Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
Posted on: 06 April 2017 by Amrit Adhikari
Mount Kailash trekking visit is a standout amongst the most requesting and testing of treks for travelers on the planet.
Mount Kailash trekking tour is one of the most demanding and challenging of treks for pilgrims in the world. This trek route in Tibet is widely known as the kora around the Mt. Kailash which is sacred to four religions and a deeply numinous place. Pilgrims throng to the mountain: not just Tibetans, but Hindus and Buddhists from India to Japan, joined by Western and Chinese travelers who travel to Tibet to visit this holy mountain and the nearby sacred Lake Manasarovar.
The Mt. Kailash kora starts at the charm-free village of Darchen, opens up unending stretches of barren land, lush green valleys, snow capped peaks and pristine blue lakes, winding past mani walls and skirting the base of the Kailash massif. The average altitude of this trekking in Tibet is nearly 5,000m, so it is very a great challenge and requires strong perseverance. It is a true test of the mind and spirit. But simple accommodation and food are available on the trail, so hikers can enjoy the trek to their heart’s content.
Many Tibetans do the kora in a single day; but most foreigners take two to three days. No matter whether you are a believer or not, it is inspiring to share the path with these pilgrims, often the simplest illiterate nomads who have saved for years to make the trip. You will meet a huge range of people here, including prostrators who will take three weeks to complete the circuit by prostrating.
As a peak in the Kailas Range (Gangdisê Mountains), Mount Kailash is considered a sacred place in four religions: Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. Mt. Kailash is believed to be a great mountain with four faces (Peacock, Elephant, Lion, and Horse), each composed of a different material (gold, crystal, ruby, and lapis lazuli), and from the mouth of each face flows a great river: Karnali, Indus, Sutlej, and Brahmapurta. Though this mount is a little far from the main road, it is still a pop destination on the list of Tibet tour.
This mountain is 6714m high, and has never been climbed, because people who got permits to climb it were under international pressure not to do it because of the special nature of the mountain. But every year, thousands of believers 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. Followers of the Jain and Bönpo religions circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. For ordinary trekkers, walking in the clockwise direction is OK.
The mount Kailash lies near the famous holy Lake Manasarovar lying at 4,590 meters above sea level. To the west of Lake Manasarovar is another lake Rakshastal; toward the north is just the Mount Kailash. The round-shaped lake is the origin of the Sutlej River, the easternmost large tributary of the Indus.
Traditional Tibetan Villages
On the trail from Ganden to Samye, you will passes through several traditional Tibetan villages where people lead a very simple life, even still practice ancient culture and customs. If you are interested in Tibetan culture, these villages offer you a great chance to get a close view of Tibetan people’s traditional daily life.
Five temples around Kailash
The Mount Kailash is surrounded by five monasteries, namely Nyari Monastery, Drirapuk Monastery, Songchu Monastery, Gyangzha Monastery and Thailong Monastery. Nyari is the first site on the Kailash Kora and the last two are located on the inner kora. Each monastery is endowed with different legendary stories and decorated by distinctive sculptures, statues, murals, thangkas and other Tibetan cultural objects. Unfortunately, all are destroyed to different degrees. But the monasteries can offer simple accommodation to pilgrims and trekkers.
Best Time to trek
The best time for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is from May to October when it is warmer. At other time of the year, the areas around the Mt. Kailash are covered by heavy snow and ice. It is very dangerous to trek through these places during winter.
The most exciting and interesting period at this mount is around the 15th day of April in the Tibetan calendar. The most important annual festival of Tibet, Saga Dawa falls on that day which is also the birthday of Buddha Sakyamuni. During this festival, Tibetans from all over Tibet pour into atrathis area of Mt. Kailash, two or even three weeks before this date. During this time, the giant flagpole at Tarpoche is ritually taken down and the prayer flags along its length replaced. It is also a great time to do a Tibet tour.