Mt. Kailash Circumbulance & Manasarovar Lake Tour/Trek
(Zhangmu / Kailash / Zhangmu - 21 Days)
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you are a group of six or more, then we will customise your travel
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Tibet - An Introduction
TIBET - a sacred land of myths and mysteries inhabited by the ever smiling people, has not only exerted a magnetic pull upon travelers for centuries but also spies, missionaries, scholars, geographers, mystics, soldiers and cranks, etc. Yet, few intrepid, serious and determined have been able to make it.
TIBET was opened to tourism in 1985. Before this, it avoided influence from the West and this country developed its unique culture and religion independently. Since Tibet was governed by spiritual leaders, monasteries and religious institutions were the backbone of power so the importance and prestige were shown by the size and magnificent architecture of these buildings. Tibetan Buddhism contains many elements of their older religion, "Bon Po" which worshipped the sky, moon, sun, fire, soil and even evil spirits and this is why a monastery such as Tashilhunpo contains thousands of unique statues, paintings (thangka), religious and historical books, that to visit in detail would take weeks. The Monasteries are crowded by pilgrims who often travel long distances to fulfill their vows and wishes and their emotions show that religion still holds a very important place in their daily lives.
TIBET- extremely remote and isolated by the most formidable Himalayan ranges is a fascinating world of timeless splendor, unique tradition and breathtaking scenery awaits all travelers to the Roof of the World.
In the hundred ages of the gods I could not tell the glories of (the Himalayas) ..
There is no mountain like (the Himalayas) for in it are Kailash and Manasarovar.
From the Hindu epic RAMAYANA
Features: Mt. Kailash (6741 m) is perhaps the most sacred of Holy Mountains in Tibet. Together with the two lakes of Mansarovar & Rakas, the region is one of the few truly nature wonders of the world. Three of the orient's greatest rivers; the Brahmaputra, the Sutlej, and the Indus, all take their sources within a hundred kilometers of this "Snow Capped Jewel" which has attracted Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bon-pos from the four corners of Asia for centuries. Mt. Kailash - also known as Tise or Khang Rimpoche (Jewel of the Snow), has since time immemorial been celebrated in many eastern cosmologies as MT. MERU, the axis mundi (the center of the physical and metaphysical universe). For Hindus, it represents the abode of Lord Shiva and for the Buddhists, a terrestrial projection of the cosmic mandala of the Five Dhyani Buddhas & The Wheel of life.
People believe that a single Kora or Parikrama washes away the sins of a lifetime and Buddhists believe that 108 circuits secure Nirvana in this life. On the trek, one may encounter Bon Pilgrims circling the route counter clockwise or the very devoted continually prostrate themselves along the whole 32.5 miles loop. There is also the inner Kora that passes two lakes to the south of Mt. Kailash. Tradition dictates that only those who have made 13 circumambulation of Kailash may follow this inner route. The mouth of the four great rivers are within 100 Km of the mountain - Indus, Brahamaputra, Sutlej and Karnali, are major tributaries of the Ganges. The Mt. Kailash circuit is 32.5 miles of strenuous trails which crosses the Dolma La. This pass is the route highest point at 18,525 ft. At a large boulder is a collection of offerings where pilgrims traditionally deposit one item and take another.
Although the journey entails long rides by 4 WHD vehicles over Tibets great western plateau through a region inhabited by few wild animals, holy lakes and the occasional nomad, this tour involves a four day trek with yaks in the remotest part around MT KAILASH and offers the most fascinating experience on the Roof of the World.
About our partners: Spiritual Journeys, Inc. is partnered with a ten-year old company, and has earned itself the reputation as one of the well established Adventure Travel Agencies in the Kingdom of Nepal. Their expertise in the fields of Eco-Tourism, Medical Treks, Special Interest Tours (Archaeological, Historical and Ethnic Culture), Treks and Tours for the Blind and Physically Handicapped clients have been well regarded.
They was the official ground handling and expedition organizer for the E3 1998 (Everest Extreme Expedition a high altitude medical research expedition to Mt. Everest) participated by YALE University, NASA, MIT and Explorers club and E3 1999 (participated by YALE University, NASA, Explorers club, St. Charles Hospital-USA, Olympus Camera America & Millenium HealthCare solutions). Further, besides the normal tours and trekking in Tibet, they operate pilgrimage tours and treks to the fabled Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansarovar in Tibet and are beginning to organize regular tours and treks to this area.
