Himachal Pradesh (5,653 m) – Home of Lord Shiva
Manimahesh Kailash is one of the greatest mountains in India and among the most sacred mountains in the Hindu tradition. According to some legends, Manimahesh Kailash is one of the homes of Lord Shiva, one of the chief Hindu deities. This tradition is strong in particular because the mountain has yet to be successfully scaled.
The mountain has been a sacred place since prehistoric times. According to legend, Manimahesh Kailash was created by Shiva after his marriage to the goddess Parvati. By some accounts he has since made the mountain his home at times. On the side of the mountain is a great rock formation that is believed by many to be a Shivling, a manifestation of the deity Shiva.
Despite several attempts, Manimahesh Kailash has never been successfully scaled, though some undocumented claims have been made. According to local tradition it cannot be climbed except by those who are truly worthy. One legendary story suggests that a local shepherd attempted to climb the mountain but was turned to stone by Shiva for his presumption.
While Manimahesh Kailesh is part of the Himayas, thanks to its location near the southern edge of the range it is reasonably close to civilization. Every year thousands of pilgrims visit the mountain and the nearby lake which is considered similarly sacred, especially during the month of Bhadon. Kailesh is relatively accessible compared to other major Himalayan peaks, with the closest major city, Palampur, only 25 miles or so to the south. It is close to the northern border of Himachal Pradesh, a little under 300 miles north of New Delhi.
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