The walk around the holy mountain Kailash

I am lying almost totally awake in my bed. Soon the alarm should come! How many weeks did I wait for this day! I read in so many books about this holy mountain. It is holy for the Buddhist, for the Bon, the Hindus and the follower of the Jainism. It is a duty for all Buddhist living in Tibet to visit this holy of the holiest places and to walk around. This walk around is also called Kora and happens clockwise (for the Bon its counter clockwise).

In the holy text of the Buddhist and in the Hindu Sanskrit exists a holy mountain called Meru – the center of the world. There are four rivers going from this mountain in different directions. The swastika symbol also comes from this mountains and you can find it everywhere in Tibet, but it has nothing in common with the swastika from the third Reich (its mirrored anyways). The Mt. Kailash is the mountain who fits to the description of the Meru because four rivers are having their sources close by: the Indus, the Sutley, the Brahmaputra and the Karnali. For this reason this mountain is holy.

After these long days of preparing the China transit and the Kailash Kora this day finally came to present! I have respect for the hike. There are 52 kilometers in front of me. Darchen, the start of the Kora lays on 4600m and is the lowest point of the hike. I pack at 8:30 in the morning my backpack on my shoulders and start walking. The others of our group are having too much respect for the hike and the altitude that they take a bus which saves them six of 21 kilometers of the first stage. For me it is very important to do the walk around completely. Even if the risk increases that I don’t make it.

Der Start der Pilgerwanderung
The beginning of the pilgrimage
Blick in die weiten des tibetischen Hochlandes
View towards the Tibetan plateau.

I see on my first kilometers the effect of the mountains to its pilgrims. Some of them doing the walk around while putting every two steps the arms to a prayer and the laying down of the ground. With these throw downs they do 52 KM in around 17 days but it is equal to doing 13 times the Kora in a row. Only after this they can do the inner Kora and can come the mountain a little bit closer.

I for myself didn’t see the mountain yet. When we arrived the day before the mountain was in deep clouds. These clouds are still hanging around the mountain today. I need more than 1,5 hours for the first six km. Even without ascending too much, there is a lack of oxygen which makes me breath heavily and walk slow. The other guys from my group arrive with me in the first village. I almost took a wrong road and went to the air funeral places. It is something very special in Tibet when you do the air funeral. They cut the body of the death person in pieces and bring it to the air funeral place where birds, dogs and insects doesn’t leave anything from something which once have been a human.

Der Luftbestattungsort oben auf den Felsen
The air funeral place up there at the rock

I am getting curious about the monastery Choku which is located close to the route. To go there I have to climb a little hill. I feel the about 100 meter ascending at every part of my body. My mouth is snapping for air, my throat is dry. But all the work was worth it. The monastery lies on a mountain slope close to the pilgrim’s road. The pilgrims even walk around the monastery. I pass them and walk into the monastery. I can smell the smoke sticks. The room is decorated with different colors. There is a lightly smoke inside. The wall is covered with paintings and in the middle of the room is a shrine with lots of Buddha figures. A monk is blowing into a horn. I’ve got goose bumps…

I am having a sweet tea with yak milk after this nice experience. After that I went back to the path when I decided to do a picture of the monastery and parts of the Kailash. Hmm there is an old lady squatting next to the road. After she left I realized that she just took a shit. Different world.

Das Kloster Choku. Im Hintergrund ziehen langsam die Wolken vom Kailash
The Choku monastery. In the background the clouds ar moving from the Kailash


Gebetsfahnen säumen den Weg
Prayers flag at the way

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