Nagri is located in Western Tibet at an average elevation of 4,500m. It is one of those places where there are just endless views and very few people. The entire region sees frequent strong winds and the temperature fluctuated between 0 ℃ to 20 ℃. The air is thin and dry all around the year. But to Tibetan and Indian pilgrims who visit spiritually significant Mt Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, Nagri can be a real treat to travelers who seek the true spiritual significance. The best time to visit Nagri is during May, June, and from mid-September to early-October. Let’s check the top 6 Tibetan experience you must enjoy in Ngari.
Experience the Divine Experience in Mt Kailash Kora
Kora is the act if circumambulating a place of religious significance. Mt Kailash is such a place to people of Bonism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Hindu faiths. Thousands of pilgrims trek around Mt Kailash every year; they make it a point to visit Mt Kailash at least once in their lifetime. Even if you are not a follower of the above-mentioned faiths, Mt Kailash and people’s devotion towards this holy mountain is truly a spectacle to watch and experience.
A lot of seasoned pilgrims finish the trek around the mountain in a day. First timers take 3-days to finish the trek. Some of the highlights during this 3-day Kailash trek are the five monasteries surrounding the mountain – Nyari Monastery, Drirapuk Monastery, Songchu Monastery, Gyangzha Monastery and Thailong Monastery.
Kora day 1: Darchen – Dirapuk Monastery (4,920m)
Kora day 2: Dirapuk Monastery – Zutupluk Monastery (5,600m – 4,800m)
Kora day 3: Zutupluk Monastery – Lake Manasarovar/Darchen (4,500m)
Travel Tips: Get appropriate clothes and shoes for trekking; get waterproof shoes and jackets; get your own walking pole for ease in trekking; make sure you have all the appropriate documents needed, carry small oxygen tanks in case of breathlessness in high altitudes; eat a lot of nuts, chocolates, and high carbon foods for instant energy; hydrate yourself constantly. The best time to visit and trek Mt Kailash are April, May, June, September, and October.
Stroll along the Holy Lake Manasarovar
Located close to the holy Mt Kailash is the holy Lake Manasarovar. It is a huge freshwater lake which is considered to be as holy as the mountain. Pilgrims believe that taking a dip in the lake will wash off the sins of your present and past life. At an altitude of 4,600m, Lake Manasarovar is one of the highest and most beautiful lakes in Tibet. One of the main highlights of the lake is that trekkers can camp along the lake and watch the beautiful sunset and sunrise over the snow-clad mountains. The shades of pristine blues, the greenery surrounding the lake and Himalayan ranges growing across the landscape are some of the factors that add on to the serene elements of the lake. Taking a stroll along this lake in the wee morning or evening hours is a must do.
Travel Tips: Make sure that your camping tents and sleeping bags can protect you against the cold temperatures and are waterproof; get your own toiletries and paper towels as the amenities are very basic there; layer yourself with woollen clothes and jackets to withstand the cold at night; do not litter the camping grounds as the lake and the mountain is a holy ground. The best months to visit Lake Manasarovar are April, May, June, September, and October. Read more about How to Take a Lifetime Kailash Manasarovar Yatra
Explore the Ruins of Guge Kingdom
The Guge Kingdom is one of the ancient civilizations in Tibet; it is located 250km from the capital of Nagri Prefecture, Shiquanhe Town. What is mainly left-over ruins and relics of the past, Guge Kingdom was said to be an advanced civilization that disappeared for unknown reasons. The main palace, some monasteries, rooms, and secret passages have withstood the test of time.
Exploring this Guge Kingdom will definitely be an interesting hike back to the history. Apart from the unique construction style and architecture, you can also see really old artworks in the monasteries. These artworks tell the stories and ways of the life of the locals during that time. There are also 5 temples within the ruins namely the White Temple, Red Temple, Samsara Temple, Imperial Palace and the Assembly Palace. Some of the other highlights include 800 caves, 28 Buddhist Pagodas, close to 450 rooms, and different kinds of burial places and practices.
