Holy Mt. Kailash (6714 m) is located in the western region of Tibet, with an average altitude above 4,500 meters, Ngari prefecture is known as the "the roof of the world's roof" and the most “Tibetan” part of Tibet. It’s the place where the Himalayas, the Gangdise, the Kunlun Mountains and Karakorum Mountains meet. There are great mountains, beautiful lakes, vast grasslands and spectacular snow mountains in Ngari. Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarova in Ngari are symbolized as the "Sacred Mountain and Holy Lake" of the Buddhism and are the spiritual center of Buddhists. Starting from the capital city Lhasa in Tibet, our journey brings you westward towards Shigatse. Our first key stop is Lake Manasarovar, Lake Rakshastal and Mount Kailash. Mt Kailash is deemed the spiritual center of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and the indigenous religion-Bon. The core of this journey is an unhurried three-day 52-km circuit trek (kora) among Tibetan pilgrims around holy Mt. Kailash in a clockwise manner. En-route, you may have the opportunity to spot wild animals such as chiru, Tibetan antelopes native only to the Tibetan plateau, black-necked cranes (also known Tibetan crane), yaks, white-lip deer, wolves & donkeys. Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar remained unknown to the Western World until the eighteenth century, hidden behind some of the greatest natural barriers on earth. The First European to travel through the region was an Italian Jesuit missionary, Father Ippolito Desideri. In the winter of 1715 he crossed western Tibet, a vast, sterile and terrible desert, following the course of the Tsangpo River all the way to Lhasa. On the way, he passed Lake Manasarovar and "a cloud-hidden mountain" (Mount Kailash) that he reported was sacred to the powerful Tantric wizard Urghien, otherwise known as Padmasambhava. The best time to visit this region is between mid-May and mid-October. During the first and last months of this season the weather in the region is generally stable and clear, with cool temperatures during the days, but nights below freezing. July and August are usually warmer and is when the monsoon pushes beyond the Himalayas, swelling the creeks and coating the valleys with greenery and wildflowers.
Pick up from Gonggar airport, after finished immigration formalities it takes about 1 hour 30 minutes drive along 93 km road leading to Lhasa. It is advisable to rest in Hotel.
Tour starts from the religious Potala Palace built in the 7th century by the famous Tibetan king-Songtzen Gampo. The present one was built by the 5th Dalai Lama in the 17th century. It became known as the "Winter Palace" by the 1750, when the 7th Dalai Lama built the Norbulingka Park as his summer residence. After that, you will visit Norbulingka Park. In 1752, the 7th Dalai Lama built the first palace in this summer palace for successive Dalai Lamas to carry out their political and religious activities during the summer season. Today Norbulingka has become a public park for picnicking, relaxing and entertainment. Later, visit Sera Monastery which is dedicated to the Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Sect, a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Tsong Khapa. Jamchen Chojey, one of Tsong Khapa's disciples built the monastery in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The monastery was named Sera which mean wild rose in the Tibetan language, because the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when the monastery was built.
Full day sightseeing takes you to Drepung Monastery. "Drepung" means "the hill of rice', because this white Monastery looks like a big hill of rice in Tibetan. This monastery occupies an area of 150,000 square meters with 7700 lamas and becomes the largest monastery in Asia. After that, you will visit Jokhang Temple, situated in the old section of Lhasa. King Songtzen Gampo built this temple in the mid-7th century A.D. Now it is the most sacred place in Tibet. Pilgrims come here to pay homage from all over Tibet. Take a leisure walk at Barkhor Street, located in the heart of Lhasa circling the Jokhang Temple. It means a pilgrim's inner circuit, and is the earliest street of old Lhasa city.
