An agnostic in Kailash
Soon we entered the stark valley that surrounds the mountain and passed by Choku Gompa on a cliffside, remote and barely visible. Kailash now appeared in full splendour. I took a photograph of the peak through a solitary stone archway named Shershung. Around the peak were ranged high crags of black rock, so sheer they looked like ramparts upon which no ice could remain. In a few hours we passed the west face, stunningly close, appearing like an entity with arms stretched outwards, welcoming the world-weary pilgrim. We made our first camp soon afterwards, as pilgrims on ponies made their way in the distance. There was ice nearby, and we slept amid sounds of running water.