Kailash and Mansarovar
by Deb Mukharji
Through millennia, Kailash and Manas have influenced and excited the imagination of the people of India, Nepal, Tibet and lands far away. Kailash has been identified over time with Meru, the mythical mountain, which was the center of the universe, the axis mundi round which the world revolved. It is the abode of Shiva, the lord of destruction who resides there with his consort Parvati. Kang Rinpoche and Tise to Buddhists and Bons, the crystal mountains is the abode of Heruka Chakrasamhara who, like Shiva, is adorned by the crescent moon. Rishavadeva, the first tirthankara, has been associated with Kailash by the Jains and many of the figures in Hindu and Buddhist mythology and history have paid their homage here. Manas, one of the four great mahasovar of mythology, and the only extant one, has had a deep spiritual influence on the minds of the people of the region. Hindus and Buddhists have considered Kailash and Manas to be the ultimate pilgrimage. 'Visions of the Infinite' weaves together the different strands of faith and mythology associated with Kailash and Manas underlines the enormous and multi-faceted influence which the region has wielded on lands and people near and far. It recounts the experience and observations of pilgrims and visitors over the centuries and some of the geographical controversies associated with the region. The text is accompanied by over two hundred photographs taken in a course of three visits in a span of twenty one years. Besides Kailash and Manas, they portray the journey from India and across Tibet from Nepal.