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Nepal: Walking the Silent Path

In all of Nepal, Mount Kailash has been identified as one of the three most sacred places on Earth. Located in western Tibet, pilgrims have traveled here for nearly 15,000 years, believing their karma will be greatly enhanced by walking or crawling around the 52-kilometer perimeter of the mountain. Seeing holy visions is also not uncommon. This pilgrimage -- also referred to as a kora -- takes place in altitudes as high as 5,600 meters (over 18,000 feet).

The Tibetan people have named this nearly 21,000 foot peak, "Kang Rinpoche", or snow jewel, while the Hindus refer to it as "Mount Meru" -- where they believe that lord Shiva, one of the three main Hindu gods, resides here. Buddhist, Hindu and Jain and Bon pilgrims from all over the world travel to this holy mountain to walk "the silent path" and search for a higher meaning. Legend has it that doing a walk around the mountain can wash away a lifetimes worth of sins.

The Jains who refer to Mount Kailash as Mount Ashtapada believe the founder of their faith, Rishabanatha, resides atop the mountain. And the Bons, whose religion predates Buddhism in Tibet, believe that the entire region is a mystical place. Mount Kailash is also the source of Nepal's four major rivers: the Indus, the Brahamputra, the Karnali and the Sutlej. Most visitors get to Mount Kailash by flying to Lhasa, Chengdu or Kathmandu, and then making a long, slow voyage by truck or 4-wheel drive to Darchen -- the small town at the foot of the mountain. The best times to go are usually in June, July and September.

Check the travel link for points of contact on reputable tour companies who can arrange your passage to Mount Kailash.

Mount Kailash -- one of the few places on earth where so many different religions converge to get closer to their God.


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