This company has maintained its high quality personalized services and stability in operations by offering a wide range of comprehensive tour and trekking arrangements. With years of knowledge in field operations and purchase of the most modern camping equipment, they present Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim (India) through trekking, mountaineering, river rafting, cruise & camping tours, wildlife safaris, study tours, exotic cultural tours and incentive tour programs. Their tours are escorted by qualified Tour Escorts and experienced Adventure Guides who have had their basic training in First-Aid course including Hygiene Physiology and training in Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). They are well conversant in English with a sound knowledge of Eastern and Western Traits and Mannerism with many years of first hand experience in Adventure tourism.
Visa Requirements: For a visa for Tibet, we advise you not to get your visa from your home Country if you are travelling through Nepal as it will have to be endorsed at the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Therefore we suggest that you and the entire group should be in Kathmandu at least 3 full working days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday are working days) days prior to commencing the trip. We will need to send all passport details to Tibet Travel Bureau (TTB) in Lhasa and our agent in Lhasa will follow up and send us the clearance code along with the approved details of the clients. The TTB in turn will send the same copy to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Then we take the passports and application forms to the Embassy in Kathmandu compare the list, pay the visa fees and then get a visa 2 days later. This is the system. Thus we need your accurate and complete details otherwise the visa process is delayed.
Note: Journalists and Diplomats are now allowed to travel on a normal Tourist Visa. Their visa authorization must come directly from Beijing and so we cannot accept them on our normal tours unless they have a clearance from Beijing.
Altitude & Health Tips: Traveling in Tibet is an adventure involving high altitude and could be strenuous. While most visitors have only minor effects from the altitude, we specially advice the guest with known heart or lungs or blood diseases to consult their doctors before traveling. Mild headache, fever, loss of appetite or stomach disorder can take place in a process of acclimatization.
Our advice for better acclimatization is to drink 4 ltr of water minimum a day, not exhaust yourself, and breathe deep and take more than usual amount of rest. A warm jacket or sweater with sunglasses, chap-sticks, suntan lotion, Swiss knife, water bottle, and a small medical kit, etc are always advised.
Best Season to Travel: We suggest that the best season is from May to August when you will need to wear light clothing, though the nights can become slightly chilly. The temperature will decrease substantially as you go up in height.
Risk and Liability: Spiritual Journeys, Inc. always puts its efforts to make your journey smooth and pleasant. However as all Tibet tours are run strictly under Tibet Tourism Authority, Spiritual Journeys, Inc. or its agents shall not be responsible for any change or cancellation of programs due to unavoidable circumstances such as road blockade, flood, snow, unrest, cancellation of flight, delay arrival of clients, sickness or accidents breakdown of vehicles. Any extra cost incurring thereof shall be borne by the clients on the spot. It is most advisable that clients to have full insurance against medical and personal accident risks. A cancellation insurance is highly recommended.
Booking Requirements: You will need the following:
Day 1: Leave the Americas.
Day 2: Leave Europe. Arrive Delhi, at night. Representatives of Spiritual Journeys, Inc. will meet you and escort you to your hotel. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 3: After breakfast, leave for Khatmandu, and arrive. Overnight in Khatmandu.
Day 4: At leisure in Khatmandu. Obtain Chinese Visa. Overnight: Hotel in Khatmandu.
Day 5: Local sightseeing in Khatmandu. Awaiting Chinese Visa. Overnight: Hotel in Khatmandu.
Day 05: Rest day at Nyalam for acclimatization.
Day 8: Drive from Nyalam to Saga (4300m) 291km via Lalunala Pass, lake Paigu Tso and Brahmaputra River. Because of the scarcity of camping sites in and around the village, we continue further driving for another 45 minutes to arrive at a beautiful campsite located close to the Saga river. Overnight at the Camp.
Day 9: Drive from Saga via New Zongba,(4360m) 160 km to Paryang. The Yak hotel is the only livable hotel with dormitory style accommodations, but because of the frequent use of the lodge facilities by pilgrims and lack of water supply, the amenities are very dirty and basic. For camping groups, there are beautiful campsites along the Paryang river another 30 minutes beyond the village. Overnight at the Camp.
