The word Ashtapad in English means Eight Steps. Ashtapad is one of the holiest Jain shrines as it is believed to be the site where Rishabhdeva- the first Jain Tirthankara attained Moksha (Liberation). The place is named so to inform the existence of an array of eight mountain peaks and also because the eight giant steps might lead to the temple.
Looking at the south face of Mt. Kailash, you can see a spine-like structure that is said to be the eight steps (Ashtapad).
Ashtapad is located at an altitude of 4900m near Mount Kailash in Tibet. One needs to do the inner parikrama (kora) of Mount Kailash to reach Ashtapad. It is said that Asthapad is a sensitive area and visiting this holy place may be very risky.
According to Jain scriptures, Ashtapada is the place where the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabadeva, attained Salvation, after which his son, popularly known as Chakravarti King Bharat, built a palace of crystals and gemstones with the intention of treating it as a memorial to his father's nirvana.
Ashtapad Darshan was allowed until 2013. In 2013 after a large stone fell on a car and led to the death of several pilgrims. After 2013 going to Ashtapad has been banned by the Chinese Authority for the safety and security of the Bhole Bhakts.
Some companies claim that they take the pilgrims to Ashtapad Darshan. After taking the booking these companies either deny at the last moment or they try to misguide the yatries by taking them somewhere else and claiming it to be Ashtapad and making money out of it. When we go for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, we must ensure that we are ethically right and are following the Law of Land.
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