Meili Snow Mountain (Prince Snow Mountain)
Meili Snow Mountain is located at the junction of the Jinsha (golden sand), Lancang and Nu rivers(the junction itself is a world heritage site listed by UNESCO). Famous for its lofty and mysterious magnificence, Tibetans regard it as sacred and each year in autumn Tibetan pilgrims come from near and far to soak up the spiritual aura of the Mountain.
When you first set eyes on Mt. Kagebo's majestic silhouette and gaze up on the pyramid-shaped peak towering above the clouds, you can't escape feeling a sense of the divine. There is something mystical about the place, something sacred that makes you realize why of the 100 snow-capped peaks of Shangri-La the local people revere Mount Meili the most.
Tibetans believe that Mount Meili represents the mind emanation of the Lord Buddha, whereas Mount Khailash in Western Tibet represents the body and Ne Tsari in Central Tibet represents the speech. So, every fall countless pilgrims come from all over Tibet, Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu to circumambulate the mountain, imbibe its spiritual aura and pay homage to the mountain god for a period of no less than seven days.
The journey is hard and requires enormous discipline, but it's a pilgrimage every Tibetan should do at least once during his lifetime, as it allows him to free the soul of sin and samsara, and prepare himself for the ascend into paradise. The Year of the Water Goat in the Tibetan calendar C which fell on 2003 C attracted many pilgrims who were accompanied by goats on their way around the mountain and carried walking sticks, a peculiar sight.
As one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Tibet, Kawakarpo (or Kagebo Peak) tops the list of the Eight Holy Mountains. Legend has it that it is the incarnation of Kagebo, the patron god of the Gaju sect of Tibetan Buddhism, who became a Buddhist general and helped the local people to drive evil away. Statues of the god riding a white horse with a long sword in his hands are often enshrined on mountain altars and Buddhist scriptures reveal his exploits in colorful stories.
However, Mount Meili's fame lies not only in its religious significance. At 6,740 meters above sea level, it is the tallest mountain in the entire Yunnan province and has never been scaled, despite numerous attempts since 1902 by experienced English, Chinese and Japanese climbers. It's one of those rarities in today's global village, a virgin peak. Precipitous cliffs, frequent avalanches, thick fogs, dense clouds, heavy rain and sudden storms have so far kept mountaineers from reaching the top, and added greatly to its legendary mystery.
Mt Meili's Mingyong glacier is China's lowest and southernmost glacier at 2,700 meters above sea level and 28.5 degrees north of the equator. Liu told China's Xinhua News Agency that Mingyong's melting would create two kinds of crises for people living downstream from the glacier. As the rate of melting increased, farms and settlements would be damaged by flooding and mudslides/rockslides. After melting, the disappearance of the glacier would cause rivers to shrink dramatically and drought would ensue.