The Parikarma, or circumambulation, of the natural shrines forms an important
part of the journey to Kailash and Manasarovar. The Shiva Purana says: 'There
is no sin in the world which cannot be destroyed by circumambulation. Hence
one should dispel all sins by circumambulation alone. The parikrama or circumambulation
of Kailash is a three - day trip, 53 kms long, and the most sacred for all yatris.
It is performed in a clockwise direction. Followers of Bon, The Pres - Buddhist
religion of Tibet, perform it anticlockwise. For the Buddhists, the parikrama
around Kailash is equivalent to going through a cycle of life and rebirth into
a new life. Performed around a central point, the parikrama is also a recognition
of the unifying force of the Divine that holds the cosmsos together. It is symbolic
of seeing a thing from every side, in its totality.
One parikrama of Kailash is said to erase the accumulated sins of a lifetime,
while 108 of these will ensure nirvana or liberation from the circle of life
The very undertaking of pilgrimage is propitious, for the word yatra means 'that
which protects the onward.
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