The most famous pilgrimage for Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and the followers of Bön is the circumambulation around Mount Kailash (Tib. Kang Rimpoche) in Western Tibet. This strenuous journey is a desired goal to be achieved once in a lifetime. It has been seen as the centre of the universe for thousands of years and in the Buddhist tradition as the holy abode of Vajradhara, the tantric manifestation of the Buddha, depicted here on top of the mountain.
He is flanked by Avalokiteshvara, the patron deity of Tibet, and by Green Tara, the female manifestation of all the Buddha’s active compassion.
Guru Rimpoche, the 8th century Indian tantric master sits in the clouds above the lake Rakastal, while Milarepa, the 11th century Tibetan yogi resides above the lake Manasarovar.
The pilgrimage consists of an outer and an inner circumambulation (Tib. Kora). The inner one can only be attempted after 13 outer ones (each takes 2-3 days) have been completed. It is said that the inner sacred circle is protected by the local deities. Every 12 years according to the astrological charts on the day of Sakyadawa (Buddha’s enlightenment day) circumambulations are most auspicious and one can proceed to the inner sanctuary after 3 rounds only.
© Andy Weber 2020