History of Kailash Mansarovar

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History of Kailash Mansarovar

The history of Kailash Mansarovar unfolds as an ancient tapestry woven with threads of spirituality, mythology, and legends. Nestled in the heart of the formidable Himalayan range, this sacred pilgrimage site has transcended religious boundaries, captivating the hearts and minds of believers across Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Bon, Sikhism, and beyond. Its significance, rooted in deep-seated mythologies and legends, has made Kailash Mansarovar a beacon of divine energy and spiritual exploration.

History of Kailash Mansarovar

A Pilgrimage Uniting Faiths

The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra stands as a testament to the enduring allure of this sacred site. Considered one of the most challenging Himalayan pilgrimages, it beckons pilgrims from various faiths, uniting them in a journey of self-discovery and spiritual awakening. The pilgrimage is a rite of passage, a transformative experience where the serene tranquility and purity of Kailash Parvat Temple leave an indelible mark on the pilgrims’ souls.

Sitting majestically at an elevation of 6,657 meters, Mount Kailash serves as the divine abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Its towering presence flanked by two high-altitude lakes, Rakshas Tal and Mansarovar, adds to the awe-inspiring panorama. The journey around this sacred peak, known as Kailash Parikrama, covers a distance of 53 kilometers, challenging the physical and spiritual resilience of those who embark on this sacred circumambulation.

Mythology Woven in the Fabric of Kailash

The Hindu mythology enveloping Mount Kailash is vast and profound, resonating through the Puranas and Vedas. Kailash Mansarovar is hailed as the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, surrounded by celestial beings – Devtas, Ganas, Yakshas, Yogis, Siddha Purushas, and Gandharvas. The Skanda Purana, a revered Hindu text, designates Kailash Parvat as the Supreme Mountain where Lord Shiva resides, earning it the names Kailash Mountain Shiva or Mount Kailash Shiva.

The unique shape and colossal stature of Kailash are symbolic of more than just physical grandeur. Described as the spiritual center of the Earth, Kailash is likened to the pillar of the world in Puranic scriptures. Its six mountain ranges are said to resemble a lotus, and four rivers – Sutlej, Brahmaputra, Karnali, and Indus – originating from Kailash are believed to divide the world into four parts.

The rock-cut temple Ellora in Maharashtra pays homage to Kailash, with its sculptures narrating stories of Shiva and Parvati, including the compelling tale of Ravana attempting to shake the mighty mountain. As the home of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, Kailash embodies the philosophical essence of Purusha and Prakriti, representing Shiva and Shakti. The summit, radiant and silvery, is hailed as the throne of Truth, Wisdom, and Bliss – Sachidanandam.

Mansarovar: A Lake Born of Divine Imagination

Lake Mansarovar, an integral part of the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage, holds its own mythical tales in Hindu traditions. According to one narrative, Lord Brahma conceived Mansarovar in his divine mind, naming it ‘Manasarovar’ – a Sanskrit amalgamation meaning ‘mind’ and ‘lake.’ The pristine waters of Mansarovar are believed to have unparalleled purity, and during the Manasa Sarovara Yatra, a sip of its water is said to cleanse one of sins accumulated over a hundred lifetimes, guiding the soul to the abode of Lord Shiva.

Another intriguing story in Hindu mythology suggests that Mansarovar originated when the hand of Sati, the consort of Lord Shiva, fell at the foot of Mount Kailash. This sacred lake is considered one of the 51 Shakitpeeths of Sati, adding to its reverence. As summer arrives and the snow melts, Mansarovar produces a sound believed to be Lord Shiva’s drum, and the blue waterlily, Neelkamal, blooms, gazing in the direction of Mount Kailash.

The Brahma Muhurta, the auspicious time between 3 to 5 in the morning, is considered a spiritually charged period. During this time, Lord Brahma and celestial beings descend to bathe in Mansarovar, enhancing its divine significance.

