Pilgrimage to Mount Kailash & Lake Manasarovar, are considered to be the most sacred by Hindus, Buddhists, Jains & Bonpos. Mt. Kailash is known as Khang Rinpoche “Jewel of Snow” by Tibetans, they consider it as the “Naval of the world”. For Buddhists, Mt. Kailash is the “Abode of Arhats” (those who have attained paradise). Bonpos consider, Shanrab their founder, descended from the heavens on this mountain. The Hindus consider Mt. Kailash as the “Center of the universe” & the abode of Lord Shiva & Parvati. South of Mt. Kailash, at the base of Mt. Gurla Mandhata, there are the two lakes, Lake Manasarovar & Rakshas Tal. Rakshas Tal, the smaller lake, is considered to be inauspicious & Manasarovar is considered to be most sacred & worthy of salvation. Hindus believe that Gods descend down from heaven to take a bath in this holy lake. Buddhists believe that Queen Maya took a bath in this holy lake before giving birth to Lord Buddha. The glaciers of Mt. Kailash & Mt. Gurla Mandhata feed both these lakes. It is also belived that the three major rivers Brahmaputra, Sutlej & Indus are fed from Lake Manasarovar. Lake Manasarovar (4,727 m / 15510) is the highest fresh – water body in the world.
Since ages many hermits & pilgrims have been undertaking journeys to this sacred & the holiest of all Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar, because of the religious & mythological importance. Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar is situated in southern Tibet aptly known as the “Roof of the world”. Our Journey involves flying to Gongar Airport in Lhasa (Tibet) & traveling by Coach or Land Cruiser from Lhasa to Darchen, a small Tibetan town, at the base of Mt. Kailash travelling via Mt. Everest Base Camp (North)
The altitudes on which we travel are minimum 4500m for most of the days. The Circumambulation (Parikarma / Kora) around the Mt. Kailash is a 3 – days trek, taking us over a (6-8 hrs minimum per day.
This strenuous but stupendous journey to sacred Kailash and Mystique Lake of Manasarovar, create an everlasting impression on human mind.
This morning we will visit the Potala Palace, which dominates the city of Lhasa. A spectacular building, it contains the private quarters of the Dalai Lama as well as numerous grand staterooms and many important chapels. There has been a palace on this site since the 5th or 6th century, but the present palace was constructed in the 17th century. A visit to the Drepung Monastery this afternoon will complete a truly awe- inspiring day. Founded in the 14th century, this monastery was once the largest in the world with a population of around 10,000 monks. These days that figure is down to several hundred, but there is still much here of interest as it was left relatively unscathed during the Cultural Revolution
Jokhang Temple: Situated in the heart of old Lhasa houses Tibet’s most precious religious relic, a golden Sakyamuni Buddha that was brought as a gift by the Chinese princess Wen Cheng on her wedding to the Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. Devout pilgrims prostrate themselves at the entrance of the temple and make the inner holy circuit to offer yak butter to the gods and pay homage to the golden statue of Sakyamuni. Surrounding the Jokhang Temple is the busy bustling Barkhor Bazaar. A marketplace, which is the religious and social focus of Lhasa. This is the Spiritual Center of Tibet and is also the heart of Lhasa.
Barkhor, a circular street at the center of Old Lhasa, is the oldest street in a very traditional city in Tibet. It is a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble and a place to which a visit must be paid.
It has been said that in the seventh century Songtsen Gampo, the first Tibetan King (617 – 650) who unified Tibet, married Chinese Princess Wencheng and Nepal princess Tritsun. Later Princess Tritsun built Jokhang Temple to accommodate the twelve-year-old Jowo Sakyamuni, brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng.
Barkhor is the road, where pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night. Most of Lhasa’s floating population is comprised of these pilgrims. The pilgrims walk outside four columns on which colorful scripture streamers are hung, a custom, which began in the Tubo period (633-877) as a way to show respect.
Am: Visit the Norbulingkha: The ‘Jewel Park’ as it is known in Tibetan, was built in the 18th century and served as the Summer Palace of the Dalai Lamas. This colorful garden landscape was the site of picnic and public gatherings. The place is richly decorated, creating an atmosphere of peaceful repose.
Pm: Visit the SERA Monastery: 5 Km (3 miles) north of Lhasa. Sera’s setting is one of the prettiest Once a community of more than 5,000 monks, it was virtually extinguished by the Chinese invasion. The restored monastery sits below the brow of the hill on which Tsongkhapa built a hermitage and spent several years in meditation. One of the monk’s disciples started building the Sera in 1419 AD”.
Today we start our overland journey towards Kathmandu. Traveling by jeep along the Friendship Highway we cross the Khamba La [4794m] from which there is stunning views across the waters of Yamdrok-tso Lake to the snowy summit of Nazin Kang Sa [7252m]. We continue westwards over another high pass the Karo La [5045m] where we are treated to the spectacular sight of a huge glacier tumbling down to within a few hundred meters of the road. After passing through beautiful valleys and colorful Tibetan villages we arrive in the town of Gyantse.
