Pilgrimage at Choku monastery, with Mt Kailash in the background. Tibet

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For most travellers to Far-West Tibet (Ngari) in Purang county, the prime focus of their journey is the sacred peak of Mount Kailash(6714 m)(Gang Ti Se). This extraordinary mountain is regarded as the `heart of the world`, the àxis mundi`,the centre of Asia, by Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and followers of other spiritual traditions. Of all the special destinations for the traveller to reach, Mount Kailash is surely one of the most sublime and sacred. Its geographical position as the watershed of South Asia is unique and it is this which gives it a cosmic geomantic power. From its slopes flow four great rivers in the four cardinal directions - the Senge Tsangpo སེང་གཙང་པོ་ (Indus River) north, the Yarlung Tsangpo ཡར་ཀླུངས་གཙང་པོ་ (Brahmaputra) east, Karnali south into the Ganges གང་ག་, and the Langchen Tsangpo གཙང་པོ་ ( Sutlej River) west.


Mount Kailash itself is known in the Tibetan language as Gang Ti-se and informally as Gang Rinpoche ("Precious Snow Mountain"), to the Bon as Yungdrung Gutsek ("Nine stacked Svastikas").


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Taken on September 18, 2011