Tarchin 40--Kailash Kora

The Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and Bonpo regard the sacred Mount Kailash as the heart of the world.  One full circumambulation around the thirty-two mile trail around the mountain is said to erase the sins of a lifetime.  Pilgrims on this kora will leave cherished personal items behind like a piece of clothing, a braid of hair or even a tooth to symbolize their death and rebirth.  While on the journey they contemplate the nature of impermanence by taking time to imagine their own deaths.   In actuality the Kailash Kora claims a few lives every year.  While it took me three days to complete the full kora many Tibetans are able to do it in a day.

Pilgrims on Dolma La Pass--Kailash Kora

At 18,500 feet the Drolma La Pass is the highest point on the Kailash Kora and is known as the “hill of salvation.”  The pass offers every pilgrim the possibility to be cleansed of all previous sins and a transition from their old life to a new one. 

Pilgrims on Dolma La Pass--Kailash Kora

6 Responses to “Sins of a Lifetime”

  1. Richard Heckler

    Congratulations on the book. I’ve purchased it and its powerful..a joy to see Tibet again, and a heartache to see how much has changed in four years (for me). Also, how wonderful to see Drolma La again. It’s hard photographing after summiting the pass…very well done.

    A technical question – feel free not to answer if its proprietary info. In your close-in portraits, it looks like you shoot wide open as best you can; are you using a mid-prime for those shots? 35mm, 50mm? & a ND to stay so wide open?

    Thanks again,

    • Phil Borges

      Hey, thanks for the positive feedback on the book Richard! Very much appreciated. I’m always happy to share my methods, none of it is a secret. My favorite lens is a 24-70mm but I do a lot with 24mm and 35mm primes. Many outdoor shots I am shooting with a polorizer at f4 to f5.6. It falls off in the background because I am very close to the subject. I am currently shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II.

  2. sandra shrubb

    just bought your book tibet culture on the edge. i was about to buy another book and stopped in mid sentence when my eye saw your book, the cover hit me and that was that. i have still not managed to go to tibet, yet. i saw a photo of the potala when i was 12 and knew i needed to go there. i was in ladakh last year and met the most amazing people. it appears that ladakh too is a culture on the edge. thank you for such a moving insight into the tibetan people.

    • Phil Borges

      Thank you Sandra – I am glad you made it to Ladakh and I hope you make it to Tibet soon. It’s changed so much since my first trip but still very much worthwhile going there.


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