Mt. Kailash, Tibet

I just finished my first Kora (walk around) Mt. Kailash in Western Tibet.  The 52 km trek that crosses one pass at 18,600 ft has served as a spiritual quest for thousands of Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and the pre-Buddhist Bon Po of Tibet.

Serter, 39—Has been a porter on the Kailash since he was 9. He remembers when the glacier to his right reached the valley floor.

The Tibetan Plateau contains in its glaciers the largest amount of frozen water on earth outside of the North and South Poles and as such is known as the ‘Water Tower of Asia’ supplying nearly 1.5 billion people with their water.  Mt. Kailash lies at the center of an area that is key to the drainage systems of the Tibetan Plateau.

Pilgrim on the Kora around Mt. Kailash

I have wanted to get here for years.  It has always been a long difficult several day journey over bone rattling roads to reach Kailash.  The road from Lhasa is now partially paved and will be fully paved within a year.  There is also an Airport that just opened this year about 100 miles from the mountain.  The runway at 14,600 feet makes it the highest commercial airport in the world.  Certainly this new access will increase the number of people coming to Mt. Kailash in the future.

Tsering Omo, 45—Pilgrim at the pass

4 Responses to “Mt. Kailash Kora”

  1. Richard A. Heckler

    Dear Phil:
    I’m actually on the precipace of my first photo show, and want to both acknowledge and thank you for your work, and influence. Many of the photos in the show are from Tibet and my first kora, taken in ’07, just before the area was closed for awhile.
    I’m also transitioning from another profession – psychotherapy, back into photography.
    Your images, and the way you go about your work has struck a very chord, a deep resonance in terms of the clarity of your vision and the respect you have for each person that comes through in each portrait.
    Thank-you and I wish you many, many more creative and inspired years of imaging.

    • Phil Borges

      Thank you for the kind words Richard, I truly appreciate your sharing this with me. I wish you the best with your photography and your transition.

  2. Delpha Fridley

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    • Phil Borges

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts about the website with me. While I am not very prolific on my blog I hope to be able to continue to provide useful information about photography and other work I do. Your post is very much appreciated.


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