Kailash Mansharovar Tour – 20 Days

Group size: 1+ Max-Altitude: 5650 m
Destination: Tibet Fitness level: Moderate  
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.
Trip Introduction

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.

Stupas, with the north face of Mount Kailash (background)

Because of the Sino-Indian border dispute, pilgrimage to the legendary abode of Shiva was stopped from 1954 to 1978. Thereafter, a limited number of Indian pilgrims have been allowed to visit the place, under the supervision of the Chinese and Indian governments either by a lengthy and hazardous trek over the Himalayan terrain, travel by land from Kathmandu or from Lhasa where flights from Kathmandu are available to Lhasa and thereafter travel over the great Tibetan plateau by car. The journey takes four night stops, finally arriving at Darchen at an elevation of 4,600 m (15,100 ft), a small outpost that swells with pilgrims at certain times of the year. Despite its minimal infrastructure, modest guest houses are available for foreign pilgrims, whereas Tibetan pilgrims generally sleep in their own tents. A small regional medical center serving far-western Tibet and funded by the Swiss Ngari Korsum Foundation was built here in 1997.

Walking around the mountain—a part of its official park—has to be done on foot, pony or domestic yak, and takes some three days of trekking starting from a height of around 15,000 ft (4,600 m) past the Tarboche (flagpole) to cross the Drölma pass 18,200 ft (5,500 m), and encamping for two nights en route. First, near the meadow of Dirapuk gompa, some 2 to 3 km (1.2 to 1.9 mi) before the pass and second, after crossing the pass and going downhill as far as possible (viewing Gauri Kund in the distance).

Hindu travelers believe the mountain to be the home of their God-Lord Shiva. For Buddhists, Mount Kailash is said to be the Center of the Universe. Consistently many explorers travel from everywhere throughout the Indian sub landmass and Tibet to make the custom circumambulation around the mountain as they continued looking for enlightenment and this trek will go along with them on their voyage. For more info, CONTACT US

Outline Itinenary
  • Day 01 :Drive from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj by bus takes about sixteen hours
  • Day 02 :Fly from Nepalgunj to Simikot (2,856 m.).
  • Day 03 :Trek from Simikot to Darapani (2,507m.).
  • Day 04 :Trek from Darapani to Sali Khola (2,650m.).
  • Day 05 :Trek from Sali Khola to Muchu (2,912m.).
  • Day 06 :Darchen-Dira Phuk Gompa (4909m, 6 hrs trekking) Tarboche, marked by Tibetan flags is the starting point for kora and is the site for Tibet's most important annual Saga Dawa festival.
  • Day 07 :Drira Phuk Monastery-Zuthul-Phuk (4790m, 7 hrs trekking) Bid farewell to Lha Chu Valley and prepare to walk the toughest part of the kora.
  • Day 08 :Trek to Darchen (4560m, 3 hrs trekking) the final day of the Kora is rather shorter and easier.
  • Day 09 : Drive from Hilsa to Purang. You camp for the night.
  • Day 10 :Drive from Purang to Lake Manasarovar (4,558m.).
  • Day 11 :Excursion at Lake Manasarovar.
  • Day 12 :Drive to Darchen (4700m.).
  • Day 13 :Start Kailash Parikrama. Trek to Dira Puk (4909m.).
  • Day 14 :Continue Kailash Parikrama over Domala Pass (5650m.) to Zuthul Puk.
  • Day 15 :End Kailash Parikrama near Darchen (4700m.).
  • Day 16 :Drive from Darchen to Paryang (4540m.).
  • Day 17 :Drive from Paryang to Saga (4840m.).
  • Day 18 :Drive from Saga to Paigutso (4850m.).
  • Day 19 :Drive from Paigutso to Nyalam (3800m.).
  • Day 20 :Drive from Nyalam to Kathmandu. From Nyalam, you drive down to the border town of Zhangmu.

Notes:

  •  All above trekking hours and distances are approximate and it’s absolutely for general ideas only.
  • The above data is a guide and standard layout of what we give. Our trek can be customized at your request to suit your particular necessities
  • Your safety is our supreme concern while engaging with Snowy Dream World. Please note that your leader has the authority to adjust or cancel any part of the itinerary if it is estimated required due to safety issues. Every determination will be made to keep to the above itinerary; though, since this journey involves travelling in remote mountainous areas, we cannot assurance that we will not suffer from it. Weather conditions, health condition, unexpected natural disasters can all affect in the itinerary. The leader will try to ensure that the trip runs according to plan, but please be prepared for the happening if required.

Day 01:Drive from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj by bus takes about sixteen hours

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.

Day 02:Fly from Nepalgunj to Simikot (2,856 m.).

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.

Day 03:Trek from Simikot to Darapani (2,507m.).

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.

Day 04:Trek from Darapani to Sali Khola (2,650m.).

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.

Day 05:Trek from Sali Khola to Muchu (2,912m.).

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

Day 06:Darchen-Dira Phuk Gompa (4909m, 6 hrs trekking) Tarboche, marked by Tibetan flags is the starting point for kora and is the site for Tibet's most important annual Saga Dawa festival.

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.

Day 07:Drira Phuk Monastery-Zuthul-Phuk (4790m, 7 hrs trekking) Bid farewell to Lha Chu Valley and prepare to walk the toughest part of the kora.

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.

Day 08:Trek to Darchen (4560m, 3 hrs trekking) the final day of the Kora is rather shorter and easier.

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.

Day 09: Drive from Hilsa to Purang. You camp for the night.

Day 10:Drive from Purang to Lake Manasarovar (4,558m.).

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.

Day 11:Excursion at Lake Manasarovar.

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.

Day 12:Drive to Darchen (4700m.).

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.

Day 13:Start Kailash Parikrama. Trek to Dira Puk (4909m.).

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.

Day 14:Continue Kailash Parikrama over Domala Pass (5650m.) to Zuthul Puk.

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.

Day 15:End Kailash Parikrama near Darchen (4700m.).

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.

Day 16:Drive from Darchen to Paryang (4540m.).

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.

Day 17:Drive from Paryang to Saga (4840m.).

You continue driving for another 255km to Saga passing through dusty town of Zhongba and a few smaller passes. You camp for the night.

Day 18:Drive from Saga to Paigutso (4850m.).

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.

Day 19:Drive from Paigutso to Nyalam (3800m.).

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.

Day 20:Drive from Nyalam to Kathmandu. From Nyalam, you drive down to the border town of Zhangmu.

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.

Dates and Cost

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Full Board Service:
Included in the Cost
  • Land transportation by van or bus.
  • Accommodation on hotel or guest house on BB basis with twin sharing room.
  • Monastery Entrance fees
  • All airport hotel airport transfers
  • All airport hotel airport transfers
Not Included in the Cost
  • Nepal re-entry visa fees
  • Insurance of any kind
  • Expenses of personal nature
  • Any emergency evacuations
Base Camp Service:
Included in the Cost
  • base camp service include1
  • base camp service include2
Not Included in the Cost
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