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Mount Kailash

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Mount Kailash ( Tibetan: Kang Rinpoche) is a sacred mountain in the far west of Tibet.


Chortens and Mount Kailash

This Mountain is considered holy by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. In ancient texts, it is referred to as the center of the world. The reason can be understood from the geographical significance of it's place: within 30 miles radius, are the sources of mighty rivers Indus (north called "Sindhu" in India), Sutlej (in west), Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsang-po in east), and Karnali (largest tributary to the Ganges in south). According to the religious belief, most sacred and worthy time to make the Mt.Kailash pilgrimage is in the year of horse, as this holy site is believe to be opened first for pilgrims in the year of horse, and 2014 is horse year and happens once in twelve years, so there would have hundreds of pilgrims gather at the Mt.Kailash and carry their ritual ceremony.


Hindus regard the peak as Shiva's symbolic 'Lingam'and worship Mt Kailash, which is the Sanskrit name for the mountain. Bonpos believe the sacred mountain to be the place where the founder of the Bon religion landed when he descended from the sky. Tibetan Buddhists believe Kang Rinpoche, which means Precious Snow Mountain, is a natural mandala representing the Buddhist cosmology on the earth and the Jains believe this is the place where their religion's founder was spiritually awakened. According to Sadhguru this is the place where most of the ancient yogis put down their wisdom.


Flora and fauna[edit]


It is generally cool during nights and warm during days at Mt. Kailash.

Summers (May to August) are very pleasant with moderate climate, with average around 15°C. Summers is ideal for all outdoor activities, temple visit, dip in holy waters and also for visiting nearby attractions. A grand religious festival Saga Dawa Festival is usually held at Mt. Kailash around May and June each year.

Monsoons (September to November) are accompanied with little rain falls and also temperature drops down to 10°C.

Winters (December to April) are chilly days with average minimum touching near 5°C. Minimum can touch sub zero levels to -15°C. Snow falls often during winters. The best season to visit Kailash Mansarovar is from May to November.

May to November offers cool and pleasant climate and the right period to spend meditation and also good for visiting temples in and around. December to April is snow bound and chilly. Tourists typically keep off chilly snow bound days in winters.


According to the scriptures of Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, and Bon Religion, Mt. Kailash is the most sacred mountain and the center of the world as well. If you make a circle trek around it, your sin could be erased. So, the devotees will go to Mt. Kailash at least once in a lifetime. The best time to do a Kailash kora tour is from April to mid-June and September to mid-October. Because the weather is good, and no rainy days.

Get in[edit]

There are only four land routes to reach Mt. Kailash.

The Indian government facilitates travel to Kailash-Mansarovar each year in the summer months. All arrangements for permits, etc are duly made. Please refer

  • From Shigatse (accessible from Lhasa or Kathmandu) - Saga - Manasarovar (4 days on a hired jeep, longer by a combination of public transportation and hitch-hiking) or Shigatse - Ngari - Darchen (6 days on a jeep)
  • from Kashgar via Ngari
  • from Simikot/Hilsa in Nepal via Purang (helicopter ride to Hilsa makes it fast but expensive)

The entry point for Mt. Kailash is Darchen. Located right in front of Mt Kailash, this is the starting point for pilgrims going on the Khora.


Y50 per person no matter how many times they circumambulate the mountain on one visit. Porters or yaks will cost about Y65 per day.

Apart from the Entry Permit for Tibet, which is issued by Tibet Tourism Bureau, for the trip to Mt.Kailash, the visitors need other 3 permits, Alien’s travel Permit and Foreign affairs permit, military area entry permission, which are issued by different part of government. For all the permits, local travel agency will apply for it at a time on behalf of tourists.

As Mt.kailash is located in Tibet and all the permit formalities to visit the area is exactly same as other Tibet tours, so you can only obtain all the travel permits from a Tibet local authorized tour company. Tibet Permits may also be arranged through providers in the original country of departure or residence.

As Kailash is also very holy place for Hinduism in India, every year there are thousands of Indian pilgrims making their spiritual journey to Kailash, but their permit formalities are different from other nationalities, only China Indian pilgrimage center office operates the Kailash tour for Indian pilgrims.

