The Inner and Outer Paths of Mt. Kailash: Pilgimage to the Abode of Chakrasamvara
Author: Wolfgang Wollmer
Mt. Kailash in the far west of Tibet is one of the holiest mountains in the world, adored by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bonpo. During the last two decades, also Westerners set out for this remote region. Improved infrastructure let their number - and that of Indian pilgrims - severely increase. Besides Mt. Kailash, there are other goals for pilgrims and tourists: Lake Manasarovar, Tirthapuri and the historical Guge kingdom, and the sources of the four major rivers Brahmaputra, Karnali, Sutlej and Indus. After several Mt. Kailash pilgrimages in the years 2002 - 2013, the author describes the whole region in detail and the recent trend to develop it as a center of tourism, coming along with the improved accessibility on paved roads. As with other holy mountains, there are several paths for the circumambulation, the Kora of Mt. Kailash. Those who performed it 12 times, are entitled for the "Inner" Kora. In the horse year of the Tibetan calendar, this condition is fulfilled already by a single Kora. The horse year 2014 will therefore see large numbers of visitors, pilgrims and trekking tourists, from many countries. The "Inner" Kora is a path leading directly into the south face of Mt. Kailash. It never leads around the holy mountain itself, but goes around Mt. Nandi, an outlier of Mt. Kailash. The author describes the "Inner" Kora, but also a real Inner Kora of Mt. Kailash: he redetected paths a long time forgotten and succeeded in exploring new ones. The exceptional views of the holy mountain on these paths and their astonishing resemblance with the iconography of the deity residing in the mountain are explained and demon- strated with graphic representations by the artist August Ohm. ABOUT the AUTHOR: The author, Dr. Wolfgang Wollmer, born in 1947, spent his professional life as a medical physicist. His interest in Buddhism started in 1998, and he studied Buddhist philosophy for seven years in the Tibetan Center in Hamburg, Germany. He performed his first Mt. Kailash pilgrimage in 2002, the horse year of the Tibetan calendar; others followed in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2013. For these tours he planned various routes and special paths to explore the whole region. As the so-called "Inner" Kailash Kora does not lead around the holy mountain, but the outlier Mt. Nandi, he explored new paths and re-discovered forgotten ones in order to establish a real Inner Kora of Mt. Kailash, the Kailash Nangkor, described in this book.