Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Kailashes

My next Kailash adventure starts in about 7 weeks, but I got a taste of what this iteration will offer in conversation today with a Nepali postdoc who has been leading preliminary research in the field. Among the places she recently visited was Kailash - a different one, this one in Far Western Nepal. It's at the lower left of this image, and resides in a small white temple on a hillside near giant trees. (We swooped in with Google Earth to retrace her journey there! You can too - start at Kolti, in Far West Nepal, and then seek out 29˚32’09.24” N / 81˚38’53.51” E.) The temple, like all temples in this area, is empty - no statue or ornamentation; the god possesses some of the pilgrims who bring it sacrifices. (This, incidentally, is apparently the only Kailash in Nepal who accepts blood sacrifices.) Tallikoti's Kailash mandu is surrounded by other gods, "ministers" nearer by and others at greater distance, each in their own small, ancient site, and has been a place of power for Nepalis for a long time - government leaders come here for blessing, and before them the kings and queens who led Nepal. A nearby spring offers Mansarovar water. When asked if he'd like to go to the more famous Mount Kailash in Western Tibet, the priest apparently replied: why?

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