Tuesday, 24 May, 2022

Kailash, a mysterious mount

  • Chinmay Prasun Biswas
  • 25 February, 2022 12:00 AM
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Kailash, a mysterious mount

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Located at 22,000 feet above the Tibetan plateau Mount Kailash is considered to be a very sacred place and a highly esteemed pilgrimage for the Hindus as well as Buddhists and Jains. It is the source of important Asian rivers - the Indus (Sindh), the Sutlej (Shatadru), the Karneli and the Brahmaputra. Manas Sarovar (Lake Manas) and Rakshasatal are located nearby. The word Kailas originates from a Sanskrit word Kelas (meaning crystal) because the ice-covered Kailash looks very much like a crystal. In Tibetan it is called Gango Rinpoche. In Tibet, the Buddhist guru (religious head), Padmasambhava is called Rinpoche. Mount Kailash has been named after him which means a precious gem made of ice. From ancient times, this 22,000 feet high black rock hill has been believed as a cosmic axis or pillar which is holding the mass of the earth. Many people call it the centre of the earth.

According to Hindu belief, Kailash is known as an abode of Lord Shiv. He lives there with his family. This is the gateway to heaven. To Hindus, Kailash is the most attractive place of the entire Himalayas. Attraction of this mysterious mountain draws people to the foot of Mount Kailash for ages. It is surrounded by many mysteries, stories and beliefs. Many things are yet to be learnt about this mysterious mountain. No one has been able to climb this mountain so far. Common belief says that as the gods and goddesses live here it is not possible for anyone to go there. Any such attempt means to antagonise the gods which can even lead to death.

According to Hindus, Kailash is a part of Mount Pole. Tibetan tradition says that a Vajrayani Buddhist monk named Milarepa was able to climb near the top of the mountain in the 11th century. Coming back he warned everyone that it is better not to go to God's house. Even after that many people attempted to go there, but they either lost their way or died because of bad weather. As a result, the top of Mount Kailash remains elusive.

Satellite photography shows that the size of Mount Kailash is almost the same in all sides, i.e. it is shaped like a pyramid. Some people say that sometimes a yogi with a trident and some traces of Mahadev (Shiv) are seen to the north. It is believed that coming down heaven has been merged with the earth at Kailasa. Many people say that after returning from Mount Kailash nails or hair suddenly increases. It is said that once some Siberian mountaineers entered the forbidden area of Mount Kailash. Immediately their age increased by several decades and they died due to old age one year later. However, authenticity of this tale could not be verified, but in this way Mount Kailash remains shrouded in mystery.

Manas Sarovar and Rakshasatal are situated at the foot of Mount Kailash. At an altitude of 14,950 feet Manas Sarovar is the highest freshwater lake in the world. Surprisingly, no matter how strong the wind blows, the water of Manas Sarovar is always calm, but water of Rakshasatal is always stormy. The common belief is that the Rakshasatal was created from the austerities performed by the demon king, Ravan, to please Shiv. That is why, water of this lake is turbulent. Water of this lake is salty and aquatic plants and animals are not found here.

This pyramid-shaped mountain contains many ancient caves and caverns where someone may come across Buddhist and Hindu monks performing austerities behind the eyes of people for many years. Every year, thousands of pilgrims travel to Manas Sarovar, but due to the extremely inaccessible natural environment only a small number of them can complete the journey. However, though not the highest peak in the world, no one has been able to climb on the top of Mount Kailash as yet. Going there after a certain point is still forbidden.  

Many questions have been raised over the years as to whether this mountain is actually the abode of Mahadev. The most valuable question is why it is impossible to reach the peak of Mount Kailash. Nobody has ever been able to get there. Many people have been able to conquer Mount Everest, but after trying for so many years why Kailash is still unconquered? Is any miraculous power preventing Kailash from being conquered? It is said that in the 11th century a Buddhist yogi Milarepa Haridas was able to conquer, but there is no dependable evidence of this claim. However, it has been established that the peak of Kailasa has not been conquered as yet.

It is said that a certain miraculous force prevents the conquest of Mount Kailash. When anyone steps on Kailash he cannot move forward due to drastic change in weather, loss of direction etc. Dr Ernst Muldashev, a Russian ophthalmologist, states in his theory that Mount Kailash is not a natural geographical structure; it is pyramid-shaped by a supernatural force. It is not impossible to find a small or medium size city in it

Scientists have attained many successes, have conquered the moon, have sent space ships to the Mars, have conducted other effective space missions, but after so many years the mystery round Mount Kailash remains intact. Does it support the belief and hearsay that something supernatural exists there? No one can assert it because it has not been found as yet. Therefore, willingly or not, according to mythology we have to accept that science is losing ground in this place. Some invisible power is still reigning over science which may be called eternal, primordial, supernatural, unusual or anything else. Till today there is no end to it.


The writer is a former Commissioner of Taxes