Travel Tips: If you want to spend the night you have to bring your own tent, there are no guesthouses in this area; the entrance fee is 200 CNY and is open only from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm; the best time to visit Nagri are May, June, September, and October; make sure you also have Aliens Travel Permit, Military Permit to explore Nagri Prefecture. Check the detailed Photographic Guide to Guge Kingdom
Photograph Majestic Zanda Earth Forest
Zanda Earth Forest is the largest tertiary strata of earth forest in the world. It is located in the Zanda County and is one of the most photographed places in Tibet. This vast clay forest overshadowed by golden tones and rugged landscape with earthy hues is worth visiting and photographing a thousand times. The plateau and forests cover several hundred acres filled several shades of earth. You can see several rock formations in different shapes as a result of the movement of the Himalayas and river corrosion over the years. It is said that the formations look like pagodas, warriors, watchtowers, and many other things. The views make you see how small you are really are in this big world. This is a high wind area where the winds are strong even during afternoons and summers. Make sure you have proper protection for your cameras. This forest was classified as National Geological Park in 2007.
Photography Tips: The best time to take pictures is right after and before sunset and sunrise. You can take pictures of this forest from the Zanda Earth Forest Observatory, Guge Kingdom, and Toding Town. To capture the beauty of the forest in the early morning hours you can stay in the guesthouse and hotels in Zanda County. Carry extra batteries for your camera as you can end spending a whole day in the forest and Guge Kingdoms. The best time to visit is spring and autumn months.
Visit Historical Tholing Monastery
Tholing in Tibetan means ‘hovering over the sky forever’, true to its name; Tholing monastery is located at an altitude of 3,800m. It is also the oldest monastery in Nagri Prefecture built by the second king of Guge Kingdom. It is located in the Zanda County near the Ladakh border. The highlight of this monastery is the complex rectangular building and portrait paintings of many Buddhist monks. Many paintings were successfully preserved while somewhere restores. The building was built using red mud bricks. Right now only the Assembly Hall and White Chapel are there in the monastery. Many paintings, buildings, and chambers were destroyed during the revolution. The main highlight is the Yeshe-O Temple, also known as the golden house. After it was demolished, the temple was reconstructed in the shape of a mandala. You can find colorful chortens in each corner of the temple.
Travel Tips: Since it is located in Zanda County, you can visit this along with the Guge Kingdom and the Zanda Forest. It is a short but worthwhile visit. Just a few meters from the monastery is Xiangquan river near which you can find 108 Buddhist towers. There are also some caves near the monastery that are worth exploring. The view behind the monastery is breathtaking. The best time to visit is spring and autumn months.
Enjoy the Exquisite Frescoes in Dungkar & Piyang
Dungkar and Piyang have 1,100-year-old caves filled with informative and eye-opening exquisite frescoes. Although these caves are half ruined, it is nothing short of the wonder. Dungkar caves are located 40kms from the Zanda County. The murals and paintings in the Dungkar caves are the oldest in the Ali prefecture. There is also a temple in Dungkar village which is attributed to the daughter of the second king of Guge Kingdom. Piyang village and caves are just 3km from Dungkar. The caves in Piyang are located at foot of a large ridge. The caves look like a honeycomb from the top. The caves in Piyang also have impressive paintings.
Travel Tips: To visit these caves you have to get a letter of introduction from Culture Affairs Bureau of Zanda. Since Tholing Monastery not very far from Dungkar caves, you can visit these two attractions in one day. While exploring these caves it is best to bring a local guide with you, as it is easy to get lost. The best time to visit is in May, June, September, or October.
These are some of the most popular attractions in Nagri prefecture of Western Tibet. Although it is in a remote location, it has plenty of ancient relics and stories to offer. With over 10 years tour Tibet running experience, Tibet Vista promises you hassle-free Mt.Kailash tour in Tibet. Check the following tours and customize a Kailash trip that works best for you.