For past many years I had this wish of visiting all the five Kailash. It is said this gives you salvation. Frankly speaking I don’t think just visiting these Kailash can give you salvation, there’s lot more you’ll need to do. Getting salvation I feel is not so easy.
All the Five Kailash yatra are able to transfer trekker's physical journey into a spiritual experience, a journey in search of truth. The five Kailash Yatras is perhaps one of the most arduous calling pilgrimages. It entails long pilgrimages to five holy sites in upper reaches of Himalayas to seek the blessing of Lord Shiva who, as per the Hindu scriptures and legends, supposedly reside on the holy mountain peaks. Surrendering yourself through Bhakti lets you experience the oneness of "Jiva and Shiva", the union of jivatma with parmatma!
1. Shrikhand Mahadev or Shrikhand Kailash
When Bhasmasur got the boon from Lord Shiva that he can turn anyone into ash by placing his palm on anyone’s head, the Asura wanted to test if the boon really works by testing it on Lord Shiva. So Lord Shiva started running from this Asura. Finally Lord came to Shrikhand and sat down in meditation in the 50ft stone shivling till Lord Vishnu came and killed Bhasmasura by tricking him in putting his hand on his own head. Later Mata Parvati did long Akhanda Upasana to break his Samadhi, whereby she filled Nainsar Lake with her tears; Lord Shiva came out after breaking the shivling. Shrikhand Mahadev is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Its peak is 5155 meters high from main sea level. The journey passes through beautiful mist-laden forests filled with beautiful flowers and huge trees. Then the journey enters the difficult Himalayan terrain where you need to even cross few glaciers.
2. Kinnaur/Kinner Kailash
Located in the Kinnaur Valley of Himachal Pradesh, Mount Kinnaur Kailash is the holy abode of Lord Shiva. The trek is challenging and also rewarding spiritually. According to Hindu Mythology this is a very sacred place in the Indian Himalayas as it is associated with Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati. A natural pond/Kund near Kinnaur Kailash peak, known as Parvati Kund, is considered to be a creation of Goddess Parvati. She worshipped here for a long time. It is also the meeting place for Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati. Mythology states that Lord Shiva conducted a meeting of Goddesses and Gods at Kinnaur Kailash peak every winter.
There is something very interesting one can see here. I have now been to the peak four times. Every time I saw two birds perched atop the peak watching activities. At 6000mtrs, it’s indeed very intriguing to find them there. Locals feel they could be Lord and Mata Parvati keeping a watch on all devotees. You can feel the power and spiritual vibration near the peak, no wonder the peak never ever get covered in snow.
3. Manimahesh Kailash
Located 26 kilometers away from Bharmour in the Budhil Valley, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, is Manimahesh Kailash and at its base is Manimahesh Lake which is considered spiritually at same level as Mansarovar Lake. None has ever conquered this mountain, few tried but they never came back. The peak is mostly covered with clouds and is visible when you go there with complete surrender to Lord Shiva. According to the popular belief, it is believed that Lord Shiva created Manimahesh after he married Goddess Parvati, who is worshipped as Mata Girja. Lord Shiva is believed to reside in Manimahesh Kailash peak. A rock formation in the form of a Shivling on this mountain is considered as the manifestation of Lord Shiva. The snow field at the base of the mountain is called by the local people as Shiva’s Chaugan (play field). Lord Shiva is said to roam here with his consort Parvati.
4. Adi Kailash
Adi Kailash as popularly known as Chotta Kailash is in many ways replica of the better known Mt. Kailash in Tibet, especially in appearance. They both look lot similar. Adi Kailash is an ancient holy place and we get to hear of it in many scriptures. Adi-Kailash is in Indian Territory close to the Indo-Tibetan border full of nature, peace and serenity. Civilization tired by the incessant roar of urban life, will find here a healing quietude. Nearby lake called Parvati Tal catches the mesmerizing reflection of the peak.
Adi Kailash is an area of great natural beauty, peace and serenity. The route covers breathtaking land scapes and panoramas of the Kumaon Himalaya range. During the trek one gets an opportunity to view the snow cladded peaks of Annapurna, the gushing kali river, thick forests, water fall and wild flowers.
5. Mt Kailash, Tibet
Mt. Kailash is revered by four religions, Buddhist, Jainism, Hinduism, and Bon, as the most sacred mountain. This is the celestial abode of Lord Shiva. . It is attributed to the center of spiritual power, bliss, and liberation. It is the most sacred peak of Asia, Located in the far west corner of Tibet. The beauty of the peak, which looks like a symmetrical cone shaped ice, is echoed in various mythological and literary works. The surroundings include the beautiful Mansarovar Lake, which is world’s highest freshwater lake. Also known as Lake Manas Sarovar in Sanskrit and Mapham Yutso in Tibet, this huge lake mirror the image of snowcapped mountains in its crystal clear waters. The lake is located at the southern foot of Mount Kailash and considered very sacred.