The Spiritual Tapestry of Mansarovar Unraveled:

Mansarovar is not merely a physical entity but a metaphysical reservoir, embodying purity and serenity. The name itself, ‘Manasarovar,’ suggests a lake born from the divine mind, where gods come to cleanse themselves during Brahma Muhurta. In Hindu beliefs, the lake’s limited presence is attributed to its unique aura, symbolizing the calmness of the lords’ minds, akin to tranquil water and resilient mountains.

Kailash Mansarovar: A Confluence of Religions

The sacredness of Kailash Mansarovar transcends the confines of Hinduism, embracing a spectrum of religions. The journey around Mount Kailash and the ritualistic dip in Mansarovar holds distinct significance for each faith.

Hinduism

Completing the Kailash Parvat circuit and immersing in the holy waters of Mansarovar is believed to secure a place in heaven. As depicted in the Mahabharata, the Pandava brothers undertook the arduous trek to Kailash in pursuit of salvation, viewing it as the gateway to heaven or Swarg Lok.

Jainism

Mansarovar Lake holds a revered place in Jainism as the birthplace of the first Tirthankara, Lord Rishabh Deva. It is a testament to the spiritual roots embedded in the landscape, making it a sacred space for Jain pilgrims.

Buddhism

Mount Kailash is referred to as Meru Parvat in Buddhist texts, associated with the conception of Lord Buddha. According to Buddhist teachings, Maya Devi, the birth mother of Buddha, took a dip in Mansarovar, leading to the conception of the enlightened being.

Bon Religion

In the Bon religion, Kailash is known as Zhangzhung, and its followers believe that the founder Tonpa Shenrab meditated and took a holy dip in Mansarovar during the initial visit to Tibet.

Sikhism

Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, along with the first ten Guru Devs, is believed to have performed intense meditation in the vicinity of Kailash Mansarovar. This adds a layer of Sikh spiritual significance to this sacred pilgrimage site.

Beyond Human Perception: Lesser-Known Facts

Kailash Mansarovar, in its ancient grandeur, conceals mysteries and lesser-known facts that deepen its mystical aura.

Prohibited Climbing

  • Climbing Mount Kailash is strictly prohibited, acknowledging its religious sanctity. Past attempts by British climbers faced adverse weather conditions, and subsequent beliefs linked their deaths to the perceived offense against the gods.

Axis of the Universe

  • Kailash is considered the axis of the universe, the center or pillar connecting Earth to heaven. It is also identified as the energy center of the Earth, radiating spiritual significance.

Yin and Yang Lakes

  • The two lakes, Mansarovar and Rakshas Tal, embody yin and yang shapes. Mansarovar was conceptualized in the minds of gods and later recreated on Earth, while Rakshas Tal is linked to the meditation of Raavan, a devoted follower of Shiva.

Accelerated Aging Process

  • Pilgrims have reported experiencing a quicker aging process in the Kailash Mansarovar region, with hair and nails growing at an accelerated rate.

Source of Holy Rivers

  • Apart from its religious importance, Kailash is a source of four major rivers in India – Ganga, Karnali, Brahmaputra, and Indus – symbolizing its role as a spiritual wellspring.

Four-Faced Mystery

  • The four-faced shape of Mount Kailash, resembling a human-chiseled pyramid, remains unexplained. Each side, composed of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli, carries its own symbolism, adding layers of mystery to this sacred peak.

Gauri Kund and Parvati Sarovar

  • The mystery surrounding Gauri Kund, where Goddess Parvati regained her son Lord Ganesh, adds to the spiritual intrigue. Splashing water from Gauri Kund is believed to purify the soul, receiving blessings from Goddess Parvati.

Om Parvat

  • Om Parvat, where the falling snow forms a prominent OM symbol, is considered a divine signature on the Himalayas. Paying respects at Om Parvat is deemed essential for completing the pilgrimage.

A Tapestry Beyond Perception

Regardless of one’s religious affiliation, Kailash Mansarovar remains a captivating destination that transcends human comprehension. Its profound significance, interwoven with mythology, legends, and lesser-known facts, establishes it as a spiritual nexus, inviting pilgrims on a journey of self-discovery and divine connection. Kailash Mansarovar is not merely a mountain; it is a timeless saga of spiritual grandeur, where the earthly meets the celestial, and the mortal connects with the divine.

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