Day 10: Drive from Paryang to Lake Manasarovar (5410m) via Mayum La (5151 m) Driving past Kongyu Tso through the village of Thongchen to camp near the Chiu monastery. (Lake Manasarovar, Hindus believe, was created by Brahma as reflection of the depth of his soul-manas and represents the female energy of Yoni of the Universe, while Mt. Kailash symbolizes the male energy of the Lingum. At 14459 ft. Lake Manasarovar is the highest body of fresh water in the world. Holy to Buddhists alike, it was once surrounded by 8 monasteries. Buddhist believes in Queen Maya, Buddha's mother was carried here by the gods and some of Mahatma Gandhi's ash was carried here from India and scattered in the Lake. Overnight at the Camp.
Day 11: Rest and explore Manasarovar Lake. Overnight at the Camp.
Day 12: Drive from Manasarovar to Darchen (4560m). 1½-2 hrs. to commence the circumambulation around Mt. Kailash. It is the most sacred mountain in Asia. It is believed to be the physical embodiment of the mythical Mount Meru, said to be the center of the universe or navel of the world. Mt. Meru is often depicted as a mandala and its image occurs throughout Buddhist and Hindu parts of Asia. Images of Mt. Meru occur as far away as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobadur in Indonesia. The circumambulation of Mt. Kailash (6714 m/22,028 feet) is an important pilgrimage for religions. To Hindus, Kailash is the abode of Shiva, Tibetans call it Kang Rimpoche; Jains worship it as Mt. Asthapada, the peak from which the religion founder, Rishabanatha achieved spiritual liberation. Followers of Bon Po, the ancient pre Buddhist shamanistic religion of Tibet revere Kailash as the soul of Tibet. The circumambulation to the Hindus and Jains is known as Parikrama and Buddhists call it Kora. Tibetans often make the 52 kilometer circuit in a single day but the Indian Yatrees do it in three but this is also rushed. A four day trek is more enjoyable and rewarding.
Head west from the enclosed compound of Darchen leaving behind the village high above the Barkha plain and after 1 ½ Hrs. climb up to a series of prayer flags at 4730m from where you should have the first great views of Mt. Kailash. This is the first site of prostration known as Chaktsal-Gang. This is the first of the four chaktsal gang on the Kora and offers an excellent view of the peak. Then head north up the Lha Chu valley and descend to , a tall pole adorned with prayer flags at 4750 meters.
The prayer flags are replaced annually during the Sakya dawa festival on Buddhas birthday, the full moon day during the Tibetan month of May/June. Nearby is the ChortenKangni. It is considered an auspicious act to pass through the small archway formed by the two legs of this Chorten. The trail continues across the plain to Shersong and after about an hour arrive at the bridge leading to the Nyanri Gompa, perched high on the hillside above. All the monasteries on the Kailash circuit were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. Nyanri Gompa also known as the Chhuku Gompa because of the image of Chhuku Rimpoche it houses, was the first to be rebuilt and contains a few treasures that were rescued from the original gompas. Trek from Darchen to Chhuku bridge 4 Hrs. and side visit to Chhuku Monastery 30 minutes.
Set the campsite a little further from the bridge. Dinner and Overnight at Camp.
Day 13: Trek from Chhuku Gompa to Drira Phuk 4 Hrs. The normal pilgrims route stays on the east bank of the Lha Chu but for better views of Kailash and generally better Campsites, cross the best bank trail across a scree slopes to arrive at a good camping ground at Damding Donkhang (4890 m) a grassy spot that offers good views of the West face of Mt. Kailash. It is also known as the Valley of yaks as one can see hundreds of Yaks grazing on the meadows. However we continue on further crossing the side streams Belung Chu and Dunglung Chu on rocks as the North face of Kailash comes in view. On the opposite side of the Lha Chu you can see several groups of nomads tending herds of goats and yaks. Pass their tents carefully like most Tibetans they keep ferocious Tibetan mastiff dogs. As one reaches the Gompa and a frugal guest house at Drira Phuk, you are rewarded with a fine view of the North face of Mt. Kailash. The three lower hills in front of Mt. Kailash from this vantage point are the manjushree, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani representing wisdom, kindness and power. The Drira Phuk Gompa was rebuilt in 1985. Dinner and Overnight at the Camp. 5 hrs.
Day 14: Start trek from Drira Phuk and immediately cross the Lha Chu on a wooden bridge. If one continues to trek up the Lha Chu, they would eventually reach the true source of the Indus. The Kora route makes a serious climb on to a moraine eventually meeting the trail from the East bank. The trail now climbs more gently to a meadow full of fat marmots (phiya) at 5212 meters. This is a good campsite that will make the pass crossing easier than to have camped at Drira Phuk but it is dangerous to Camp at higher altitudes because of acclimatization problems. The snow covered pass to the right, the Khado Sanglam is protected by a lion faced Dakini goddess. Pilgrims may cross this difficult pass only on their auspicious 13th circuit of the mountain.
