Posted on 03/23/2008

Photo taken on May 13, 2004

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Western Tibet

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On the way around the Kailash

On the way around the Kailash
This holy rock shows the remain of the touch of hundredthousands pilgrims

Some pilgrims believe that the entire walk around Kailash should be made in a single day. This is not easy. A person in good shape walking fast would take perhaps 15 hours to complete the 54 km trek. Some of the devout do accomplish this feat, little daunted by the uneven terrain, altitude sickness and harsh conditions faced in the process. Indeed, other pilgrims venture a much more demanding regimen, performing body-length prostrations over the entire length of the circumambulation: The pilgrim bends down, kneels, prostrates full-length, makes a mark with his fingers, rises to his knees, prays, and then crawls forward on hands and knees to the mark made by his/her fingers before repeating the process. It requires at least four days of physical endurance to perform the circumambulation while following this regimen. The mountain is located in a particularly remote and inhospitable area of the Tibetan Himalayas. A few modern amenities, such as benches, resting places and refreshment kiosks, exist to aid the pilgrims in their devotions. According to all religions that revere the mountain, setting foot on its slopes is a dire sin. It is claimed that many people who ventured to defy the taboo have died in the process.