Widely known for the best divine experience in Tibet, Mt. Kailash, located in the far west of Tibet, has remained the ultimate destination for the pilgrimage to Buddhists, Jainists, Hinduists and Bönists. Every year, a great number of pilgrims and worldwide tourists flock to this holy mountain for a lifetime experience.
To enjoy the best spiritual walk, visiting Mount Kailash at the right time matters a great deal. It’s especially true for challenging the tough environment around Mt. Kailash, given the extreme altitude, thin air and arduous long walk in the mountain trails. Of all the great times to visit Mt. Kailash, Saga Dawa Festival is definitely the most ideal time for visiting Mt. Kailash. And there are great reasons.
Best Mount Kailash Trekking Seasons in General
The best time to trek around Mount Kailash is from mid-April to mid-October, especially from mid-April to June and from September to early October. In the summertime, usually from mid-April to August, the temperature raises up to around 15°C on average, which is quite pleasant for outdoor trekking around the mountain. Also, the pasture turns green, and you can see yaks and sheep raised by the local pastoralists are grazing on the grassland. During this time, with less rainfall, you can also get a clear view of Mount Kailash.
Autumn is another good season to do the Mount Kailash Kora. The average temperature drops down to around 10°C and the grassland turns to be gold. Although the scenery is not as lush as in the summertime, it is still a good time to see the majestic Mount Kailash.
There is no obvious spring here. In the remote area of Mount Kailash, at such a high altitude (with an average altitude of 4500m above the sea level), the winter is quite long and cold. Many guesthouses in the town are closed for the cold weather and the road leading to the mountain area may be blocked by heavy snow in winter. That’s why from Late-October to early April, almost nobody does the kora around the mountain.
Saga Dawa Festival: The Best of the Best Time for Mt. Kailash Kora
Mount Kailash, the holiest mountain in four religions, is not only a popular scenic landmark for Tibet tours, but also a holy destination for local pilgrims. So the best time to experience the spiritual atmosphere as well as enjoy the beautiful landscape of Mount Kailash is during Saga Dawa Festival in summer.
Saga Dawa Festival, the most important religious festival in Tibet, is held on April 15th in Tibetan Calendar and usually continues to celebrate for a month. The name ‘Saga Dawa’ means ‘the Fourth month’ in Tibetan. It is said that April 15th is the day of the birth, enlightenment and death of Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. And in fact, the celebration of Saga Dawa Festival keeps for a whole month at Mount Kailash area. And the full moon day of the fourth Tibetan Lunar month is the most important day during the whole festival.
On that day, the local Tibetans will erect a new huge flagpole on the Kora, for the best wishes of this year. And there are many other events held in this area, which offer tourists a great chance to experience an authentic festival atmosphere with the locals.
Visit Mt. Kailash in Saga Dawa in May 29th, 2018
In 2018, the Saga Dawa festival was held on May 29th. On that day, you could witness the most important flagpole replacing event of Saga Dawa festival. Every year, a new flagpole would be erected in the place on the way of the Kailash Kora to replace the old one. Once the new flagpole stood upright successfully, tourists and pilgrims could attach their own prayer flags to the pole, wishing for the good luck for this year.
Besides the flagpole standing event, there were local Tibetans playing traditional Tibetan instruments all the time. In this atmosphere of great celebration, you could follow the locals walking around the flagpole and throwing longda, pieces of prayer paper with Buddhist scriptures on them, into the air.
Of course, a holy Kora around Mount Kailash was another important thing to experience during the Saga Dawa festival. Following the local pilgrims, the trekking around Mount Kailash on that day was not only an outdoor activity, but also a spiritual journey. Joining in the local pilgrims from all over Tibet, you walked along the trail left by the former pilgrims for centuries, and the landscape you saw along the way appeared more sacred than usual.
If you missed the full moon day of this year, you can still experience the festival events from now to June 29th. And if you want more travel information about visiting Mount Kailash in Saga Dawa festival or you are going to plan your Saga Dawa festival trip in Mount Kailash in 2019, please feel free to contact us. We are glad to help you arrange your lifetime trip to join in this great Tibetan festival.
Travel Tips for Visit Mount Kailash in Saga Dawa Festival
1. To visit Mount Kailash, you need to apply for Tibet Travel Permit, Aliens’ Travel Permit and Military Permit before you go. And our travel consultants will help you get all of them. – Know more about Mount Kailash Travel Permit for Foreign Tourists and Indians
2. You can take an overland trip from Lhasa to Mount Kailash area via Shigatse and Mount Everest area. Then your long tour can combine the best Himalayan scenery at EBC with the incredible spiritual walk around Mt. Kailash, which is highly recommended.
3. It is suggested to arrange your Mount Kailash tour in Saga Dawa Festival as early as possible. Since it is a grand festival for the locals and tourists from all over the world, the earlier you reserve, the better accommodation and transportation arrangements you can get.
4. The living condition in Mount Kailash area is quite basic. You can stay in the guesthouses in the local villages before and after your kora. During the kora, there are some monasteries offering guesthouses for pilgrims and tourists. And you may also need to camp on the way.
5. Though it is in the summertime, you need to bring warm clothes with you for the night is still cold at such a high altitude area.
6. There are some tent restaurants along the trekking trail, where you can buy simple food and drinks, such as traditional Tibetan butter tea and instant noodles. You can prepare some high energy food like chocolate, nuts, beef jerky and so on.