Climb past piles of clothing at Shiva-tsal (5330m) and Tibetans leave an article of clothing or a drop of blood here as part of leaving their past life behind them. Continue past thousands of small rock cairns to a large cairn at 5390 meters passing the Dikpa Karnak, sin testing stone. It is said that those without sin can squeeze through the narrow hole between the boulders while a sinner no matter how small cannot pass through. The trail now leads across a boulder field and climbs through large rocks to a tiny stream. Climb onto a ridge and continue gently on to the Dolma La at 5630 meters.
A big boulder on the pass representing the goddess Dolma (better known by her Sanskrit name Tara) is festooned with prayer flags and streamers. It is traditional to leave and take something as part of the collection of coins, prayer flags, teeth and other offerings attached to the rock. This is the physical and spiritual high point of the Kora. The trail from the west side of the pass is steep and rocky at first and then begins a series of switchbacks as it passes Gauri Kund, the lake of mercy and 5450 meters. Many more switchbacks and steep descents leads to the valley and then further descend for about an hour to arrive alongside the Lham Chhukhir at 5150 meters, the evenings campsite on the banks of a river near Shabje Drakthok. Shabje Drakthok has foot prints on a huge rock which pilgrims believe belong to Lord Buddha. Overnight at the Camp. 7 hrs.
Day 15: Trek from Shabje Drathok along the river, even though the trail is better and less marshy on the other side, it is better to keep to the west side of the river which is actually the main route as it becomes too large below to cross back. Follow the river as the trail makes an uninteresting descent of the valley. When crossing the stream of the Khado sanglam, arrive at another Chaksal Gang, the third prostration point and from which point is the last view of the east face of Mt. Kailash during the circumambulation. After 2 ½-3 hrs arrive at the Zutul-puk Gompa 4790 m where there is a cave in which the saint Milarepa is said to have meditated. Among the miracles he performed were adjusting the height of this cave to make it more comfortable. His footprint still remains on the roof. Trek along the Jhong Chu River to a bridge, cross it and climb a little before descending to 4610 m, the last prostration point (Chaksal Gang) but sadly there are no views of Mt. Kailash but there is a good view of Lake Mansarovar. Vehicles can come up to this point but one can continue on to Darchen to complete the full circle, a trek for about one hour through Mani walls and carved yak skulls will lead you back to Darchen. 5 hrs.
Upon arrival at Darchen, board the waiting vehicles for about two hours drive to the campsite past the settlement of Hor Qu to the northeast corner of the Lake Mansarovar. Overnight at the Camp.
Day 16: Drive from Hor Qu to Paryang. Overnight at the Camp 9 Hrs.
Day 17: Drive from Paryang to Saga. Overnight at the Camp 8 Hrs.
Day 18: Drive from Saga to Zhangmu. Overnight at the Hotel 9 Hrs.
Day 19: After breakfast, complete Chinese border formalities and drive 8 kms. to the Nepal border. Cross the friendship bridge and enter Nepal at Kodari. Complete immigration formalities and board the waiting vehicles for the 5 hour drive to Katmandu. Overnight in Khatmandu.
Day 20: Depart Khatmandu for Delhi. Representatives of Spiritual Journeys, Inc. will meet you and escort you to the International airport for your flight back home this night.
Day 21: Arrive Europe or the Americas.
End of Services Provided by Spiritual Journeys, Inc.
Cost: Contact us for costing as costs depend on time of year to travel and number of people in your party.
Cost Does Not Include:
Deposits And Cancellations:
Responsibility: SJI gives notice that it is acting in the capacity of agent in all matters regarding travel, whether by railroad, motor car, motor boat, boat or airplane, including all matters of reservations, transportation and tour operation, and assumes no liability for injury, damage, loss, delay or irregularities which may be caused either by reason of defect in any vehicle or through the act or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger, or in carrying out the arrangements of the tour or otherwise. We can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services - due to sickness, weather, strike, war, quarantine or other causes or acts of God. Although SJI anticipates no changes in the itineraries or accommodations, etc. the right is reserved to make any changes with or without notice that might become necessary in the best interest of the tour including the substitution of hotels booked if this becomes necessary. In such cases any additional expenses must be borne by the passenger. SJI reserves the right to decline / accept or retain any person as a member of the tour at any time.