Photography Guide to Mt.Kailash Tour

November,25 2019 BY Lobsang Tsering 0 COMMENTS

North face of Holy Mt Kailas North

North face of Holy Mt Kailas North at Twilight

Holy mount Kailash (6714m or 22,028 feet) is the main peak of the Gangdise mountin that extends one thousand miles. Mt Kailash in Tibetan means “Treasure snow mountain” Which is commonly esteemed as the “King of the holy mountains or the center of the world” in Buddhism, Hinduism, Bon religion and Jainism. During the pilgrimage season, Pilgrims of different religions from Tibet, India, and Nepal form endless streams along the holy mountain roads. It is said that circling round the holy mountain once can wash away all sin in the whole year life.

Pilgrims doing kora around mount kailash

Pilgrims prostrate themselves as they circle the holy Mt. Kailash.

As to landscape and documentary photography, Mt. Kailash offers a variety of subjects to shoot, and is favored by global landscape photographers for its stunning pyramidal-shaped summit covered by perpetual snow. The massive and solemn summit with four steep facades instantly makes you feel great awe for sacredness of this lofty mountain. Besides, the holy mountain is decorated with two mysterious twin lakes (Lake Manasarowar and Lake Rakshastal), which are situated around 20km away from the mountain. The Mt. Kailash is also a great haven for wild donkey, yaks, Tibetan antelopes, swan, and black-necked cranes, etc. In addition, the devout prostrating pilgrims are also a great sight for artistic creation.

Recommended Travel Route:

Mt. Kailash photography route

(click to enlarge the map)

The Mt. Kailash photography route allows tourists to enjoy a visual feast in Tibet.

Highlights of This Photography Tour:

Yamdrok lake:

Yamdrok lake

Winding road beside stunning Yamdrok lake

Known for its turquoise water and picturesque winding road along the lake, Yamdrok lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. The grazing yaks, horses, and Tibetan nomads’ tent scattered around the lake offer unparalleled pastoral scene for various photographers.

The best place to shoot the panorama of Yamdrok Lake will be the Gamba La pass where you can document the greenish-blue lake with different layers and snow-capped mountain vista afar. In addition, the lakeside winding road is also a great option to have some close-up shots of the lake.

The Best time to shoot Yamdrok Lake is in spring and autumn when visibility is extremely high and the crystal clear lake reflects dazzling sunlight. If you have enough time camp around the lake, then the sunset and sunrise of the lake would be something you couldn’t afford to miss.

Mt. Kailash(6714m):

show respect to mount kailash

Photographers show their respect to sacred Mt. Kailash.

Although the best season to do Mt. Kailash Kora (religious circling around sacred mountains and lakes) comes from April to October, but the best time to shoot Mt. Kailash is normally considered to be in spring and autumn when the view of the holy mountain will not be blocked by dense clouds. And the sunset would be a preferable moment to press your shuttle button as the glowing twilight casted on the summit of Mt. Kailash really brings out the sacredness of the mountain.

Recommended places would be Lha Chu valley, which is 8km away from Mt. Kailash. Photographers can use steep cliff of the valley and prayer flags and zigzag river bed as foreground to shoot magnificent Mt. Kailash. Another great place to shoot the scenery of Mt. Kailash at sunset is Dirapuk Monastery. Besides, Mt. Nemo Nanyi (7728m) at the opposite of Mt. Kailash is also a choice for photography.

Photography Tips:

a.The travel documents you need include (foreign tourists):

Tibet Travel Permit

Alien’s Permit

Military Permit

Foreign Affairs Permit

b.The weather in Mt. Kailash region is constantly changing. Do check the latest weather report and take proper cloths to keep warm.

c.Medicines for altitude sickness are highly recommended.
Sun glasses, sun cream, lip balm, snug hat are needed to shield you from strong ultraviolent radiation and freezing wind.

d.It would be wise to travel light with only the necessary gears. If you have to carry heavy gears and travel on foot for days, you are advised to hire yaks and porters to make it easier.

Holy Lake Manasarova

Lake Manasarova

Lake Manasarova and Mt. Kailash

Manasarova Lake is the highest fresh water lake with an average attitude of 4587 meters, covering an area of 412 square kilometers. The sacred lake is the frequently-visited attraction for pilgrims of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bon. There are five Buddhism temples and four bath pavilions around the sacred lake.

Jiwu temple

Chiu Monastery, to the northwest of the lake Manasarova

Amid the temples around Lake Manasarova, two are generally believed to be the favored options for photography. One is the Chiu Monastery, located to the northwest of the lake Manasarova where fluttering prayer flags, piles of Marnyi stones and yak bones are best subjects to be used as the foreground for holy Lake Manasarova. To the north of Chiu Monastery lies a slope that leads to some small white stupas which can also be used as a foreground for Mt. Kailash.  

The best time to take photos would be at twilight. You will see herdsmen herding the sheep and yaks back home in stunning sunlight. You can also stroll around 1km north of Jiwu Temple where you can see Mount Memo Nani from(7694m) afar, the highest mountain in Ngari Region.

The other place is Chugu Temple, to the south of Lake Manasarova, which is known as the best place to shoot the visually overlapping part of Lake Manasarova and Mt. Kailash. The best moment to take photos comes at sunrise and sunset. 

Photography Tips:

Lake Rakshastal

As Lake Manasarova is adjacent to its twin lake “Lake Rakshastal”, you may use an ultra –wide lens to have a panorama of Mt. Memo Nani and Lake Rakshastal at the roadside of highway from Burang to Pulan. The juxtaposition of deep-blue lake, golden sand dunes and sacred Mt. Kailash afar will make an engaging photo.

Tsada Clay Forest:

 Clay Forest

Take a glimpse of the panorama of Clay Forest

The crust moment of the Himalayas leads to the formation of magnificent Clay Forest in Tsada. Meanwhile, Tsada county is also the source of Guge Kingdom and Zhuang zhuang culture. It is the essential place for photography in Ngari region. Normally, one will spend around 4 days here to have all their shots taken.

Before moving into the valley of Clay Forest, tourists can take the panorama of Tsada Clay Forest and snow-capped Himalayas at the top of valley, 22km away from the town of Tsada. The sunset will be the best moment to take photos as the saturated sunlight casts a golden veil on clay forest.

Photography Tips:

guge kingdom

Ruins of Guge Kingdom

Guge Kingdom, the neighbor of Clay Forest, is also one of the major tourists’ draw. You may firstly visit the Guge Kingdom in the afternoon, and then wait till sunset to get the stunning photos of this lost civilization.

Lobsang Tsering

About the Author - Lobsang Tsering

I am a tour guide in Tibet an was Born in Kham Tibet, I am the father of 2 little girls, bachelor's degree. I have more than 7-years experience of being a tour guide in Tibet. I am a warm, friendly, knowledgeable and attractive guy.

Email me about your travel idea

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