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Mt Kailash/ Lake Mansarover

Mt. Kailash lies at the center of an area that is the key to the drainage system of the Tibetan plateau, and from which issues four of the great rivers of the Indian subcontinent: the Karnali, which feeds into the Ganges( south ), the Indus( north ), the Sutlej ( west ) and the Brahmaputra ( Yarlung Tsangpo, east ).

Mt Kailash, at 6714m, is not the mightiest of the mountains in the region but, with its hulking shape - like the handle of a millstone, according to Tibetans - and its year-long snow-capped peak, it stands apart from the pack. The mountain is known in Tibetan as Kang Rinpoche, or "Precious Jewel of Snow".

Kailash has long been an object of worship for four major religions. For the Hindus, it is the domain of Shiva, the Destroyer and Transformer. To the Buddhist faithful, Kailash is the abode of Demchok, a wrathful manifestation of Sakyamuni thought to be an equivalent of Hinduism's Shiva. The Jains of India also revere the mountain as the site at which the first of their saints was emancipated. And in the ancient Bon religion of Tibet, Kailash was the sacred nine storey Swastika Mountain, upon which the Bonpo founder Shenrab alighted from heaven.


About 30km to the south of Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar ( 4560m ), or Maphamyumtso (Victorious Lake) in Tibetan, is the most venerated of Tibet's many lakes, and one of the most beautiful. It was said that the waters of Manasarovar are "like pearls" and that to drink of them erases the "sins of a hundred lifetimes".