In the morning, your guide and driver will accompany you to Gyantse (250 km, 5 hours approx.), a town lying to the south of Lhasa City. On the way there, you will visit one of the holiest lakes in Tibet, a pilgrimage site, The Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, which is compared as “the fairyland in heaven” by Tibetans. You will also have view of the Karola Snow Mountain. Visit Phalkor Monastery, the only monastery that houses monks from different rders (Gelupa, Sakyapa and Kahdampa) in harmony. Phalkor also features its Bodhi Stupa or Kumbum Stupa, which consists of hundreds of chapels in layers, housing about a hundred thousand images of Buddha, so it is called Myriad Buddha’s Stupa as well. After the sightseeing continue drive to Shigatse.
In the morning visit Tashilunpu Monastery. This Monastery is the seat of Panchen Lama. Each year, there is a display of a gigantic thangkas of Buddha will on its Thangka Wall. Beside the trove of thangkas, its murals and other religious and artistics treasures certainly will impose an indelible impression upon visitors. After the sightseeing, drive to Ngamring. En route visit Sakya Monastery.
The road from Ngamring follows south of the Pelgu-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.
From Saga we drive face to east and along the Yalongzangp River
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.
Rest or option hike to Gyantak Monastery and back to Darchen.
This Kailash circuit covers 53 kms 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.
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.
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 Tirthapuri where there is a hot spring. Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash is not complete without visiting Tirthapuri for the Tibetan Buddhists.
We drive on to the guest house at Toling, our base to explore the monasteries of Tholing and Tsaparang. Twin capitals of the medieval kingdoms of Guge. Tholing monastery is away from the former situated location at about 26 kilometers in the west direction. It is found to exist in near immediacy of the Mount Kailash and the religious lake of Manasarovar. It lies 278 kilometers away from Ali as well. The most attractive and attention grabbing property of Tsaparang is the fort which is enormous in size and built on a pyramidal rock which is about 500 to 600 feet high.
Tsaparang was said to be found in Guge kingdom and it was also its ancient capital. This place is very much appealing and attractive to the people who are attracted towards history or historical places. A place called Garuda valley lies in the Western Tibet’s Ngari province used to have this remarkable lost kingdom which ranged and expanded from the upper area of Sutlej River to the modern Ladakh border.
Drive to Langohen River.
Lake Mansarovar is the highest freshwater lake in the world with its altitude of 4,556 mt. or 14,947 ft. and is relatively circular in shape with a circumference of 88 km. (55 miles) and average depth of 90 m (300 ft.). The entire lake with its stark turquoise complexion freezes over in winters and then melts again only in spring! According to legend, the lake is a personification of purity and anyone who drinks water from the lake will go to the heavens after death. Also, anyone who bathes in the lake is assumed to have washed away all sins committed over a hundred lifetimes! The belief in this legend is such that it brings the lake and the adjoining mountain, thousands of visitors each and every year.
Drive from Mansarovar to Paryang which is around 260 km away and should approximately take six to seven hours to reach.
Drive from Paryang to Saga which is around 255 km away and should approximately take six -seven hours to reach.
Drive from Saga to Nyalam which is around 230 km away and should approximately take six hours to reach.
Leave early in the morning and drive to Zhangmu (the Tibetan border town) which should take approximately one hour to reach. From Zhangmu cross the Tibet – Nepal border over the Friendship Bridge and proceed to Kodari (the Nepalese border town). Enroute complete the immigration formalities. From Kodari drive approximately for four to five hours to reach Kathmandu.
This day you will visit to Bhaktapur which literally means a city of devotees is the oldest city of Nepal. The Bhaktapur Durbar Square is located in the current town of Bhaktapur, which lies 13 km east of Kathmandu. While the complex consists of at least four distinct square (Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square, Dattatreya Square and Pottery Square), the whole are is informally known as the Bhakapur Durbar Square, and is a highly visited site in the Kathmandu Valley. Later, you will be escorted to Patan City for sightseeing tour. Patan is also known as city of fine art is one of the major cities of Nepal and is best known for its rich cultural heritage, particularly its tradition of arts and crafts. Later, visit Tibetan Handicraft Center where you will find Tibetan Refugees and their handicraft skills. Return to the hotel.
Day free until departure transfer to the airport for onward journey.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Get lost and feel the mystic energy of the Himalayas with Shiva Treks