After short break in Gyantse we then continue on to Shigatse, a short drive of only 90kms for overnight.
Am: After breakfast visit Tashilhunpo Monastey. This monastery is one of the largest functioning Monastery in Tibet and there is much to explore within its high surrounding wall. Later visit local market and have lunch in a nice restaurant.
After lunch continue along the Friendship Highway, marveling once more at the barren yet spectacular landscape of Tibet. Beyond the small town of Lhatse we cross Gyamtso La (5,220m) and descend to the plains, passing monasteries and camps of nomadic herder to New Tingri.
Today is the great day! we drive to Mt. Everest Base Camp. We begin our journey very early to catch up the Sunrise view from Pang la, from where you can enjoy the spectacular panoramic sunrise view over some of the 8,000 m Mountain including Mt. Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Shisapangma etc. After sunrise start descend down to valley and continue drive to Rongbuk Monastery from where we can witness the impressive view of world’s highest Mount Everest. We can further drive up to the view point of Everest Base Camp. After spending sometime continue drive back through off road to Old Tingri for lunch, where you can re-join friendship highway. After lunch continue to Saga passing through very beautiful Pigu Tso, then follow a narrow gorge before climbing to a pass and dropping steeply down to a Bramaputra bridge. After crossing the Bramaputra River, it is another 10 minutes to town Saga. We arrive in Saga late for dinner.
After early breakfast drive to Prayang for lunch. After lunch continue to Lake Mansarovar (4,360m/14,300 ft.) via Mayum La Pass (5151m/16890 ft). Driving past Kongyu Tso through the village of Thongchen.
En-route we stop at Hor to enjoy the first sight of beautiful Holy Lake Mansrovar & Mt. Kailash. Later continue to Darchen completing the Kora of Lake Mansarovar by vehicle.
After breakfast drive towards Chukku Gompa. From here we start Kora of Mt. Kailash. The normal pilgrims route stays on the east bank of the Lha Chu. But for better views of Kailash and generally better campsites, we cross the west bank trail across a scree slope to arrive at a good camping ground at Damding Donkhang (4,890 m / 16040 ft), a grassy spot that offers good views of the West face of Mt. Kailash. It is also known as the Valley of yaks as one can see hundreds of yaks grazing on the meadow.
We continue on a rocky path walking along the Belung Chu and Dunglung Chu streams as the North face of Kailash comes in view. On the opposite side of the Lha Chu you can see several groups of nomad tending herd of goats and yaks. As one reaches the Gompa and a frugal guesthouse at Drira Phuk, we are rewarded with a fine view of the North face of Mt. Kailash. The three lower hills in front of Mt. Kailash from this vantage point are the Manjushree, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani representing wisdom, kindness and power.
Start trek from Drira Phuk and immediately cross the Lha Chu on a wooden bridge. If one continues to trek up the Lha Chu, they would eventually reach the true source of the Hindus. The Kora route makes a serious climb on to a moraine leading to the Dolma La pass(5,430 m) and eventually meeting the trail from the East bank.
After crossing the stream of the Khado – sanglam, we arrive at another Chaksal Gang, the third prostration point and from where we get the last view of the east face of Mt. Kailash during the circumambulation. After about 3 hrs we arrive at the Zutul-puk Gompa (4790m / 15710 ft) where there is a cave in which the saint Milarepa is said to have meditated. It is said that he adjusted the height of this cave to make it more comfortable. His footprint still remains on the roof.
Trek along the Jhong Chu River to a bridge, cross it before descending to 4610 m, the last prostration point (Chaksal Gang) from where we get good views of Manasarovar lake but no views of Mt. Kailash.
After completing Parikarma of Mt. Kailash in Chaksal Gang, meet waiting vehicle and short drive to Darchen for lunch and exit formalities. Later continue drive back to Saga.
All accommodation in Tibet (as above) on twin / double room sharing basis, inclusive of breakfast and taxes.
All necessary special travel documents and special permits from Tibet.
Drinking mineral water during on the drive and camps.
All transfers, sightseeing and drive in Tibet in a Private van or coach.
Services of local English-speaking guide.
Services not Inclued
Any expenses of Personal nature.
Chinese Visa fees
Meals other than breakfast.
Services of Nepali Kitchen and Camping crew (quoted separately)
Photography fees if application.
Any expenses incurred during emergency evacuation.
Personal Insurance policy must be bought from a reputed and reliable firm covering thefts, loss of valuables, tour or flight cancellations due to weather conditions, political reasons or reasons beyond our control, illness, accidents, hospitalization, etc., as well as emergency helicopter evacuation, etc.