|Group size:||1+||Max-Altitude:||5650 m|
|Arrival on:||Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA)||Departure from:||Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA)|
|Meals:||Breakfast in Kathmandu and All standard meals (B+L+D) during the Trek|
|Best Season:||Spring and Autumn|
|Accommodation:||Three star rated Hotel in Kathmandu and Best lodge/Tea house/Camping during the Trek.|
Mount Kailash, situated in far west corner of Tibet it is the most sacred peak of Asia. The beauty of the 6700 meter high Mountain Kailash, that resembles a symmetrical cone molded rock covered by pure crystalline ice perpetually. Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists, while Jains and Bönpos circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32 mi) long. Some pilgrims believe that the entire walk around Kailash should be made in a single day, which is not considered an easy task. A person in good shape walking fast would take perhaps 15 hours to complete the entire trek. Some of the devout do accomplish this feat, little daunted by the uneven terrain, altitude sickness and harsh conditions faced in the process. Indeed, other pilgrims venture a much more demanding regimen, performing body-length prostrations over the entire length of the circumambulation: The pilgrim bends down, kneels, prostrates full-length, makes a mark with his fingers, rises to his knees, prays, and then crawls forward on hands and knees to the mark made by his/her fingers before repeating the process. It requires at least four weeks of physical endurance to perform the circumambulation while following this regimen. The mountain is located in a particularly remote and inhospitable area of the Tibetan Himalayas. A few modern amenities, such as benches, resting places, and refreshment kiosks, exist to aid the pilgrims in their devotion. According to all religions that revere the mountain, setting foot on its slopes is a dire sin. It is a popular belief that the stairways on Mount Kailash lead to heaven.
It is a busy crowded city which lies close to the Indian border.You can also fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. You stay overnight at hotel in Nepalgunj in the far south west of Nepal.
This morning you fly north for about 50 minutes to Simikot, the headquarters of Nepal’s most remote district, Humla. This day you have to camp at Simikot.
The landing at the tiny mountain airstrip at Simikot is an unforgettable experience. There is an initial climb above Simikot before descending towards the village of Tuling and follow a level trail through walnut and apricot trees to the village of Dharapani. You camp for the night.
Leaving your campsite, you cross a long slope and follow the river to a waterfall near the shepherds’ camp at Chachera. You then climb over a ridge and bypass the village of Kermi before entering a big valley with walled fields of potato and buckwheat. After walking through a sparse pine forest you descend from the ridge to the Salli Khola and camp by the river. You camp for the night.
You cross the river and climb over a rocky ridge before descending to the grey waters of the Humla Karnali. After crossing another ridge you come to a sandy meadow where goat herders often camp by the river. Beyond the meadow the valley narrows and you cross several more ridges, passing the villages of Yalbang and Yangar. The trail then winds its way precariously above the river before you cross a suspension bridge to the village of Muchu. You camp for the night
Walk up the Lha Chu Valley through beautiful green meadows and streams with Mt Kailash towering above us. You 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 you reach the 13th century monastery at Dira-phuk. Stay overnight in a camp.
You will enter the Drolma Chu Valley, heading up towards a high pass, the Drolma La [5630m] that is marked by Tibetan prayer flags. The rest of the day’s walk is mostly downhill and flat land. On descent, you will pass by one of the highest lakes in the world, Thukpe Dzingbu Lake, known as the Lake of Compassion. Zuthulphuk monastery is built at the site of a famous cave, which is believed to have been created as a result of contest between Milareppa (Buddhist Teacher) and Naro Bonchung (Bon Saint). Stay overnight in a camp.
It takes merely 2 ½ to 3 hours that involves crossing of several streams and also follows an impressive gorge from where you would like to look back for fabulous views. Stay overnight in a guesthouse.
From Paryang to Lake Mansorovar is a long drive of 10 hrs or more. There will be several river crossings and you drive past Mayum la pass (4600m.). The scenery is stunningly beautiful with panoramic views of the Himalayas. You camp for the night.
You climb a short distance to Sher, a Tibetan salt trading post at 3860m that is a windswept place of government buildings where passports and daysacks will be inspected. At Sher you meet our Tibetan guide and board our landcruisers for the two hour drive to Purang, (Taklakot) at 3930m. It is a rough fantastic drive that gives a taste of what lies ahead.
