Places of Spiritual Importance
Pashupatinath Temple is a Hindu temple located in Kathmandu, Nepal, near the Bagmati River. It is the largest temple in the world and is dedicated to Lord Pashupati or Pashupatinath, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be one of the oldest and most revered temples in the world, with a long history of religious significance.
It is classified as a World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most famous religious spots in Nepal. The temple has a long history, countless myths, and a heavy religious significance, attracting numerous Hindu pilgrims. The complex is spread out on a vast expanse of land and contains several structures, including a two-storied pagoda-style temple, and two interior rooms where the Pashupatinath idol is placed. The temple also features a bronze statue of Nandi bull, the sacred vehicle or vahana of Shiva. According to beliefs, those who die in this temple are reborn as a human, regardless of any misconduct that could worsen their karma.
The temple complex is open only to Hindus; non-Hindus must satisfy themselves by observing from the terraces just across the Bagmati River to the east. Leather items are not allowed inside the temple complex as a mark of reverence and tradition. The main temple of Pashupatinath was left untouched by the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 2015 while other parts of the complex were badly damaged. During the Maha Shivaratri festival, almost 1 million devotees from all over the world visit Pashupatinath every year.
Yam Dwar, also known as Yama Dwar, is a gateway situated at an altitude of approximately 15,500 feet, and it is located 15 kilometers away from Darchen, a village in Tibet. It is the starting point for the parikrama tour around Mount Kailash, which is considered the home of Lord Shiva in Hindu mythology. According to Hinduism, Yama is the lord of death, and it is believed that one leaves their mortal being at the “door of the god of death” to embrace the sanctity that Mount Kailash is associated with. Yam Dwar is also known as the “Gateway of the God of Death.” It is the first point of circumambulation of Mount Kailash, and it has a prominent position in Hinduism.
Lake Mansarovar is a freshwater lake located in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, and is considered to be one of the most sacred lakes in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Bon. It is believed that taking a dip in the lake or drinking its water can cleanse a person’s sins. Lake Mansarovar is round in shape with a circumference of 88 km and has a maximum depth of 90 m. It covers an area of 320 km² and is linked to the nearby Lake Rakshastal by the natural Ganga Chhu channel. The lake is situated at the foot of Mount Kailash and is associated with significant religious importance. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage that attracts thousands of pilgrims from all over the world. The lake is surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Himalayas to the south. The spiritual and religious importance of the lake is reflected in its various names, such as Manas Sarovar in Sanskrit, Matri Tso in Bon, Mapham Yumtso in Tibetan Buddhism, Yaochi Lake and Mapang Yongcuo in Chinese, and Lake Mansarovar in English.
Mount Kailash is a sacred mountain located in the Kailash Range, Transhimalaya in Tibet, with an elevation of 21,778 ft. It is considered one of the most sacred mountains in the world and is revered by four Asian religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Bon. Mount Kailash is believed to be the earthly manifestation of Mount Sumeru, the spiritual center of the universe.
In Hinduism, Kailash is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, the destroyer of evil, and the center of the world. Lord Shiva is considered as the master of the material world, and Parvati Devi is his consort who administers the material world as Durga Devi on His behalf. According to the Ramayana, Ravana once tried to uproot Mount Kailash but failed when Shiva pressed his right big toe upon the mountain. The mountain is also associated with many other mythical and religious beliefs.
Outer Kora Parikrama
Mount Kailash is a sacred mountain located in Tibet. The Kailash parikrama or kora is a religious pilgrimage route that circumnavigates the mountain. It is a 52 km long trek that takes three days to complete on foot, pony, or domestic yak. The Kailash parikrama is considered a holy pilgrimage site for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Bonpo. The path around Mount Kailash begins and ends at Darchen, at an elevation of 4,670 m (15,320 ft). The trek includes crossing the Dolma La pass (5,645m), which is the highest pass to cross during the Kailash Parikrama. The route has both an inner and outer parikrama route, with the inner route being 52 km long, of which 10 km can be done by driving, and the outer parikrama route being 42 km long and done entirely on foot. The best time to undertake the Kailash parikrama is between late May to early September, as other months can be cold or have ice on the walking path.