Mt. Kailash claimed to be the apex of the Hindu religious axis is also one of the highest mountain in Tibet at 22,022 feet, and Lake Mansarovar at 14,950 feet is said to be the highest fresh water lake in the world. Certainly a difficult region to reach due to the variable and extreme weather conditions. The distance from Lhasa for example is approximately 2000 km.
Only during the last few years have lots of ordinary and not so ordinary travelers, been able to experience this region. Road conditions are difficult much of the time and we have to make many preparations to ensure that we have a reasonable chance of reaching Kailash. We need to bring our own food and camping equipment. Basic lodges and tea-houses can be found but the plateau is so remote that it is possible to travel for several days without finding food available.
To travel for days on this remote plateau with the chance encounters of nomads herding their sheep or yaks is to be transformed into another way of life, to see and become part of such a devout pilgrimage as shown by pilgrims around Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansarovar is to put some aspects of our western way of life into proper perspective.
We begin the tour by traveling to Kathmandu and departing by road to the Nepal/Tibet border town of Zhangmu where we collect our Transport. We travel by the SOUTHERN route and after our pilgrimage (religious or secular) we return by the same route.
Note: Onarrival get your Nepal visa (USD25).
On arrival we will pick you up and transfer you to the Hotel. Leisure time fororation walk around city O/N at Hotelwith twin sharing room on B/B basis.
An early departure (around 6am - after breakfast) starts our yatrato Kailash from Kathmandu. The trip will take us through the valleys ofDhulikhel, Sunkosi River and Bhotekosi River, passing through lush greencountryside, over dramatic cliffs and through numerous smaller villages andtowns. We will be at the Nepal-Tibet border by noon. Here we will stop forlunch and the guides will process the immigration paperwork. After crossing theborder we drive for another 2 hours and spend the rest of the day acclimatizingat 3800m in Nyalam.
We will spend the day acclimatizing in Nyalam with easy hikes into the hillsnearby and by walking in and around the local town. This helps a lot to makethe body fit for the rest of driving days.
Past Nyalam the road climbs up to La Lung (5050m) then drops down beforeheading to the western part of Tibet. From this point you will see stunningviews of the Himalayas and chain valleys, as well as some of the highest peaks(8000m) including Shisha Pangma (8012m). You will see the grazing lands of yaksand sheep, the traditional villages and Bhramaputra River are also highlightson the long driving day. By late afternoon we will arrive in the town of NewZhongba.
By late afternoon the drive through green pastures and massive valleys yield tothe first sighting of Mount Kailash and blue waters of Lake Manasarovar. Wewill drive around the lake. Lake Manasarovar is considered the holiest of allof Tibet's many lakes. According to Hindu and Buddhist cosmology, the fourgreat rivers of the Indian sub-continent (the Brahmaputra, Sutlej, Ganges(Karnali), and Indus) all flow from its shores. This day offers a wonderfulopportunity to visit the great lake and take in the spectacular views of Mt.Gurula Mandhata (7694m) to the south and Kailash (6638m) to the north. Fromthere we will visit the Trugo monastery before heading to the Chiu monasteryfor an overnight stay. A short acclimatization hike to Chiu Monastery willallow the body to adjust further, and also help see the beauty of this smallworship-place.
In the morning, the tour staff will set up private bathing tent on the shoresof Lake Manasarovar for the traditional sacred bath most pilgrims performbefore Parikrama (walking around) of the holy mountain. Once cleansed, you canperform the Fire Ceremony with Mantra Chants as you wish. After lunch we willbe head north towards Darchen, a small town with all the basic facilities andconsidered the base of Holy Mountain. If you wish your driver will be happy toplan a trip to either the amazing Tirthapuri (Hot Springs) on the way toDarchen or visit Austapad once you are there in Darchen. (Please note thatdriving to Trithapuri and Austapad is not included with your guide. Generallyit they do collect small fee from each guest).
Our first day of trekking around Holy Kailash begins at Tarbuche. As we makeour way along the route we pass numerous chortens (stupas) as well as the skyburial site of the 84 Mahasiddas. We will walk through the Yama Dvaar – theGate of the God of Death to start the Parikrama. We will also take in wonderfulviews of cascading creeks, streaming waterfalls and the mighty west face ofKailash. We will pass the Chukku monastery and arrive at the Derapuk monasteryabout 5 hours later (depending on walking speed), where we will stay in thepilgrims' lodge. A short hike to see theawe inspiring north face of the great Kailash. Extra - Personal helpers andhorse for a backup support is recommended to have on trekking/parikarma days.
The hardest day of the pilgrimage is also the holiest. We will cross Shivasthali- a rocky expanse dotted with stone cairns draped with the clothes left asofferings by pilgrims who have come before us. Further hiking ascents up toDolma-La pass (5640m) and a marvelous sight of Gaurikunda. After a short breakat the top of the pass to put prayer flags, we will head down the steep trailto our eventual campsite at Zuthul puk monastery (4790m), site of the cave ofmiracles where the greatest Tibetan yogi Milarerpa meditated and developed thepowers of flying. Along the way we will be having wonderful sights of highpeaks, streams, waterfalls and mountain caves.
The hardest day of the pilgrimage is also the holiest. We will crossShivasthali - a rocky expanse dotted with stone cairns draped with the clothesleft as offerings by pilgrims who have come before us. Further hiking ascentsup to Dolma-La pass (5640m) and a marvelous sight of Gaurikunda. After a shortbreak at the top of the pass to put prayer flags, we will head down the steeptrail to our eventual campsite at Zuthul puk monastery (4790m), site of thecave of miracles where the greatest Tibetan yogi Milarerpa meditated anddeveloped the powers of flying. Along the way we will be having wonderfulsights of high peaks, streams, waterfalls and mountain caves.
We will rush back towards Kathmandu, on the same great road, after living inlow-oxygen levels for so many days. We will stay overnight in the famous townof Saga where all the upgraded hotels, restaurants and shops are available tomake yourself refresh.
Wedrive through deep gorges, quickly changing from the browns and yellows ofTibet, to the lush greens of the lower slopes of the Himalayas. Waterfalls seem to fall from the clouds intothe racing streams deep in the valleys.We overnight in Zhangmu
FRIENDSHIP BRIDGE This morning, we officially leave theFriendship Highway (2000m) and cross the border into Nepal. Change your Yuan back to US$’s or NepaleseRupees on the road here. Ensure that the Chinese stamp your passporton exit from Tibet!!!! We are met byour friendly local representative and we start our drive back to Kathmandu. We stop in a small village for lunch, thencontinue on to Kathmandu.