You pass through Tibetan villages where prayer flags flutter from the roofs of the whitewashed houses. You will stop briefly at the village of Khojarnath where there is a large red gompa of the Sakya sect of Buddhism. This impressive building is flanked by whitewashed chortens and at its base is a large wall made up of mani stones and yak skulls.
You stop briefly at Purang where the crew can purchase any supplies needed for the remainder of our journey. You then begin a four hour drive to Chiu Gompa on the shores of Lake Manasaravar. It is an incredible drive past the snow capped peak of Gurla Mandata (7728m) as the road climbs higher onto the Tibetan Plateau. In places the road is no more than the tracks of vehicles that have passed this way before.
From the Gurla La at 4590m you get our first glimpse of Mt Kailash or Gang Rimpoche in Tibetan, (meaning ‘Precious Jewel of Snow’). The dark waters of Rakshas Tal can be whipped up by the afternoon winds and dust devils dance along the shoreline. You cross the dividing ridge between the lakes to camp at Chiu Gompa on the shores of Manasaravar, looking out at the Sacred Mountain. The sunset views from camp are spectacular and many pilgrims come to this spot to bathe and camp before beginning their kora. Below the gompa there is a small hot spring and tea shop. You camp for the night.
Get prepared for Mt. Kailash Parikrama. About 30 kms north of Lake Manasorovar is Darchen, the main gateway and the village. The monastery at Darchen, Darchen Gon, is a part of the Drukpa sect. The two-story monastery structure in the center of the town serves as a trading post and shelter for pilgrims. Within the dukhang assembly hall are new and old thangka paintings and some statues, the main image being Sakyamuni. West of the gompa is the Mani Lhakhang that has a large, new mani prayer wheel. This is the site where the original old flagpole (a darchen is a flagpole for prayer flags) of Darchen was located. When beginning their kora pilgrimage around Kailash, many pilgrims often circumambulate the Darchen Gon monastery and the Mani Lhakhang before setting out. You camp for the night.
This Kailash circuit covers 53 kms and can be done in 3 days. You head west in clockwise direction and after a few kilometers the trail climbs up to a cairn at 4730 m from where the southern face of Mt. Kailash comes to view. En route you visit Tarboche where annual flagpole raising ceremony takes place during Saga Dawa. You camp for the night.
Yamasthal should be crossed to reach the Shiva-sthal while your steps go closer to the pass. Once you reach the top, just do the holiest offering and sit down for meditation to forget you. Once your steps go down, Parvati-stal and Gauri Kunda are on the way. By the late afternoon you will reach Zuthal Puk (the cave of Miracles. The great ascetic Milerappa is supposed to have performed miracles here). You camp for the night.
Your final day on the Kora is an easy three hours walking as you exit the Zhong Chu Valley on a trail that contours high above a narrow gorge. The hills become less vegetated and more desert like as you approach the Bharka Plain with seemingly limitless views towards the Indian Himlaya. At one point pilgrims stop and scoop out of the hillside the precious white clay called Ghang Rimpoche ku-sha or the flesh of Kailas. It is believed to have medicinal properties and is spread on foreheads to ease headaches and colds. You camp for the night.
The road is rough and there are some rivers to cross. Wild antelope and kiang (the Tibetan wild ass) are a common sight. This is the land of the drogpa nomads and you will pass many encampments with large herds of sheep and goats. The drives are long, bumpy and often dusty but the scenery is magnificent. Photo stops are a must! You camp for the night.
You continue driving for another 255km to Saga passing through dusty town of Zhongba and a few smaller passes. You camp for the night.
Leaving Saga, you cross the Yarlung Tsangpo [ Brahmaputra River] by ferry and continue our journey for 110km across the vast open plains. Stunning Himalayan views, particularly of Shishapangma, accompany us as you head towards a huge lake, the Paigutso. You camp for the night.
Today you drive 180km south towards the Nepalese border, joining the Friendship Highway. You cross a high pass, the Lalung La [5200m], and come to the small town of Nyalam. Stay overnight at hotel.
From Zhangmu, it’s a short drive to the Friendship Bridge which spans the Bhote Kosi River and marks the Chinese – Nepalese border where you part with your Tibetan guide and driver and walk to Nepalese Immigration Control in Kodari where you will be met by your Nepalese staff. After completing the re-entry formalities you continue the drive to Kathmandu which, depending on road and weather conditions, should take about 5-6 hours.
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