As the main peak of the Gandise Mountains, Mount Kailash is the most famous holy mountain (Bonri Mountain and Himalayas are also holy mountains in Tibet) in Asian history. With 4 distinct sides, the gigantic pyramid has a round cap covered in eternal snow and ice.
At an elevation of 6,656 meters above the sea level, Mt. Kailash gives life to 4 grand rivers: Shiquan River, known as Indus River in the lower reaches; Maquan River, the origin of Yarlung Tsangpo River; Xiangquan River, known as Sutlej in the lower reaches; Kongqu River, the origin of the Ganges River.
Mount Kailash gained the status of holy mountain well over 2,000 years ago. It still commands great reverence from Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Bon religion and Jainism. Circling the mountain is the way most pilgrims show their utmost respect to the mountain. Every year, pilgrims from India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Chinese regions where the Tibetan people live will form a continuous line around the mountain.
It is said that 1 trip around the holy mountain will wipe away all the sins of one’s current lifetime; 108 revolutions will remove the sins of all one's lifetimes and bring salvation from reincarnation. Alternatively, pilgrims who complete one circulation of Kailash and bath in the frigid waters of Lake Manasarovar will also bring salvation.
No pilgrims climb Mt. Kailash. All 4 religions believe that it would be a serious act of sacrilege to set foot on its slopes. Legend has it that the only person to have reached the summit is the Buddhist champion Milarepa and that all others who have ventured to defy the taboo have died in the process.