Gang Rinpoche, is how Tibetan people call their beloved sacred mountain Mt. Kailash in their own language. It means treasure (Rinpoche) of snow (Gang). Believed as the home of Chakrasamvara in Tibetan Buddhism, the cradle of the indigenous religion Bon, Mt. Kailash is also where Shiva resided, in the ancient myths of Hinduism. The great master of old Jainism was told by legend to be enlightened here. Thus, Mt. Kailash has been looked upon as the center of the world and the holiest mountain for the four religions.
Because of firm belief, never has ended the pilgrimage journey towards Mt. Kailash. Because of pure reverence, never has Mt. Kailash been treaded. Pilgrims traveled thousands of kilometers to complete the kora of 52km, prostrating and praying wholeheartedly. What makes Mt. Kailash a destination for you in spite of the distance and the harshness of the environment? The answer in your heart would lead you close to Mt. Kailash. And we are here to do our part with sincere help.
The 3-day kora around the scared Mt. Kailash is one of the world’s great pilgrimages. There is amazing alpine scenery along the trek. Our classic group tours to Mt. Kailash start from the capital city Lhasa, and then travel along Shigatse, Everest Base Camp, Lake Manasarovar. Doing kora at Saga Dawa Festival is an extra bonus with the special flagpole rising ceremony.
Mt. Kailash tour is a memorable experience like once in a life time. There are optional ways to travel to Mt. Kailash, and our private tours heading to Mt. Kailash enable tourists to start from Lhasa, Xinjiang or Nepal either by flight or by overland. With more flexible schedule and itinerary, this wonderful trip integrates both the cultural and spiritual aspects of Tibet.
1. Where is Mt. Kailash?
Mount Kailash, named Gang Rinpoche in Tibetan, is a peak of the Gangdisê Trans-Himalayas mountain range in Tibet Autonomous Region, China. Situated in north of Lake Rakshastal (Lhanag-tso) and Lake Manasarovar (Mapam Yumco), near the border of Nepal and India. Mt. Kailash is 1200km from Lhasa, it’s the origin source of some of the most vital rivers in Asia, such as the Indus, and the Brahmaputra.
2. Why is Mt. Kailash sacred?
Tibet’s Mt. Kailash is definitely one of the world’s most sacred places both on geography and mythology. As for height, it can not surpass the Everest but what makes Kailash outstanding is the Pyramid shaped summit with four steep faces matching the cardinal points of the compass. For the four religions of Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Tibetan Bön religion, Mt. Kailash is the spiritual epicenter. Tibetan Buddhist regard Mount Kailash as the residence of tantric meditational divinity Demchog. Hindus think Kailash the throne of the great god Shiva while Jains conceive Kailash the place where their initial follower get enlightenment. The Bönpo, the indigenous religion before Buddhism predominate in Tibet, also worship Mount Kailash.
3. What are the permits required for visiting Mt. Kailash?
Ngari area is located in the northwest of Tibet, being adjacent to Nepal, Kashmir and India. Therefore, besides the Tibet travel permit, you also need Alien’s Travel Permit, Foreign Affairs Permit and the Military Entry Permit. After you confirm the tour booking with us, we will arrange all the necessary documents accordingly, all that you need to do is send your trip advisor the necessary documents like the copies of your passport and Chinese visa, and GoToTibet.com will do the rest of the job.
4. What is Mt. Kailash Kora? Inner Kora and Outer Kora?
Kailash Kora is a walk circling the sacred Mt. Kailash. For the pilgrims, this will eliminate guilt and bring good luck to them. Normally pilgrims do the outer Kora since it is said that people cannot do the inner Kora unless they finished the outer kora for 13 times. The outer Kora is circling the Mt. Kailash while the inner Kora is around the Yinjietuo Mountain which is the south side of Mt. Kailash. The outer Kora involves a trekking of 52km and includes the pass at the height of 5600 meters.
5. Can I do a Kailash tour within 5 days?
Theoretically, it is possible to do a Mt. Kailash tour in 5 days if you enter Tibet from Kathmandu via Gyirong border. But please kindly note if you travel to Kailash from Kathmandu, Nepal, it takes at least 3 working days for you to get a Chinese Group Visa in Kathmandu. Besides, you need one day to travel from Kathmandu to Gyirong border, and there is another day needed to drive from Gyirong to Darchen where the Kailash Kora begins. To finish the kora, 3 days are needed. Then we need another one day to drive you back to Gyirong border. Hence, you need to set aside at least 10 days for the Kailash Kora.
6. When is the best season for Mt. Kailash tour?
Because of the high altitude of Ngari area, winter (November to March) is not a good time for Mt. Kailash tour. The roads there might be snow-covered thus driving there is not possible. To do the Kailash Kora in winter is a bold try considering the heavy snow and harsh wind, actually the road to Mt. Kailash is usually blocked in winter. From May to October, the weather is nice for Kailash tour. Among them, July and August is the rainy season and the peak season for Chinese tourists because of the summer holiday. If it is applicable, avoiding these two months would be a wise decision. To sum it up, May, June, September and early October will be the best time for Kailash tour. Besides, the very important Saga Dawa Festival is held in May or June every year. This is the biggest celebration at Mt. Kailash. If you plan to travel during this period, make sure to book as early as possible since there will be many Tibetan and hindus pilgrims come to worship too.
