Tirthapuri is one of the famous places that you can visit during your Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Tirthapuri is a holy Buddhist monastery. Even Hindus consider Tirthapuri one of the most sacred places as it is connected to a famous demon and Lord Shiva. You can make a plan to tour Tirthapuri during your Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Tirthapuri is a very accessible place and it falls on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route so you can contact your tour operator and check out whether they have included Tirthapuri in their travel itinerary of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
Altitude of Tirthapuri
Tirthapuri is located at an altitude of 4310 m above sea level.
Location of Tirthapuri
Tirthapuri is in an area of Tibet known as Ngari Prefecture. It is located around 70 km to the west of Darchen and is on the banks of the Sutlej River. Tourists normally visit Tirthapuri after they have done their Kailash Mansarovar Yatra and have done the Kailash Kora. They generally want to relax their feet after all the walking and there is nothing better than the hot springs at Tirthapuri to relax them. This is the reason why they visit Tirthapuri after they have completed their Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
The old route to Mount Kailash
Tirthapuri is one of the places which fall on the old route to Mount Kailash. In ancient times, monks took the route through Tirthapuri and went on the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake.
Tirthapuri hot springs
Tirthapuri is famous for its hot springs. The hot springs come from a very deep place under the earth and are naturally occurring hot springs. These hot springs have tremendous medicinal value and they can cure physical ailments. Tourists can be seen bathing and taking a dip in the hot springs. The hot springs are boiling water whose temperature is very hot. There are limestone terraces that surround the hot springs. The white limestone color in contrast to the reddish and brownish hues of the mountains gives a visual appeal to Tirthapuri.
There are many caves in Tirthapuri which were once the places of meditation for Tibetan monks. Vajravarahi Cave is of great spiritual importance as it is in Tirthapuri Monastery. The monastery is the place where Guru Rinpoche meditated along with the female spiritual master Yeshe Tsogyel. Their footprints are still preserved even after many centuries. Guru Rinpoche is also known as Padmasambhava and was one of the greatest Tantrik Buddhist masters of his time who propagated Vajrayana Buddhism. There are sacred stones here that are placed in a circular formation. These stones are said to be the symbols of gods who danced here in a circle when Guru Rinpoche was enshrined in the monastery. Even the great tantric teacher Milarepa visited this monastery.
A circumambulation of Tirthapuri is also called Tirthapuri Parikrama. A Parikrama is also called ‘Kora’ in the Tibetan language. Tourists go around the hill of Tirthapuri in this Kora. Tirthapuri kora takes about an hour. Tourists pass through many interesting places on the path. All around, there is breathtaking scenery of the Tibetan plateau and you can even have a glimpse of Mount Kailash in the distance. Tirthapuri Kora is of great spiritual significance. 13 Kora of Tirthapuri is equal to 1 Kailash Kora. Tourists pass through Tirthapuri Monastery and several caves when they pass this route. Tirthapuri Kora starts from Tirthapuri hot springs and ends at a point known as the cremation point. Here you will find yak skulls, bones, rags of clothing, and prayer flags fluttering in the wind. Further, on this route, you will find healing stones, which have to be dug out from the earth.
The legend of Bhasmasur Parvat
Tirthapuri is also the place where you will find Bhasmasur Parvat. This mountain is named after the demon called Bhasmasur who appeared in Hindu mythology. The story about this mountain is interesting in itself. Bhasmasur was a demon who undertook a hard penance to please Lord Shiva. Shiva was very pleased with his worship and meditation and asked him to ask for a boon. Bhasmasur said to give him the boon of immortality. Shiva refused that he couldn’t grant the boon. After that, Bhasmasur asked Lord Shiva to grant him such power that when he would place his hand on anyone’s head, they would immediately burn to death.
Lord Shiva granted him the boon. Bhasmasur tried to test the power of Lord Shiva himself. Lord Shiva was frightened and ran to Lord Vishnu and pleaded to help him. Lord Vishnu took the form of a beautiful enchantress called Mohini. Mohini entertained Bhasmasur by singing melodious songs and performing seductive dances. Mohini who then took advantage lured Bhasmasur and told Bhasmasur to prove his love for her by placing his hand over his head. Bhasmasur did so and immediately was burned to death due to his powers. The entire event took place at the place where Bhasmasur Parvat now stands near Tirthapuri.
Karma testing hole
There are many amazing places near Tirthapuri Monastery such as the Karma Testing Hole. This is a hole, from where tourists have to draw stones. Legends are famous about this hole. It is believed that this hole examines one’s karma (deeds and actions). If a person draws two white stones, then he has done good karma. If they draw one white and one black stone, then they should improve their karma. But if they draw two black stones, then they have done bad karma or wrong deeds. According to legends, god himself created this hole to let humans check their level of karma.
How to reach Tirthapuri
Tourists normally can reach Tirthapuri via cab drive from Mount Kailash. They can also take a jeep or helicopter service to reach Tirthapuri. Tirthapuri is included in the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra tour package.