Top 10 Sacred Facts about Mount Kailash

This majestic mountain in Asia not only looks amazing but is also sacred for millions of people all around the world. This means that some special things happened here in history according to various religions.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most interesting facts about Mount Kailash, one of the most beautiful feats of nature in the world.

1. It’s located in a mountain range with the same name

Mount Kailash is a prominent peak located in the southwestern part of the Tibetan Plateau in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The mountain is also known as Kailasa and is referred to as Kangrinboqê Peak in Tibet.

The mountain stands 6,638 meters (21,778 feet) tall and is the most prominent feature of the Kailash Range, a mountain range also known as Kailas Range, Gangdisi Mountains, Gangdese Range, Gangdisê Range, or Gangdise Shan.

The Kailash Range is itself a subrange of the much larger Transhimalaya. This huge range with a length of approximately 1,600 kilometers (900 miles) runs parallel with the Himalayas to the south of the highest range on the planet.

Mount Kailash facts
A view of the majestic mountain / Jean-Marie Hullot / Wiki Commons

2. Two relatively large lakes are situated just south of the mountain

The mountain looks amazing because of its distinctive peak, a feature of Mount Kailash that can be seen from far away. This is especially true near the banks of Lake Manasarovar and Lake Rakshastal, two relatively large and amazing lakes located just south of the majestic peak.

Although it’s located just west of it, Lake Rakshastal isn’t considered to be sacred like Lake Manasarovar. The latter is fed by the glaciers originating from Mount Kailash which explains a lot.

Just like the mountain, Lake Manasarovar is considered to be sacred in 4 religions, including Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash
Lake Manasarovar with Mount Kailash in the distance / Jean-Marie Hullot / Wiki Commons

3. The sources of some of the longest rivers in Asia are just nearby

Apart from the specific events that presumably took place here which turned the mountain into a sacred spot, it’s also located in a specific location that adds to its importance.

4 of the longest most important rivers in Asia, including some of the longest in the world, originate just nearby. These are:

  • The Indus – 3,180 kilometers (1,980 miles) – An important river for several millennia.
  • The Sutlej – 1,450 kilometers (900 miles) – The longest of the 5 rivers in the Pubjab area in northern India.
  • The Brahmaputra – 3,969 kilometers (2,466 miles) – The 15th-longest river in the world.
  • The Ghaghara – 1,080 kilometers (670 miles) – An important tributary to the sacred Ganges River.
Mount Kailash river source
A river near the mountain / Ondřej Žváček / Wiki Commons

4. The mountain peak is sacred in Hindusim for a special reason

The mountain is one of the most important spots in Hinduism because it is believed to have been the place where Shiva, one of the principal gods of the religion, resided. He did so with his goddess Parvati and their children, Ganesha, and Kartikeya.

One of the ancient Hindu texts called the Vishnu Purana described the mountain as being made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli on all 4 sides. It was also considered to be one of the pillars that support the world and a major feature in one of the 6 mountain ranges that have the shape of a lotus flower.

Yes, Mount Kailash is quite a big deal for followers of the Hindu religion worldwide.

Mount Kailash shiva
Illustration of Shiva and his family residing at the mountain / Wiki Commons

5. It’s considered to be the center of the universe in Buddhism

If you think that the description in Hinduism is impressive then the Buddhist explanation as to why the mountain is considered to be sacred can stack up to that.

Mount Kailash is referred to in Buddhist texts as Mount Meru and its peak is considered to be the center of the Universe. This is similar to the description given to it by Hindus but in Buddhism, the peak is considered to be the center.

Another similarity is that it’s considered to be the home of the buddha Cakrasaṃvara, also referred to as “Demchok.” He represents supreme bliss in Buddhism, quite an important feature indeed.

Mount Kailash fun facts
The mountain in the sun / Heringf / Wiki Commons

More interesting facts about Mount Kailash

6. The Tibetan name of the mountain is “Gang Rinpoche.” This is a combination of the word “Gang” which means “Snow Peak,” and “Rinpoche” which means “Precious One.” The literal translation of the mountain’s name is, therefore, “Precious Snow Peak” or “Precious Snow Mountain.”

This isn’t the only local name for the mountain, though, because it’s also sometimes referred to as the “Tisé Mountain.” This translates to “Water Mountain,” a reference to its proximity of the sources of 4 major rivers in the area.

7. The mountain peak is made of Cenozoic rocks which are made of marine limestones. This means that these rocks were deposited in the southern part of the Asian continent before the Indian continent crashed into it.

8. It’s one of the few prominent peaks with an incredible north face that remain unclimbed until today. This is mainly because of its religious significance in various religions all around the world.

Despite the mountain being banned to climb, it remains questionable whether or not climbing the north face would be possible at all. This part of the mountain has an estimated height of 1,800 meters (6,000 feet) and looks pretty daunting.

Mount Kailash north face
The north face of the mountain / Ondřej Žváček / Wiki Commons

9. Apart from Hinduism and Buddhism, Mount Kailash is also considered to be sacred in both Janaism and Bön. The latter is a pre-Buddhist religion from Tibet which refers to the entire region of Kailash as the “nine-story Swastika Mountain.”

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion in which is believed that the first Tirthankara of Jainism named Rishabhadeva achieved “Moksha” on the mountain. Moksha is the liberation of the soul and the Jai version of Nirvana in Buddhism.

10. The strong religious elements of the mountain have turned the pilgrimage to Kailash into a very popular activity. There’s a path around the mountain that allows pilgrims to completely circumambulate the mountain.

This path has a length of 52 kilometers (32 miles) and although that sounds perfectly possible to complete in a day, this is a tough task due to the mountainous terrain and altitude. Fit people can complete the tour in about 15 hours on a good day.

One interesting fact about this path, both Buddhists and Hindus complete the trek in a clockwise direction while Jains and Bönpos complete it in a counterclockwise direction.

Mount Kailash Mani stones
Sacred stones along the Kailash path / Jean-Marie Hullot / Wiki Commons