Mount Kailash is holy to two of the top four religions in the world, along with the Jain and Bon religions. Buddhists and Hindus circumambulate the mountain clockwise, and Jains and Bons counter-clockwise. Mount Kailash is located in Tibet, about 400 miles northwest of Mount Everest located between Tibet and Nepal.
Many who climb Mount Everest see it as a spiritual activity, and it is, but even more so are those circumambulating Mount Kailash. Thousands of devotees from India, Nepal, and Tibet travel to the mountain yearly to walk or prostrate around. Coming from other parts of the world, devotees will meet in Lhasa, the Holy City in Tibet, with those setting out to climb Mount Everest.
Devotees will spend a few days in Lhasa to acclimatize to the altitude. From there enjoy plenty of stark but beautiful scenery on a 900 mile 4-day car journey to reach the base of Mount Kailash at 16,400 feet. At that height there is a little over half the oxygen at sea level so strenuous exercise is difficult for those unaccustomed to the altitude.
The path around Mount Kailash is 32 miles and can be very cold. The hardiest of devotees accustomed to the altitude can make the walk in a single day. Circumambulating Mount Kailash is a spiritual activity said to bring about good fortune. Whether it does, I do not know, but if someone prostrates around the mountain it should. And get this, full body prostrations are fully approved by the architect of the human body, who says beginning each day with ninety-nine prostrations helps release obstructions for people. To release obstructions is certainly a positive step on the path to good fortune.
To stretch out on the ground in prostration every couple of steps around the mountain takes 2-3 weeks. Those who do that need to carry blankets and other provisions with them since they sleep alongside the path, Some of the faithful are with family or part of a group where the youngest or strongest carry the belongings of the weak or elderly. No matter how prostrations are performed, circumambulating the mountain seems like an impossible task. To me, it must take superhuman determination. I start each day with prostrations, but cannot conceive of prostrating 32 miles. After 15 minutes my breathing is hard and I need a pillow under tender knees, but there, the ground is hard, rocky, in certain places cold and icy, and brutal on the hands and knees.
It is a huge inspiration to me to know people accomplish such an amazing feat. When I think of their determination and devotion gives me strength. Every so often, I get mad at the feeble effort I put forth in perfecting the techniques, and frustrated in the slow progress, but when I think of all the tiny steps the faithful must tread around the Sacred Mountain, gives me hope. May good fortune and happiness come to all who walk or prostrate around Mount Kailash.
Since days of old, the substance to grasp for to live or cling to and not release is forever, and to become wise and illustrious grasp for strongly to get in for the strength to sustain, strength of determination is the action to be in the hands of the Lord.