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The Spiritual Mountain

Published on Tuesday 09 August 2011
 
 

When you visit a new country, it is important to respect local traditions in order to really enjoy your trip. A lot of times, it is simply a question of reading up on your destination before getting there in order not to offend ancestral traditions.

In Australia’s Northern Territory is a monolith known under two different names: Ayers Rock and Uluru. The first is the anglicized name dating back to 1873, and the second, the traditional native name. Even with the nomenclature of the monolith, you see cultural differences. Since 1993, the two names officially refer to the mountain.

Uluru is sacred for the aboriginal peoples of the region. For tourists, this signifies keeping their comportment in check. Two rules are especially important to follow: first, locals are asking visitors not to climb Uluru, for two specific reasons. The first one is because the path crosses a sacred traditional Dreamtime track, but also for security reasons, because many people have died in the climb (35, to be exact). The visitor guide gives this warning: “the climb is not prohibited, but we prefer that, as a guest on Anangu land, you will choose to respect our law and culture by not climbing.”

The second rule is to not photograph Uluru from certain angles. This is because certain sites on the monolith are of high spiritual importance. Two sites in particular, one of elderly women, and one for initiated men, cannot be photographed in order for the Anangu not to inadvertently find out about the opposite sex’s rituals.

But don’t worry: the site is very accessible to tourists! There are walking trails all around the monolith, and the sites where photographs are forbidden are well identified.  And the mountain climb is closed in times of great winds in order to protect those who would have otherwise wanted to climb.

There is an especially great (and north American!) way to enjoy this special location. Many organised groups meet at a designated spot at sundown in order to enjoy a glass of champagne and snacks while watching the sun go down! The sunset has an impressing effect on the monolith, which changes colours in a striking way in less than an hour.

 

 

Blogger : Béatrice B.Poulin

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Blog: The Spiritual Mountain

When you visit a new country, it is important to respect local traditions in order to really enjoy your trip. A lot of times, it is simply a question of reading up on your destination before getting there in order not to offend the (...)