China (6,638 m) – Home to Shiva in Hinduism and Demchok in Tantric Buddhism
Mount Kailash in southwestern China is one of the great peaks of the Tibetan plateau, and one of the holiest mountains in all of Asia. Located near the borders of India and Nepal, the region of the mountain is the source of the Indus River as well as a major tributary of the Ganges River. The exact origin of the name is uncertain, but a common interpretation is that it means “River Peak”.
Kailash has played a part in Asian legends since prehistoric times. Early residents held that the mountain was the source of the world’s spiritual power. Later, Hindus held to be the home of Lord Shiva, one of the greatest of Hindu deities. Demchok, a Buddha representing extreme bliss, was also thought to make the mountain his home. Clearly Kailash was a source of great religious importance and a common geographic religious factor in ancient times.
Mount Kailash is remote, even compared to Everest and the other great peaks of the Tibetan plateau. Kathmandu in Nepal is over two hundred miles away to the south, while Lhasa in China is nearly four hundred miles away to the east. Because of this Kailash is extremely inaccessible, and to date has never been climbed. Nevertheless, temples and shrines of several faiths can be found on and around the mountain.