Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar

Mt. Kailash (6,714m) is the holiest mountain in Tibet. The grandeur of Mt. Kailash can be rivaled by a very few mountain in the world. Situated in the far corner of the Tibetan plateau, this legendary snow capped jewel is revered by the different religions (Hinduism, Jainism & Bonpo) as one of the most sacred and challenging pilgrimages in the world. Four of the orient's greatest rivers, the Brahmaputra, the Sutlej, the Indus and the Karnali originate from and around the Mt. Kailash. At the base of the mountain are two vast Lakes, Manasarovar & Rakas Tal.

For the Hindus, Mt. Kailash is regarded as the earthly manifestation of Mt. Meru, a spiritual centre of the universe, which is described in the Hindu mythology as a fantastic pillar of 84,000 miles around which everything revolves with its root to the lowest hell and summit touching the heaven. Mt. Kailash is itself an abode of Lord Shiva, lord of the universe, who shares this magnificent mountain with his wife Parvati. At the base is the sacred Lake Manasarovar, where a bath offers pilgrims an access to Brahma's (Hindu God for Creation) paradise and drink of its holy water wipes out the sins of hundred lifetimes. Jains, a religious group in India with many similarities with Buddhism, Mt. Kailash is taken as the holy pilgrimage where their first prophet achieved enlightenment.

For Tibetans, Mt. Kailash is known as Ghang Rimpoche (Jewel of the Snow) of Tise (Tibetan name) like the Hindus, recognize Mt. Kailash as the manifestation of Mt. Meru, the navel of the world rising just like the handle of a mill - stone into the heavens. Milareppa, a poet - saint of Tibet is believed to have spent several years meditating in a cave in this holy mountain is the site where its founder, Shranrab is believed to have descended from heaven. However, it is interesting to know that the Bon people circumambulance the holy Mountain in an anti-clockwise manner just opposite to the Hindu & Buddhists.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Zhangmu (2,300m) - Nyalam (3,7500m) (6-7 hrs)
Drive to Zhangmu (border town of Tibet). After necessary border formalities at Nepal / Chinese immigrations. Drive to Nyalam. Over night at Guest house.

Day 2: Nyalam
Stay at Nyalam for acclimatization. The day group will be taken for 3-4 hrs short trek around Nyalam as a preparation for the Kailash Yatra. Over night at Guest house.

Day 3: Nyalam - Saga (4,600m) (6-7 hrs)
Drive about 240km to Saga and along the way pass the huge Lake called Peiku-tso. We cross two high passes, before leaving the Friendship Highway and we then head west towards Saga. Overnight at Guest house.

Day 4: Saga - Paryang (4,750m) (6-7 hrs)
A day's drive of about 255km, takes us from Saga across the vast dry plains to the small town of Paryang. Overnight at Guest house.

Day 5: Paryang - Lake Manasarovar (4560m) - Darchen (4,600m) (7-8 hrs)
Beyond Paryang, there are Several river crossings to negotiate before we see our first view of Mt. Kailash from Horr Chu Pass. We then arrive at the beautiful Lake, Manasarovar, just 30km south of Mt Kailash. It is separated from another Lake, Rakshas Tal, by a narrow strip of land and the two Lakes are linked by a small channel. On the rare occasions when water flows in this channel, it is said to be a good sign for the Tibetan people. Leaving the Lake, drive for about 35 km towards Mt Kailash and Darchen. This is the starting point for our kora, the 53km trek around the mountain. Overnight at Guest house.

Day 6: Darchen - Diraphuk (4,860m) (5-6 hrs)
Drive further to Darboche (13 km) and start our Kora (Parikrama). Walk up the Lha Chu valley through beautiful green meadows and streams with Mt. Kailash towering above us. We follow the river which enters a narrow canyon with high, steep cliffs and spectacular waterfalls. Continuing up the valley, the north face of Kailash comes into view before we reach the 13th century monastery at Dirapuk. Overnight at Guest house.

Day 7: Diraphuk - Zutul Puk (4,790m) (9-10 hrs)
Climb through the moraine to a meadow at 5,210m. And then past rock cairns to emerge at Dolma La at 5,630m. Descend via Gaurikuna (Lake) to the La Chukkir valley at 5,150m, where you should look out for the foot prints which pilgrims believe that belonged to the Lord Buddha. Descend further along a long & gentle path to Zutul Puk Compa (4,790m), where there is a cave in which the saint Milarepa is said to have meditated. Overnight at Guest house.

Day 8: Zutul Puk - Darchen - Lake Manasarovar (4,560m) (7-8 hrs)
On the final day of the kora, we cross several streams and follow an impressive gorge. Along the way, we are once again treated to magnificent views of Mt. Kailash. We, then enter the Bharka plain and it's about an hour walk through this desert-like landscape to Darchen. Then continue drive to Lake Manasarovar. Overnight at Guest house.

Day 9: Manasarovar - Paryang (4,750m) (6-7 hrs)
After breakfast we start to drive back towards the Paryang. Overnight at Guest house.

Day 10: Paryang - Saga (4,600m) (6-7 hrs)
After breakfast continue drive back to Saga. Overnight at Guest house.

Day 11: Saga - Nyalam (3,750m) (6-7 hrs)
Scenic drive through the Tibetan countryside past Paiku Tso Lake & small village plus Lalung Pass (5,050m) from where one can enjoy lifetime view of Mt. Xishapagma & Mt. Cho Oyu (weather permitting) and then descend the plateau through the winding mountainous road. Overnight at hotel.

Day 12: Nyalam - Zhangmu (2,300m) - Kathmandu (6-7 hrs)
Scenic drive descending the Tibetan plateau with fascinating views of formation of the Tibetan Plateau with cascades & canyons - at Zhangmu (border town of China Tibet) and Tato Pani ( Nepalese border town), undergo necessary border formalities at Chinese / Nepali immigrations - scenic drive to Kathmandu through the lush green landscape of Nepal. Transfer to your hotel.

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Dr. Deborah Akers, Professor

Peace Land Travel is a wonderful travel agency. We have used their service for over 9 year and would never think of going to anyone else! Most highly recommended!!

Miami Tibetan Studies Abroad Progarm
Dept. of Anthropology
Miami University