7. Do I need to take sleeping bags for Kailash Kora? Will we sleep in tents?
There are local guesthouses available so no need to camp. It is much warmer to stay in a room instead of a tent. The guesthouse owners prepared enough warm woolen blanket for tourists’ use. The blankets might not newly changed since it is not quite convenient for laundry, but they are fairly clean. Considering the long distance and high altitude, you are suggested to travel light. If you do want to take your own sleeping bags or other personal necessities, it would be more convenient for you to rent a yak or porter for carrying the stuff for you.
8. Should I worry about the altitude sickness while stay overnight in Mt. Kailash?
Normally, we stay in Lhasa for 2 or 3 days then head toward Mt. Kailash. Before arrive in Ngari area, we already spent at least 5 nights in high altitude area. According to the previous experience, we should have gotten accustomed to the altitude already. The highest point of the Kailash Kora is 5600m (Drolma La Pass). It is the most difficult part of the kora but then it’s downhill all the way, you will stay overnight at a lower altitude place. The air was extremely dry and dehydration would increase the chance of altitude sickness, that’s why you are suggested to travel light, drink much water and ascend slowly.
9. Why GoToTibet.com cannot arrange Mt. Kailash tours for Indian citizens?
GoToTibet.com can arrange tours for Indian tourists except for tour packages to Mt. Kailash. According to the tourism policy, Indian pilgrims should travel with pilgrim center for visiting Kailash. The tour groups will enter Tibet from Purang and exit here after the Kailash pilgrimage tour.
10. What do we eat during the Kailash Kora?
There is not much food choices while you do the Kailash Kora. You can buy yak butter tea, instant noodles, and sometimes pancakes could be ordered in the tent guesthouses. It will be wise to prepare some beef jerky, chocolate, sneakers or candies beforehand.
11. Why horse year is special for Kailash Kora?
It is said that Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism was born in horse year. According to the legend, one circle of the kora in Tibetan horse year is equal to 12 circulations in normal years. It will better purify your sin and achieve more blessing for you.
12. Is the Kailash Kora a must thing to do? Or can I just travel there in a van?
No, doing the kora is not a MUST. You can just travel there in a van and travel to Darchen, which is the start point of the Mt. Kailash Kora. It is OK to enjoy the beauty of the mountain from afar or revere at the foot of Mt. Kailash. You might be interested in visiting the Tirthapuri Hotsprings in the northwest of Mt.Kailash or the Guge Kingdom Ruins in the southwest.
13. How hard is the kora? Is it suitable for senior citizens?
The outer kora is 52km in total with the highest altitude of 5600m at Droma La Pass. Some local Tibetans could finish the tour in 2 days, but it usually requires 3 days for the tourists. After several nights in Lhasa and other areas of Tibet, the altitude should not be a big problem if the tourists do not have some health problems. We have many tourists at their age of over 70’s traveled with us and fulfilled the kora without any problem. It is also suggested that you consult your doctor for some professional advice, some necessary commonly used drugs or prescribed medicine just in case.
14. Can I travel to Mt. Kailash from Kashgar?
Yes, it is no problem to arrange the tour from Kashgar to Mt. Kailash. Our driver and guide can meet you in Kashgar and then accompany you all the way to Kailash and Lhasa. Because of the high altitude in Ngari area where the Mt. Kailash is located. The best travel time is from May to October. In winter, the road would usually be frozen or blocked by the heavy snow. So it is not possible to drive through because of the dangerous icy road.
15. Do I have to join in a group for Mt. Kailash tour?
You have to be accompanied by a guide in Tibet including the Mt. Kailash area but it is not necessary to travel with a group. If you like to have a more flexible trip or travel at your own pace, it is a good idea to book a private tour with us. You would have a guide and driver at your own disposal, but if you are only 1 or 2 people, then joining a group will make the tour more affordable.
16. How is the road condition in Ngari?
From Lhasa to Ngari area, we will drive mainly along National Highway 219, most of the way to Mt. Kailash is asphalt road in good condition. Only very few sections are still under construction or dirt or cobblestone paved. Generally speaking, the traffic and road condition in Ngari area has greatly improved comparing with years before, hence the requirements for vehicles became not that harsh, even mini van or coach could still make it to Mt. Kailash without any problem.
17. How is the accommodation condition in Ngari area?
Comfortable hotels can be booked in Puran, Zhada, Darchen, or Shiquanhe town. But not many hotel choices in remote places. The power supply is not very stable, sometimes only a few hours power provided in local hotel or guesthouse, not to mention the air conditioner or heat. Also the local hostels do not even have electricity at all. So we suggest that you make sure to bring wind-proof warm coat when you travel to Ngari.
18. How’s the medical condition in Ngari area?
The medical conditions in remote places like Everest scenic area or Ngari area is not good. No hospital or clinic can be found nearby. We suggest you prepare some medicines for cold, pain, carsick or diarrhea. Also there are some wild dogs wondering on the road, so when you stay overnight no matter in Shigatse, Tingri or Rongbuk Monastery, please do not walk to those places with few people, and always pay attention to the wild dogs.