MOUNT KAILASH PILGRIMAGE
The most famous pilgrimage for Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and the
followers of Bön is the circumambulation around Mount Kailash (Tib. Kang
Rimpoche) in Western Tibet. This strenuous journey is a desired goal to
be achieved once in a lifetime. It has been seen as the centre of the
universe for thousands of years and in the Buddhist tradition as the
holy abode of Heruka Chakrasamvara depicted here on top of the mountain.
He is flanked by Avalokiteshvara, the patron deity of Tibet, and by
Green Tara, the female manifestation of all the Buddha’s active
Guru Rimpoche, the 8th century Indian tantric master sits in the
clouds above the lake Rakastal, while Milarepa, the 11th century Tibetan
yogi resides above the lake Manasarovar.
The pilgrimage consists of an outer and an inner circumambulation
(Tib. Kora). The inner one can only be attempted after 13 outer ones
(each takes 2-3 days) have been completed. It is said that the inner
sacred circle is protected by the local deities. Every 12 years
according to the astrological charts on the day of Sakyadawa (Buddha’s
enlightenment day) circumambulations are most auspicious and one can
proceed to the inner sanctuary after 3 rounds only.