Spread over an area of about 31,000 km2 the Kailash Sacred Landscape is an ecologically diverse, multi-cultural and fragile landscape. It is located in the remote southwestern portion of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, with parts falling in the far-west of Nepal and northeastern flank of Uttarakhand in northern India. This landscape has distinct biophysical features and historical and cultural significance, which are well documented (see www.icimod.org/ksl
). Across the three countries, the landscape is characterized by a fine network of religious places and sacred sites, high-altitude lakes, snow peaks and permafrost areas. Its network of religious sites spreads across the three countries sharing the landscape. Most important among these are Mount Kailash and lake Mansarovar (both within the Tibet Autonomous Region), which are the ultimate pilgrimage destinations for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and Bonpos. The landscape is also the origin and headwater of four of Asia’s major rivers: the Indus, Sutlej, Brahmaputra and Karnali. The Sutlej ultimately meets the Indus and Karnali, and through many other river systems, flows into Ganges. These rivers support the lives and livelihoods of a million people in the Kailash Sacred Landscape alone and have a great significance for ecosystems (rangelands, wetlands, and forests) and their interfaces, megahabitats, and biodiversity, while also safeguarding the cultural linkages and sustainable development of local populations.
From collection: The Himalayan Climate and Water Atlas