Monday, February 10, 2014

Mount Kinabalu: Spiritual peak of Borneo


Before Christianity and Islam became the dominant religions of the island of Borneo, Animist beliefs dictated that when a person died, their spirit rose to the peak of Mount Kinabalu.

At 4,095 meters above sea level, it's one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia.

Today, UNESCO-listed Mount Kinabalu National Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state of Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo, with visitors forced to book two to three months in advance to secure one of 196 daily allocated hiking permits.

Though Sabah is developing at pace, villagers living at the foothills of Mount Kinabalu continue to perform Animist rituals to appease spirits residing at the cloud-ringed peak so no harm comes to those who scale it.

The above images were taken on the rock-strewn 8.7-kilometer trail to the summit with Evan Conrad, a guide who first climbed Mount Kinabalu 20 years ago.

"I've climbed the mountains maybe 100 times," Conrad said.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Mount Kinabalu: Spiritual peak of Borneo
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