I have told you some
things to explain the tirtha to you - but that is not enough. There
are many things connected with such places which can't be understood
- but they do happen. Such things cannot be intellectually clarified
or made into mathematical formulas, but they do happen.
I will tell you of two or three things that happen.... If you sit somewhere alone in meditation, you are unlikely to feel aware of the presence of the few souls who may be around you. But in a tirtha, such an experience can be very powerful. It may become so deep sometimes that you feel your own presence less than that of the others.
For example, Kailash has been a holy place for Hindus as well as for Tibetan Buddhists. But Kailash is absolutely desolate, it has no houses and no human population - no worshipers, no priests.... But whoever sits in meditation in Kailash will find it fully inhabited. From the moment you reach Kailash, if you are capable of going into meditation you will say that is inhabited by many souls, and wonderful ones too. But if you go there and cannot meditate, then Kailash is empty for you.
The word tirtha means a sort of jumping board from where one can take a dive into the infinite ocean. The Jaina word tirthankara means a creator of a tirtha, of a place of pilgrimage. A person can only be called a tirthankara if he has charged an area into which ordinary people can enter, open themselves up and begin their inner search. Jainas call them not incarnations but tirthankaras. A tirthankara is a greater phenomenon than an incarnation, because if the divine enters a human form it is good, but if a man makes a place for others to enter the divine, it is a far higher event.(Osho - Hidden Mysteries)