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Mt. Kailash (22028 Feet), considered to be a physical embodiment of the mythical Mt. Meru, is believed to be the most sacred mountain in the world. Its snow dusted rock pyramid is located in the scenically rich area of western Tibet, which lies between the Himalayas and Karakorum ranges. From its peak, one can enjoy the views of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal. It is considered most auspicious to make a religious pilgrimage around its fifty-three kilometers circuit (32 miles parikrama).
In fact, the entire region of Mt. Kailash is of important religious significance and includes the two turquoise-blue, pristine high-altitude lakes of Mansarovar and Rakshesa. Mt. Kailash is regarded holy by followers of several religions. To Hindus, Kailash is the abode of Shiva and nearby Manasarobar Lake, the soul of Brahma. Tibetans call Kailash Kang Rimpoche. Jains worship it as Mt Ashtapada, the peak from which the religion’s founder, Rishabanatha, achieved spiritual liberation. And the followers of Bon-Po, the ancient pre-Buddhist shamanistic religion of Tibet, revere Kailash as the soul of Tibet.
Another uniqueness contributing to the mystical aspects of Kailash is that four most sacred rivers of the Indian sub-continent begin from here – Sutlej, Karnili (a major tributary of the Ganges), Brahmaputra and Indus. The end of these rivers are more than 2,000 kilometers apart, yet they all have their source within a hundred kilometers of Mt. Kailash. Nature lovers can encounter numerous unusual species of birds, wildlife, and flora here. This holy region is known as navel (center) of the universe, attracting scholars and researchers from all over the world. Mt. Kailash (also known as the ‘Sumeru Parbat’ in Hindu epics) provides a spiritually enriching, naturally unique and a truly rewarding journey of a lifetime.
Day 01: Kathmandu-Lhasa (3650 m), 90 km.
Transfer to airport to fly Lhasa. Upon arrival at Gonggar airport, you will be met by our Tibet representative and transfer to Hotel.
Day 02-03: Lhasa.
We will have two full days in Lhasa to make excursions to the following places:
The Jokhang-The Jokhang is the principal and holiest Buddhist temple in Lhasa, as well as all of Tibet. It is the focus of devotion of hundreds of Tibetans from near and far who circle it to gain spiritual merit. The Jokhang was first constructed in the 7th century and has a large gold image of Sakyamuni Buddha.
Sera and Drepung-Sera, founded in 1419, is a monastery of the Gelugpa order. Its many white buildings sit at the base of a rocky hill. Gilded, bell-shaped gyamtschens grace the roofs of many of the larger buildings. Drepung used to have 8,000 monks who were taught in the traditions of Vajrayana, Mahayana, and Sutrayana, the three vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism.
Potala Palace-The 13-story Potala Palace is reputed to contain 1,000 rooms and hundreds upon hundreds of brilliant thangkas, frescoes, and images built in an era when religious art was created anonymously as a means of gaining merit for future lives. It’s one of the world’s most extraordinary buildings and completely covers the mountain it stands upon.
Day 04: Lhasa-Gyangtse (3990 m), 275 km, 8-9 hrs.
Drive via Yamdrok, the Turquoise Lake to Gyangtse across Kampa la pass 5050 m and Karo la (5045 m)passes. Visit Kubum stupa and Pelkor Chode Monastery.
Day 05: Gyangtse-Shigatse (3860 m), 90 km, 2 hrs.
Drive to Shigatse. En route visit Shalu Monastery. Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lama who is the 2nd in the Buddhist religious hierarchy and Shigatse Market.
Day 06: Shigatse-Ngamring (5220 m), 160 km, 6-7 hrs.
Drive to Ngamring. En route visit Sakya Monastery.
Day 07: Ngamring-Saga, 4280 m, 190 km , 7-8 hrs.
The road follows south of the Pegu-Tso, continues across the plain with stunning Himalayan views. The route then follows a narrow gorge before climbing to a pass and dropping steeply down to a ferry crossing over the Yarlung Tsangpo.
Day 08: Saga-Paryang, 4750 m, 250 km, 8-9 hrs.
From Saga, it is 145 km to Zhongba. The road is good and the trip can be completed in 4-5 hrs. There is also a small monastery at the western end of town on a hill. From Zhongba onwards the southern road deteriorates. There is also the danger of vehicles getting stuck. But this section of the road has panoramic views of mountains on either side of the road.
Day 09: Paryang-Lake Manasarovar, 4560 m, 260 km, 10 hrs.
From Paryang to Lake Mansarovar is a long drive of 10 hrs or more. There will be several river crossings and we drive past Mayum La pass (4600 M). The scenery is stunningly beautiful with panoramic views of the Himalayas.
Day 10: Manasarovar-Darchen (4560 m), 30 km, 6hrs.
About 30 km north of Lake Manasarovar 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 darken 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. We organize yaks or ponies for the Kailash circuit trek at Darchen.
Day 11: Kailash Circuit Trek – Diraphuk : (6 hrs).
This Kailash circuit covers 53 km and can be done in 3 days. We 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 visit Tarboche where annual flagpole raising ceremony takes place during Saga Dawa.
Day 12: Diraphuk – Zutrulphuk, 4790, 6 Hrs.
Today we cross Drolma la pass (5630 M) and Gauri Kund Lake (5608 m) where Hindus worship and immerse themselves in the icy waters of the lake.
Day 13: Darchen – Tirdapuri.
The final end of the parikrama is an easy 2-3 hrs walk down to where the river emerges on to the Barga plain. We complete the 3-day circuit trek of Mt. Kailash and drive to Tirdapuri where there is a hot spring. Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash is not complete without visiting Tirdapuri for the Tibetan Buddhists.
Day 14: Tripuri – Purang.
Visit Tirdapuri Monastery and the pilgrim circuit and drive to Purang. En route visit Khojarnath Monastery.
Day 15 – 16: Purang-Lake Manasarovar (Chiu Gompa) and Lake Manasarovar
Rest day and excursion around the Lake.
Day16: Drive to Paryang (4700 meters). (292 km / 08 to 09 hrs). Camp Overnight.
Day17: Drive to Saga (4600 meters). (252 km / 07 to 08 hrs). Camp Overnight.
Day18: Drive to Nyalam (3750m) 240 Km / 6-7 Hrs. Guesthouse
Day19: Drive downhill to Friendship Bridge where transportation awaits for the Groups final leg of the journey to Kathmandu (1300m) 150 Km / 8-9 Hrs.