Hiking the Trails of Mount Kailash, Tibet: A Spiritual Experience

Mount Kailash Pilgrimage

Mount Kailash, Tibet is part of the Gangdisê Mountain range. It is a sacred place for four religions: Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Bön, an ancient Tibetan religion. Hiking up the mountain itself to reach its summit is prohibited to keep it from being deconsecrated. This is Mack Prioleau, and one of my ultimate goals is to go on a pilgrimage to this sacred mountain.

The mountain goes by different names, depending on religion. For instance, Tibetan Buddhists call it the Precious Snow Mountain, while the Bön religious call it Mountain of Sea Water and also Water’s Flower. Regardless of its name, however, all four religions consider it sacred, and thousands of people from all over the world make the pilgrimage up its paths every year for spiritual cleansing, renewal, and awakening.

There is also a specific ritual for each religion when it comes to traversing the mountain’s sacred trails. For instance, Buddhists and Hindus walk the path in a clockwise direction, while Jains and Bönpos walk in a counterclockwise direction.

It is said that the energy in this place is so strong that you immediately feel its effects on your mind, body, and spirit the minute you arrive at the foot of the mountain to begin your pilgrimage.

A sacred ritual that dates back to thousands of years

Pilgrimage around the mystical mountain of Kailash is said to have started thousands of years ago. The path stretches to about 52 kilometers long, and pilgrims believe that the ritual should be completed in one day. While this is not an easy task, most of the pilgrims that visit the sacred place each year have managed to complete the hike in a single day. Those who are physically fit and have undergone months of conditioning can complete the trek in 15 hours, on average.

For some, accomplishing such a feat isn’t as easy because they have very specific rituals that make it harder to finish in one day. Some pilgrims bend forward, kneel, and then prostate on the ground. Then they get back up on their knees, pray, and then crawl on their hands and knees. The process is repeated every few steps. This ritual usually takes the individual 14 days to complete the pilgrimage.

For anyone who wishes to hike the mountain’s sacred paths, it is advised that you first undergo physical and mental conditioning as the mountain is located in a remote area and there aren’t any modern facilities or amenities nearby. While there are benches and kiosks that sell refreshments, you may find that these are few and far between so it’s best to be mentally and physically prepared for the pilgrimage.

I, for one, know that if I were to go there today, I wouldn’t be able to complete the entire path and might have to give up after a few miles. This is why I know that I should have at least several months of conditioning before I venture to the sacred mountain.

But I will go there for sure. Mount Kailash is on my bucket list now. What about you? Do you wish to go on this pilgrimage, too? Please share your thoughts with us! This is Mack Prioleau, and I’d like to thank you for taking time to read my post.