the third highest peak in Africa, reaching 4565 meters, Mount Meru is located in Tanzania, near Arusha, and 50 km from Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mount Meru also is found in Tibetan Buddhism, where it represents the center of the universe, and the single mindedness sought by adepts. In Tibetan Buddhism mythology Mount Meru is located beyond the physical plane of reality, in a perfect realm of transcendence. It is said to be thousands of miles in height, with its roots in hell and its summit in heaven. Mount Meru is surrounded by seven rings of golden mountains, each separated from the other by one of seven circular oceans. It is crowned by a golden palace wherein Indra, king of Hindu gods, resides. Symbolic representations of Mount Meru are commonly found in Tibetan mandalas.

Mount Kailash, a 22,028 foot striated pyramid shaped peak in a remote south-west corner of Tibet is the earthly manifestation of Mount Meru. Kailash is unusually symmetrical, distinctively marked and imposingly centred between two smaller peaks. The 6,714 metre peak is believed to be the actual home of Lord Shiva, and also the sacred seat of Adinath, the first of the Jains. On the south face of Kailash can be seen a swastika, a self-manifested mark that, until it was co-opted for propaganda reasons in the 20th century, was a universal symbol of prosperity, auspiciousness, and of rebirth.

The journey to Kailash or in Tibetan, Tiseh is an important pilgrimage for millions of Buddhists and Hindus in addition to the Jains and also to the Bonpos, followers of Tibet's pre-Buddhist religion, Bon. Walking the 54 km/32-mile kora {Tibetan for a circular path) is believed to erase negative karma and/or absolve sins. Bathing in the icy sapphire waters of Lake Manasarovar at the mountain's foot is said to remove the sins of innumerable lifetimes.

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