Gateway to the Divine: Mount Kailash to Be Accessible from Indian Territory This September
Written by Sanjay Kumar
From September this year, pilgrims will have the opportunity to visit Mount Kailash, the revered abode of Lord Shiva, from the Indian territory.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has initiated the construction of a road from KMVN Huts in Nabhidhang, Pithoragarh district, to Lipulekh pass on the India-China border. This ambitious project, spanning approximately six and a half kilometers, is expected to be completed by September 2023.
Vimal Goswami, the Chief Engineer of BRO’s Diamond Project, provided insights into the progress, stating that significant road-cutting work has already been accomplished. Upon completion, a scenic ‘Kailash View Point’ will be established along the route.
The responsibility for developing the ‘Kailash View Point’ has been assigned to the Hirak Project by the Indian government. If weather conditions remain favorable, the work is set to be completed as planned.
Due to the Covid pandemic, the Kailash-Mansarovar yatra through the Lipulekh Pass had been postponed and has yet to resume. Consequently, the Indian government has been striving to find an alternative route for devotees to access Mount Kailash.
Mount Kailash, a striking peak standing majestically in the remote southwestern corner of Tibet within the Himalayan Mountains, reaches an impressive elevation of 6638 meters (21778 feet). Notably, it is among the highest points in the Himalayas and serves as the origin of several significant rivers in Asia. Known as Gang Tise or Gang Rinpoche in Tibet, this precious and symmetrical peak, made up of black rock, captivates with its diamond-like shape and rugged, dry surroundings.
Mount Kailash holds immense sacred significance for four faiths: Buddhists, Jains, Hindus, and the Tibetan religion of Bon. Yearly, countless people from around the world embark on a pilgrimage to this revered site. Followers of various beliefs have been visiting Kailash for thousands of years, engaging in the tradition of circumambulating the holy mountain on foot.
It is believed that such a journey brings good fortune and absolves sins committed during one’s lifetime. Nevertheless, this trek of 52 kilometers (32 miles) in a single day is arduous, demanding physical and mental strength. Typically, it takes three days to complete the pilgrimage. While Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims walk around the mountain in a clockwise direction, Jain and Bon followers undertake the journey counterclockwise.
According to Hindu legends, Mount Kailash is the abode of Shiva, the god of destruction and rebirth. Considered heaven and the ultimate destination of souls in many Hindu sects, Mount Kailash holds a central role as the holy center of the world. In the Puranas, it is described that Mount Kailash has four faces composed of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli, and is referred to as the pillar of the world, rising 84,000 leagues high. Four rivers flow from it, extending to the four quarters of the world and dividing the Earth into distinct regions.