Roof of the world suggest not only Tibet’s greatest altitude but also the isolation, which has contributed to the creation of its unique culture. It’s lofty perch high above the hurly-burly of the lowlands has shaped its other-worldly attitudes and discouraged even hardy colonists from establishing a foothold.
At an average elevation of 5000m (15,000)ft above sea level, a vast high desert plateau hemmed by the two rages of the world’s highest mountains, the principal geographic determinants which have shaped the Tibetans are those of the desert. Austerity, pragmatism, tenacity, independence, piety, diligence, cohesive families, xenophobia, occasional fierceness, taciturnity and shyness are the qualities and values, which have resulted.
Geographically Tibet can be divided into three parts; the East, the South and the North. The Eastern part is forest region, which occupies around 25% of Tibet. The Southern part is open grassland occupying almost a half of Tibet. The Southern and Central region is an agricultural region occupying the rest of Tibet as well as containing all the major cities Lhasa, Gyantse, Shigatse, Gantse, and Tsedang. This area is also considered as the cultural center of Tibet and Buddhism.
To the world’s Hindus and Buddhists, Mt Kailash the high, remote western borderland of Tibet is the center of the universe, the holiest of holy. It definitely looks the part, rising like lone apparitions form the windswept alpine grassland that encircles it on all sides. On its immaculate white 22,000-foot summit legend says, the Worlds of Humankind and Gods meet.
Pilgrims come from as far away as the tropical plains of southern India and beyond to walk the ancient, shrine studded pilgrims’ trails that circle the base of the holy-peak. Following in their footsteps, walking alongside are rugged Nomads, Hindu holy men and jewel-adorned aristocrats on horseback, it is easy to believe, as they do, that a single pilgrimage around Kailash burns away a thousand years of ignorance and bad karma. Breathing that rarefied air, eyes filled with brilliant rock, snow and sky, passing a veritable Canterbury Tales-worth of medieval style fellow travelers, magic seems logical, the power of the place undeniable. Before or after completing the circuit, the group will visit the beautiful greenish-blue Color Lake Manasarovar, also considered to be very sacred.