Since 2008, Tibet travel permit situation is changing time to time without prior notice, so it is highly recommended to know the latest Tibet travel permit situation while you planing your visit to Tibet

Get around[edit]

The main attraction of the mountain is the pilgrimage circuit around the mountain. It normally takes 3 days and should only be undertaken by the well-prepared and fit.


  • Mt Kailash Kora (Pilgrimage Circuit) - A pilgrimage to Mt Kailash involves nothing more or less than making circuits around the sacred mountain. The Outer Pilgrimage Circuit (Chikhor) is about 52km, and Tibetans can complete a circuit in a day. The majority of pilgrims try for 13 circuits, if they can. Some pilgrims do a circuit performing Kyangcha (Prostration). While the average circuit takes about 14 hours to complete, those doing prostration can take a couple of weeks. Those seeking to secure their path to enlightenment try for 108 circuits. Buddhists and Hindus travel clockwise around the mountain while Bonpos travel counter-clockwise. Most travelers take three days to complete a circuit.
  • Day 1 - Darchen - Drirapuk Gompa
Darchen - Chogu (Chuku) Gompa (3-4 hrs), Chogu (Chuku) Gompa - Drirapuk Gompa (3-4 hrs)
  • Day 2 - Drirapuk Gompa - Dolma La - Zutrulpuk Gompa
Drirapuk Gompa - Zutrulpuk Gompa (7-8 hrs)
  • Day 3 - Zutrulpuk Gompa - Darchen
Zutrulpuk Gompa - Darchen (3 hrs)
  • Lake Manasarovar Kora (Pilgrimage Cicuit) - Together with Mt Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a pilgrimage site. There is a pilgrimage path around the lake and a circuit is a little over 100km, taking 4-5 days to complete. Chiu Gompa, 30 km south of Darchen, is a good starting point for a circuit around the lake.
  • Day 1 - Chiu Gompa - Langbona Gompa
  • Day 2 - Langbona Gompa - Seralung Gompa
  • Day 3 - Seralung Gompa - Trugo Gompa
  • Day 4 - Trugo Gompa - Chiu Gompa

See[edit][add listing]

  • Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage tour is one of the most demanding and challenging of treks for pilgrims in the world. This is a route opening up unending stretches of barren land, lush green valleys, snow capped peaks and pristine blue lakes. Mt. Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva, and the source of the Brahmaputra, Indus, Sutlej and Karnali. This mount is considered as one of the ten most beautiful mountains in China and a divine mountain universally by people from all over the world. Its shape is like the pyramids in Egypt with four nearly symmetrical sides. Its glistening snow-covered top makes it the most eye-catching one. Around this sacred mountain, there are five temples in total. All the temples are shrouded by mystery and legends.

The peak of the Mt. Kailash is always enveloped by white clouds. Therefore the locals think if someone can clearly view the peak, he or she will be very lucky. For hundreds of years, Mt. Kailash has been an alluring mountain to pilgrims and explorers. However no one has reached its top until now.

  • 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.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Mt. Kailash Khora - the pilgrimage circuit
  • Lake Manasarovar Khora - another pilgrimage circuit

As one of the top three holy lakes in Tibet, Lake Manasarovar is regarded as the cradle of the world’s civilization. It has another name - the Invincible Lake.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Not much choice as the handicrafts (made in china) are duplicates or of no use except giving as gifts to friends.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Along the trekking route, there are local restaurants and guesthouse at the stop of everyday. Now tourists do not need to prepare their own food and tents.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]




Stay safe[edit]

Weather conditions can change rapidly here and you should be prepared for the worst.

It's unlikely you will have problems with the altitude other than shortness of breath, and less energy than you are used to as you will have been at altitude for quite some time just to get here, however altitude sickness is unpredictable, and you should always keep your plans flexible enough to give your self a rest day if needed. Also carry small quantity of clarified butter or ghee to moisten your nostrils, as the air has a drying effect and may cause difficulty in breathing. Another tip is to tie camphor in muslin cloth and tie it in front of your nose, will ease breathing.


  • Do not sit or climb on sacred sites.
  • Pass mani stones to the right.
  • Turn prayer wheels in a clockwise direction.
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