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Chomolhari, Tibet


Jomolhari (Dzongkha) or Qomo Lhari, Chomolhari (Chinese: 绰莫拉日峰, etc.), sometimes known as “the bride of Kangchenjunga”, is a mountain in the Himalayas. Chomolhari straddles the border between Yadong County of Tibet and the Paro district of Bhutan. The north face rises over 2,700 metres (8,900 ft) above the barren plains. The mountain is the source of the Paro Chu (Paro River), which flows from the south and also the Amo Chu, which flows from the north.

Sacred Mountain

The mountain is sacred to Tibetan Buddhists who believe it is the abode of one of the Five Tsheringma Sisters (jo mo the ring mched lnga) — female protector goddesses (Jomo) of Tibet and Bhutan, who were bound under oath by Guru Padmasambhava to protect the land, the Buddhist faith and the local people. On the Bhutanese side, there is a Jomolhari Temple, located towards the mountain’s south side, about half a day’s journey from the army outpost between Thangthangkha and Jangothang at an altitude of 4150 meters.

Religious practitioners and pilgrims visiting Mt. Jomolhari stay at this temple. Nearby the temple are several other sacred sites, including the meditation caves of Milarepa and Gyalwa Lorepa. Within an hour’s walk up from the temple at an altitude of c. 4450 meters is Tseringma Lhatso, the “spirit lake” of Tsheringma.

Tibet has an annual pilgrimage from Phari Dzong to the holy lake called Jomo Lharang at c. 5100 m just north of the mountain. Despite its location, Chomolhari has only been climbed three times.

Tang La

I took this photograph from the Tang La plateau at around 14,500 ft on the Tibetan side in September 1987. I had walked most of the way from Gyantse. An account of this journey is included in Divine Highways, available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon:


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