There are so many sacred places in Tibet, some are historic sites and others are mythological sites. Whatever there are, you can always perceive the evidence of those events. Most interesting thing is that every huge mountain, river, and lake has ancient names with stunning stories. However, some are just folk tales. Many places are significantly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. There are hundreds of sacred mountains, rivers, and lakes all over the Tibetan region.
Mount Kailash is located in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. It is also known as Gang Rinpoche in Tibetan which means “The Precious Jewel of Snow”. As the morphology of the mountain plays an important role in defining the mountain as sacred; The shape of Mount Kailash is a perfect dome covered with snow. The height of the mountain is 6,638 m above sea level. It is the source of four major rivers which flow in four cardinal directions, at south Karnali and Ganges river, at north Indus river, at west Sutlej river and east Brahmaputra river or Tsangpo.
It is surrounded by a vast plateau that stands alone. In summer, the landscape of the mountain and its surroundings are breathtakingly beautiful and peaceful.
Why is Mount Kailash a sacred mountain?
Mount Kailash is the most revered pilgrim center for four different religions like Hindus, Jains, Tibetan Buddhists, and Bon religion.
Hindus believe that Mount Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi. They worship the sacred mountain by the pilgrimage to the base of the mountain for once lifetime.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that it is the manifestation of Mount Meru and the spiritual center of the universe. It is the navel of the world; around which everything revolves. Tibetan Buddhists do circumambulate around the mountain, which they believe increases their merit by completing the full circumambulate or kora. The kora or full circumambulate is a 32-mile hike. The highest point of the mountain accessible to humans is at over 19,500 feet.
Jains believe that their first prophet achieved enlightenment at Mount Kailash. The Bon followers believe that the founder of their religion descended here from heaven. They also do circumambulate around the mountain in an anti-clockwise direction.
Every year, there are thousands of visitors pay homage to the sacred mountain. It is one of the busiest sites in Tibet.
Kawa Karpo mountain is located in Dechen county of Yunnan Province. It is one of the highest mountains in Yunnan Province with an altitude of 6,000 meters above sea level. Kawa Karpo is a sacred mountain for Buddhists and Hindus. It has many mythical stories but most believe it to be the spiritual resting place for the God of warriors. Some believe that it was a place where the Buddhist deity Khorlo Demchok defeated Lord Shiva in an epic battle.
Anyhow the Kawa Karpo Mountian attracts thousands of devotees and tourists every year. The beauty of the mountain and its surroundings are astonishing. There are so many holy sites to explore the mountain. There are few monasteries built at the foothill of Kawa Karpo.
Minya Gongkar Mountain
Minya Gongkar mountain is also known as Mount Gongga and it is situated in the southern part of Kangding in Sichuan Province. It is the highest mountain in Sichuan Province with an altitude of 7,556 m above sea level. Minya Gongkar is one of the sacred mountains in the Kham region. Minya is a name of a small town in eastern Tibet and Gongkar means white snow mountain.
It is deemed to be the holy mountain by the Tibetan Buddhists. They believe that Minya Gongkar is the physical manifestation of Dorje Lutru which is a mountain god or deity. At the foothill of the mountain, there is a beautiful monastery known as Minya Gongkar monastery. Every year so many believers and non-believers visit Minya Gongkar for pilgrimage and trekking. In the last decade, many mountaineers had died by trying to climb but only a few had achieved it.
Amnye Machen Mountain
The Amnye Mache Mountain is located in the northwest of Machen County, Golok Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, China. is traditionally it is situated in Amdo, Tibet. It is the highest mountain in Qinghai Province and the mountain range has around thirteen mountain peaks, the highest one is elevated about 6282 meters above sea level. These high mountains are covered in snow throughout the seasons. The Amnye means a grandfather in the Amdo dialect of Tibetan and the Machen means the large scar.
Amnye Machen Mountain
According to the Amnye Machen history, the Amnye Machen is the place where the legendary King Gesar, known for his prowess in war and magical powers, spent the majority of his life. Tibetan legend also describes an ancient feud between the mountain god Amnye Machen and a mountain god named Nyenbo Yurtse.
Intent on marrying Amnye Machen’s daughter, Nyenbo Yurtse secretly snatched Amnye Machen’s daughter away, without obtaining Amnye Machen’s permission. A battle ensued between the two mountain gods, in which Nyenbo Yotse slashed Amnye Machen’s forehead with his knife. Thus, this sacred site, and the mountain god resident within it, was named Amnye Machen – ‘any’ means ‘grandfather’ and is a respectful term for an elderly man. ‘Machen’ means ‘large scar,’ so named because Amnye Machen received a large scar on his forehead at the hands of Nyenbo Yurtse’s knife. It is one of the most sacred deities in the Amdo area.
Every year many tourists and pilgrims come to circumambulate the entire mountain range. It takes around one week to complete full circumambulate around the mountain by walking. The tourist must need the local guide to trek around the mountain as there is no clear path and it is easy to get lost. These days sometimes you have to walk through the national highway and also through rough roads too.
There are some famous places around the mountain like Dhardu Thang which is located west of the mountain. Historically it was placed where King Gesar used to pray for the deity Macha Puma by offering Sung in Tibetan which is known as burning of incenses. There is a huge place displaying prayer flags all around it. Just near Dhardu Thang, there is a private vocational school known as Amnye Machen vocational School with around 200 students from different parts of Tibetan regions. The school is run by Lama from the Dzogchen monastery. Not far from the school there is Guru Monastery with few monks as most of them are tantric practitioners. The Amnye Machen mountain gate is located just near the school.