Located at the eastern end of the Kora Shan mountain range in the Endless Wastes, the Caves of a Thousand Gods were one of the largest and most important religious sites of followers of the Path of Enlightenment, the major religion of most in Kara-Tur.
The caves' existence wasn't widely known, and it was considered hard to access. Its location was a closely guarded secret, with only a few priests of The Path knowing were it was. A secret group of guides, known as the Golden Porters, were responsible for bringing supplies, and the few travelers who didn't stumble upon the site by accident, to the caves.
The caves themselves were found at the bottom of a thin gorge, whose walls provided shade, and where a spring-drawn stream brought life to the otherwise dry and sandy landscape, turning it into an oasis of willows, vines, and reeds.
The true importance of the site wasn't the oasis however, but rather the caves the monks had carved into the rock. Each monk carved their own cave out of the limestone of the gorge's walls, and many centuries of this practice had resulted in the many caves being stacked on top of each other, as the monks had to climb ever higher to find space to carve their own cave.
Most of these caves were very simple, containing only a single room, though some had windows that overlooked the gorge, and some had small side rooms. Furniture was kept to a minimum, and most caves only contained a mat with a stone pillow, a cooking fire, and some jars to store food and water.
These caves served as both home and temple for the monks who lived there, with most of the space being used for meditation and prayer. Walls were painted with religious scenes, and religious statues were placed in back.
Mixed in with the caves were statues of the Celestial Emperor, and the various sages of The Path. A particularly large statue, over 50 feet (15 m) tall, of the Celestial Emperor in his lotus throne, was carved in the upper end of the gorge.
The caves of particularly great monks, and those monks who had achieved the level of sage, were turned into shrines to them after their deaths. Others were of such beauty that all monks used them. Others still were simply used as storerooms.
The gorge was inhabited by monks of The Path, who used the isolation and peacefulness of the location to quietly meditate and cleanse their mind, and to leave behind the lives and distractions they had on the outside, toward their path to enlightenment.
Due to their desire to be left alone, the monks had spread stories of their great power, and of terrible fates those who spied on them suffered. They also had placed various warning markers to scare off the superstitious nomads of the region, who believed the area was cursed.
Due to the secretive nature of the caves, those monks who found the site were believed to have been destined to do so, and were welcomed into the community. No distinction was made between male and female monks.
The monks were pacifistic, and believed that fighting would distract from their goal of reaching enlightenment. If invaded, they submitted to their attackers, and patiently waited for their time to begin again.
The monks grew food such as melons, peaches, millet, and oats, using small irrigation systems made from the stream.
Unlike most religious sites, the caves had no established leader, and they didn't meet for prayer or sermons. Each monk sought enlightenment in their own way, and all shared in things such as the working of the fields. Scrolls of information were freely available for all to study, copy, and make notes on, and food and outside goods were shared among all the monks.
The only rule the monks had was that any monk that came to the caves to study had to remain for the rest of their life. Those that broke this rule were hunted down and killed by the Golden Porters, to keep the caves' location a secret.