At the highest point in the circumnambulation of Mount Kailash, Tibetan pilgrims gather at the sacred rock of Phawang Megar on the Drolma La pass, lifting the heavy lines of banners printed with sacred texts to walk under them and acquire merit. The 22,028-foot Mount Kailas is Asia's most sacred mountain, the axis mundi representing the mythical Mount Meru, throne of the gods (and in particular Shiva) and the center of the universe. Pilgrims have journeyed here for more than a thousand years, to make a ritual circumambulation (parikrama) of the snow-capped rock pyramid, but it was first seen by westerners only in the 18th century. It is sacred to four religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Jain and Bönpo (the pre-Buddhist Tibetan faith) — and from May to September pilgrims make the difficult journey through western Tibet to the mountain.
Photo ID: 15298_35_KailashPilgrim
Author: Michael Freeman
File state: Final
Property Release: Yes
Photo size: 21.7 Mpixels (62.1 MB uncompressed) - 5692x3815 pixels (18.9x12.7 in / 48.2x32.3 cm at 300 ppi)