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot, which has total distance of around 52 km (32 miles). There are some communities that believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash should be completed in a single day. And some pilgrims are able to achieve exactly that despite the high altitude, low oxygen level and uneven terrain. Some communities follow an even challenging approach wherein they perform body-length prostrations to circumambulate Mt. Kailash. That they are able to achieve these major challenges in such punishing environment is an impossible task for many.
Salt water and fresh water lake side by side – In a unique geological phenomenon, a salt water lake and a fresh water lake exist side by side near Mount Kailash. While the fresh water lake is called Lake Manasarovar, the salt water lake is referred to as Lake Rakshastal. The latter is devoid of any vegetation due to its salty content. Although located side by side, Lake Manasarovar remains placid most times whereas Lake Rakshastal is turbulent quite frequently.
Built by divine beings – The structure of Mount Kailash is so unique, especially in comparison to other mountains in the region, that it seems like it simply does not belong there. Some people believe that the steep and tall structure of the mountain is geometrically impossible to be created through natural geological processes. Some believe that Mount Kailash has been constructed by divine beings.
Center of the world – It is believed that Mt. Kailash is the Axis Mundi or the center of the world. It is also described as world axis, cosmic axis, world tree and world pillar.
Gateway to heaven – As per religious beliefs, Mount Kailash is the gateway to heaven. It is the point that connects earth to heaven. In most religions that revere Mt. Kailash, climbing the mountain is considered sacrilege. This is why no one is allowed to climb the mountain. Expeditions several decades earlier had attempted to climb Mt. Kailash, but were unsuccessful.
Fast ageing – Many people have reported that their hair and nails grow faster when they are at Mount Kailash. This is often attributed to mysterious energies present in the area. However, it has not been proven if this is true or just a perception.