Why You Shouldn't Miss Mt.Kailash in Your Tibet Tour?
Tibet is a land of mystery and beauty, and this vast and wild place gives you plenty of interesting things to see. However, while planning your Tibet tour, you cannot miss seeing Mount Kailash. Why?
This incredible mountain rises up over 6600 meters, but has never been climbed before. It is full of mystery, spiritual meaning, and a rich cultural atmosphere. By trekking Mount Kailash, you will experience an essential part of Tibetan culture and religion, while at the same time testing the limits of your physical strength and endurance.
Below, I’ve listed six reasons why you should visit Mount Kailash, as well as some tips for how and when to do so. Get ready for the trek of a lifetime.
Reasons to Visit Mount Kailash:
1. Religious Significance
Mount Kailash has deep meaning for four of the main religions in Tibet (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Bon). As a result, this is the spot where thousands of devout religious people come to make the sacred pilgrimage around the mountain.
There are many interesting beliefs regarding this mysterious mountain. For the Hindus, Mount Kailash is the throne of Shiva, while for the Jains it is the spot where Rishavdev attained Nirvana. In Tibetan Buddhism, the mountain is hailed as the glorious dwelling of Chakra Samvara Demchog and the great Tibetan yogi, Milarepa.
Although the beliefs are different, the result is the same: Mount Kailash is considered sacred and holy, and must therefore not be climbed. Instead, pilgrims come to preform what is known as a ‘kora’, a clockwise pilgrimage around the mountain’s base. While visiting, you will be witness to these deep-rooted traditions and ways of the local people.
2. The Challenge of the Climb
Spiritual significance aside, the trek around Mount Kailash is not an easy one. Although most pilgrims complete the circuit in one day, Western trekkers normally take between two and four days to hike the entire trail. The altitude of the trail hangs around 5000 meters, making it difficult even for experienced climbers.
It is very important that you beware of altitude sickness. This can cripple a hiker, making it impossible to go on. The best way to beat altitude sickness is to drink plenty of water, and give yourself time to adjust. In other words, don’t plan to hike Mount Kailash right after arriving in Tibet!
Experienced hikers will be able to handle Mount Kailash (albeit with some difficulty). The challenge of the hike makes it a fantastic experience for those wanting to test their limits. You will cross plateaus, valleys, glaciers, and holy lakes. It is truly a unique trekking experience.
3. The People You Meet
Part of the beauty of visiting Mount Kailash is getting to know those hiking with you. Along your trek, take advantage of prostration points and camping areas to stop and meet those accompanying you on the trail. You will be able to experience first-hand the stories and lives of pilgrims visiting this holy site. And I’m not just talking about Tibetan pilgrims; in fact, devout Buddhists and Hindus from India, Japan, and beyond come to Mount Kailash to complete their koras in the hopes of washing their sins away. Also, you will likely come across other hikers from around the world, and getting to know their stories will add to the richness of your trip.
Mt.Kailash has attracted numerous trekkers from all over the world.
4. Follow the Beautiful Views
Mount Kailash itself stands as a beautiful witness to the forces of nature, rising from the earth in a pyramid-like shape. Almost always covered with snow at the peak, this stunning view will be your constant companion wherever you go in the area, and certainly through the entire trek around the mountain.
Throughout the trek, you will walk through barren plateaus, steep, green valleys, and narrow, rocky passes. Along with being physically challenging, the hike around Mount Kailash offers a unique view into the Tibetan plateau.
Lake Manasarovar, which is considered a holy lake by Tibetan Buddhists and Hindus, is another beautiful vista that you will see while visiting Mount Kailash. This lake sits just at the base of the mountain, and is known for its divine beauty. With crystal clear waters refined by the alpine terrain, this gem is the highest freshwater lake in the world. One way to truly enjoy the beauty of the lake is by camping at its shores overnight. The view of the lake with the moon rising above is truly priceless.
5. A Mountain of Mystery
If you’re looking for a great mystery, then Kailash doesn’t disappoint! Full of historic legends, religious tales, and even modern mysteries, this mountain is a great destination for those with a curious mind. Take the opportunity to speak with the devout worshippers who have come to this mountain for religious reasons. With them, you’ll find stories dating back centuries, and legends of the gods who have claimed this mountain as their own.
Devout pilgrims in mt.Kailash kora
Another mystery surrounding this mountain is the fact that it has never been climbed. Although its altitude is 2000 meters less than Mount Everest, not one person has reached the summit of this mountain. This perplexing situation has given rise to an aura of danger and mystery surrounding this place, and adds to its intrigue.
6. The Monasteries of Kailash
According to tradition, there were once eight different monasteries that followed the circuit around Mount Kailash. Now, there remain five beautiful and history monasteries that are possible to see on your hike. I highly recommend stopping to appreciate these remote and fascinating places.
The most well-known is the Nyari Monastery, which is home to three sacred items (including a conch shell and a teapot). These items hold spiritual meaning, and the pilgrims who travel this route feel impelled to stop and see them first-hand.
Some of these monasteries allow both pilgrims and trekkers to stay the night inside their walls. The Drirarpuk Monastery and the Zutulpuk Monastery will provide you with the basics, and even a simple meal. Staying inside these religious buildings allows you a firsthand view of the beliefs and culture of the Tibetan people, as well as allowing you to experience their hospitality and generosity. Keep in mind that priority will be given to devout pilgrims over tourists when there is limited space.
When to Visit Mount Kailash
The rainy season in Tibet is during the summer months of June to August. This doesn’t mean it’s a bad time for Mount Kailash, but it’s really not the best time. Also, since you’ll most likely be camping outside during your trek, I wouldn’t recommend November to March due to cold nights and possible snow.
The best months to trek Mount Kailash would be either between late April to early June, or September to early October. During these times of the year, you will have sunny, blue skies during the day, and cool nights for sleeping outside.
Saga Dawa Festival is celebrated at Mount Kailash.
An additional bonus for visiting during these months is the lovely atmosphere of the people around. Since these months are perfect for making the journey around Mount Kailash, you will be joined by many pilgrims and devout religious followers, making your trek even more interesting. Between May and June, there is a grand celebration of the Saga Dawa Festiva here at Mount Kailash, a truly unique cultural experience.
Tips for Hiking Mount Kailash
- To hike Mount Kailash, you must have all proper permits. Any travel to Tibet is recommended to be done with a travel agency or tour group.
- Entrance to Mount Kailash itself will cost 150 yuan per person.
- In addition to the entrance costs, there is a newly instituted arrangement of taking an eco-bus from Hor Qu to Darchen (the starting point), which is an unavoidable cost of 150 yuan.
- The hike takes between 2 to 4 days.
- Best months to visit: April, May, September, October.
- Your tour group will most likely provide camping equipment, but check beforehand to see what you may need to bring.
- Remember to always show respect for the religious sites along the trail; do not sit on or climb sacred monuments.
- The highest point on the trail is the Dolma-La Pass, at over 5600 meters.
- You will start your hike in the village of Darchen, and will go clockwise around the mountain, completing the circuit of 52 kilometers in Darchen.
How to Get to Mount Kailash
If you’re planning to visit Mount Kailash during your Tibet tour this year, then you’ll start the journey in Lhasa. There is a northern and a southern route to get from Lhasa to Mount Kailash, but I recommend the southern route for travelers.
This route follows the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, and offers some incredible views. Since Mount Kailash is so remote, the journey may take about two days. It is highly recommended to go to Mount Kailash with a travel guide who will take care of your transportation to the site.
These are just a few of the many reasons you should visit Mount Kailash. Have you seen this incredible mountain before, or are you planning a visit to it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!