Saka Dawa Festival is one of the most important annual festival in Tibet. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 4th month in the Tibetan calendar on the day that Buddha Sakyamuni was born and also the day he attained Nirvana. During this period, the giant flagpole at Tarpoche is ritually taken down and its prayer flags are replaced. As the pole’s tip is raised and pointed east toward Gyangdrak monastery, monks of that monastery perform a special ritual. Music from long trumpets, conch shells, and other instruments welcome the rising flagpole.
Mount Kailash (6714 meters) dominates the entire region’s landscape. Known as the ultimate pilgrimage destination for Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon religions from around the world, Mount Kailash is regarded as a spiritual epicenter. Every year, thousands of devotees make the pilgrimage to the holy Mt. Kailash for spiritual purification and it is considered most auspicious to make a religious pilgrimage around its fifty-three kilometers circuit which is also known as Kailash Parikrama. Pilgrims perambulate clockwise around the mountain, the Kailash Kora. The region also includes the turquoise-blue, pristine high-altitude lakes of Mansarovar and Rakshesa. The four most sacred rivers of the Indian sub-continent begin here – Sutlej, Karnili, Brahmaputra and Indus. The end of these rivers is more than 2,000 kilometers apart, yet they all have their source within hundred kilometers of Mt. Kailash.
Buddhists have named Mount Kailash Ghang Rimpoche, meaning “precious jewel of snow” According to the legend it is the abode of Chakrasamvara and Guru Rinpoche – Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet and beyond. It is also venerated as the abode of one of the great Tibetan yogi – Milarepa.
In Tibet’s pre-Buddhist, Shamanic Bon religion, Mt Kailash is abode of Sky Goddess Sipaimen, and is considered to be in the form of a giant mandala. The founder of Bon Religion, Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche is believed to live on Mt Kailash, Bonpo pilgrims walk counter-clockwise around Mt Kailash.
Hindus pay reverence to Mount Kailash as a throne of Lord Shiva, the great Tirtha.
Jains refer to Mount Kailash as Mt. Asthapada and believe that their religious founder, Rishavdev, attained Nirvana there.