Ultimate Guide to Mount Kailash Tour

Mount Kailash is the most sacred mountain in Tibet for followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Bon religion. Mount Kailash is also a virgin peak with a height of 6,638 meters. This mountain has two lakes near it. These lakes are Lake Manasarovar and Lake Rakshastal, both separated by an Isthmus. Lake Manasaroovar, located at 4,590 meters, is the highest fresh water lake in the world.

To go here one has to go through very difficult terrains. The yatra is officially 11 days long, which takes place in the months of August and September. Pilgrims go on this journey in different batches. Apart from this, devotees also go here on their own in different months, but going here at that time is full of danger as at other times, there is a risk of heavy rains and landslides here.

At those times, no government service is also available on that road and the roads are also bad, due to which tourists are advised not to go here in any other month. This yatra is considered to be the center of faith for people of Hinduism as well as Buddhism. The Buddhists believe that the Mt. Kailash is the home of the Buddha Cakrasamvara, who represents supreme bliss.

In Hinduism, Mt. Kailash is home of Shiva, Parvati and their children, Ganesh and Kartikeya. Jainism followers believe that Mt. Kailash is the place where Tirthankara, Rishabhadeva attained liberation.

The Bon religion believes that the mountain is the home of the Sky Goddess Sipaimen. Every year thousands of pilgrims from Tibet, India and Nepal travel to Mt. Kailas to take a pilgrimage journey known as 'kora'. Many tourists around the world book a Mount Kailash tour at the same time when the pilgrims are going on a journey, to be part of this amazing trek and part of the tradition and religious culture of the Buddhists.

Popularly called Gyangunj, is considered as a mystical hermitage, which according to a tradition, is located in a secret land deep in the Himalayas, where great yogis, sadhus, and sages who are siddhas live. This place is also revered as the mystical land of Shambhala by Tibetans. Most of the people have dream to go there to get peace and direct connection to god.

The exact location of this place is not known. But the instructions to reach this place is written in some Buddhist texts. They say that this place is in another dimension and influence the real world in subtle ways when needed. This place mysteriously camouflages itself hiding from site and mapping technologies.

It holds and protects spiritual teachings of all religions. Only enlightened saints can find this place. Consciousness always remains alive in this enigmatic land as no death occurs there. So basically the theory that the enlightened saints can live up to so many years merges into this land.

Tibet is a mysterious land of culture and snow high up in the Himalayas that is often overlooked by destinations such as Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. No where incorporates incredible mountain scenery and culture quite like Tibet! It is like a completely different country from China more different than Scotland/Wales and England.

mount kailash mansarovar yatra

Can anyone travel to Kailash Mansarovar?

The age limit is 65 yrs. And there is a good reason for this. The Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra is one of the toughest pilgrimages in the world. Its a cold, barren region with desert conditions and negligible infrastructure. Its not just the geography and the higher altitudes that make it tough. It is a very high energy region where unforeseeable things happen.

There are some stretches of Himalayas which can be traversed only by air (helicopters) because there’s simply no way you can travel by land.

Best time to visit Kailash Mansarovar

When is the best time to visit Mt. Kailash is maybe the most often asked question from the travelers. To avoid the rainy season and muddy roads, the best time for Mt. Kailash tour is from April to June and September to October. The period from July and August is the rainy season and from Middle October the roads are covered with thick snow which makes the trek more difficult.

Also, the small guest houses around Lake Manasarovar are closed during the winter, so if you plan to trek during this period, you'll need to stay in a tent, which is not such a good idea. However, summer is the best period for trekking to Mt. Kailash. At this time of the year many pilgrims, both Buddhists and Hindus visit Mount Kailash, so it is an excellent opportunity to be part of the journey together.

How to choose the best Mount Kailash Tour

The travel agencies provide great packages for trekking to the Mt. Kailash. After you choose the period you want to visit Mt. Kailash you need to decide which is the best tour for you. You should consider that almost every Mt. Kailash tour is longer than seven days. However, some packages last even shorter, but if you want to have truly Mt. Kailash experience, you should book a tour longer than one week.

Also, a significant thing when booking Mount Kailash tour is the travel agency. Always choose the Chinese or local travel agency, because a local travel agent knows the place well. All the travel information comes from their first-hand experience. Also, a local Chinese travel agency is more likely to arrange local guides and drivers for you.

Mt Kailash tour during the Saga Dawa Festival

If you decide to go on Mt. Kailash tour in the summer, you should consider booking your trip to the mountain during the Saga Dawa Festival. Trekking with local pilgrims will give you for sure the best lifetime experience and incredible spiritual purification. Saga Dawa festival celebrates the birth, death and enlightenment of Buddha, a great time to experience Tibetan religion and culture.

After you arrive in Lhasa, you will have two days for acclimatization, and a great opportunity to visit the attractions near Lhasa, such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Norbulingka summer palace. On this Mt. Kailash tour you will visit the Yamdrok Lake- one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and famous stupa- Gyantse Kumbun, the most stunning architectural wonder in Tibet.

With your group, you will continue to Rongbuk, where you will have a magnificent view on Mount Everest.

• On the first day of the Saga Dawa celebrations, you will start trekking to Dira-Puk Monastery, which is 20 km or 6 hours trekking.

• The second day of Parikrama leads to the much higher side of the holy path just beneath the Mount Kailash. You'll be crossing Drolma-la Pass at 5 200 meters above sea level. The Dolma-La Pass is the toughest part of the 3-day, 54 Kms of Parikrama and even though you can rent a pony to ascend it, you have to descend on foot. The terrain is such that nobody can even carry you down manually. Its about 6000 meters above sea level.

• The third day of this Mt Kailash tour is also trekking about 14 km back to Darchen. After a short break in Darchen, you will be arranged to drive about 50km to Lake Manasarovar, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. Enjoy your view over Lake Manasarovar when the sun will rise in the morning, then start driving back to Saga retracing the same route, you will have a last look of the Mt.Kailash on the way.

• Next day you will be driving back to Shigatse, and the next day you'll arrive in Lhasa, where your trip will end.

Mt. Kailash tour is just one of the many tours that travel agencies are offering but is one of the most wanted tours of the tourists. If your vacation days didn't match with Saga Dawa Festival dates, there are Mt. Kailash tours that are also one in a lifetime journey like this Mt. Kailash tour for example.

Required documents for Mt. Kailash Tour

To enter Tibet, you will need a Tibet Travel Permit. To apply for this document, you will need a valid passport and a approved Chinese visa. You will need to email a scanned copy of your passport and Chinese visa to your travel agent, and they will apply on your behalf.

For visiting Mt. Kailash, you will also need Alen's Travel Permit, Military Permit, Foreign Affair Permit and Frontier Pass, which your travel guide will get for you after you arrive in Lhasa. This is another reason to book a Mt. Kailash tour with a local Chinese travel agency. They surely know which is the best way to get all the necessary permits for you.

Final words

Every traveler has his own experience about each trip, but for the Mt. Kailash journey is almost the same for everyone. Almost everyone experiences it the same way and returns home with a purified mind and inner peace. It's not easy to trek to Mt. Kailash but certainly is the most valuable journey.
Kalyan Panja