How old is Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash?

How old is Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash?



How old is Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash?

Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar have a lot of significance in Hinduism. Devout Hindus believe Mount Kailash to be the heavenly abode of Lord Shiva where he sits in meditation. It is also believed that he resides there with his divine consort Devi Parvati. If you want to understand the age of Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, you have to gain a little knowledge about the ancient scriptures of India.

The Vedas and Kailash Mansarovar

The Vedas are a large body of texts that have their origin in the Indian subcontinent. Hindus believe that the Vedas were not born from humans, but super-humans. They are the oldest scriptures in the country and they are written in Vedic Sanskrit. Both Lake Mansarovar and Mount Kailash have been mentioned in the Vedas more than one time. Mount Kailash has been referred to as ‘Kelas’ as well as ‘Himavanto’ in the Vedas. It has also been referred to as Mount Meru, the name that is still prevalent for Mount Kailash among the Tibetan people. The Upanishads, which is part of the Vedas, also mentions Uma as the daughter of Himavat. Uma is also believed to be the same as Devi Parvati and she is said to be the daughter of Himalayas. As can be clearly seen, the Vedas contain references to Mount Kailash in plenty. Considering that the Vedas are said to have been composed between 1700 B.C. and 300 B.C., it can be said with confidence that Mount Kailash is at least 3,500 years old.

The Skanda Purana and Kailash Mansarovar

The Skanda Purana is another ancient Hindu scripture which mentions Mount Kailash as the Supreme Mountain where Lord Shiva lives. Lake Mansarovar gets a mention too as the Supreme Holy Lake where Lord Indra and Lord Shiva swam as swans. Swans have special significance in Hindu mythology as they are considered to be a sacred bird. Mount Kailash also gets referred here as Kailash Parvat. The Skanda Purana also mentions that Mount Kailash should be visited by people at least once in their lifetimes. The Skanda Purana is named after Skanda, who is the son of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati. This very ancient Shiva-related Purana is believed to have existed by 6th century B.C. and so it can be said that Kailash Parvat existed at least 2,700 years ago.

Srimad Bhagavata Purana and Mansarovar

This is another ancient Indian scripture which mentions Mansarovar. It actually mentions Panch Sarovar or Five Lakes, of which the Mansarovar is one.

Birth in the mind of Brahma?

The Lake Mansarovar is believed by Hindu devotees to have first taken shape in the mind of Lord Brahma. He is the Creator of anything and everything though in Hindu religion, he is rarely worshipped. It is believed that only after Brahma thought about Mansarovar was it physically manifested on earth. That is why it was called the ‘’Manasarovaram’’ which consists of two words: ‘’manas’’ which means mind and ‘’sarovaram’’ which means lake.

Why is it so difficult to put an exact age on Kailash Mansarovar?

If you have read till now, you will have an idea about why it is so difficult to put an exact age on Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar. The Indian subcontinent is very old and the ancient Indian scriptures that hail from the subcontinent are very old too. Wars, foreign invasions and natural calamities have been responsible for destroying a lot of the ancient texts that were written down and so it is very difficult to put an exact age on most of them. That is why determining the exact age of any of the locations mentioned in these ancient texts is almost impossible. The problem gets compounded because of the very nature of the Vedas and Puranas. Most of these texts were written down much later than they were conceptualized. While some of them were written down through ‘’Shruti’’ or hearing, many of them were written down from ‘’Smriti’’ or memory. This means that generations may have passed before they were converted to written words. This again indicates that they may have been conceptualized centuries ago than the actual texts. That is why Hindus believe that both Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar are a lot older than what ancient scriptures make them out to be.

Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar make up one of the holiest pilgrimages for not just Hindus, but is an important destination for Jains and Buddhists as well. In ancient times, only a few people ventured into this land because of its inaccessibility. Now that many private tour operators have entered the arena, it is easier than ever to make the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in spite of the toughness of the mountainous terrain and the harshness of the climate. 

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