The mythological Mount Meru has long been identified with Mount Kailasa, which rises to almost 22,000 feet in western Tibet. It has always been a favorite pilgrimage spot for Hindus and Buddhists alike. Using the Mahabharat as his source, Alain Danielou (1964) writes, "this mountain is round like the morning sun and resembles a flame without smoke. It is 35,000 miles high and goes as far down in depth. It over-shadows the worlds above and below and across. All the birds on this mountain have beautiful feathers. This is why the bird Sumukha ("Beautiful Face,") a son of Suparna (Garuda), left the mountain in protest, for there was no difference between good, average and bad birds. The sun, the moon and Vayu (Lord of Wind) move ceaselessly around this mountain. Its gardens are filled with flowers and fruit. Everywhere can be seen shining palaces of gold. Hosts of gods, gandharva (celestial-musicians), asura (genies) and rakshasa (demons) play with heavenly apsaras (nymphs). The top of the Mount Meru is covered with forests. Its fragrant flowering trees and huge jambu trees resound with melodious voices of kinnaris (celestial singing girls)."
In this painting, the mountain and its environs are seen from above, abstracted as a mandala.