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A Spiritual Journey to Holy Mt. Kailash

Latest Update: July,21 2017

 Journey to Mount Kailash The holy Mt. Kailash

High up in the Himalayas, on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, lies one of Tibet’s most sacred sites. Revered by Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, and Bons, holy Mt. Kailash is the most sacred site in Tibetan Buddhism, and is believed to be the center of the universe and the birthplace of the world.

 Journey to Mount Kailash Mt. Kailash is the most sacred site in Tibetan Buddhism

This great mass of black rock soars 6,638 meters in the sky, and inspires the beliefs of billions of people, though one a few thousand visit the site every year. This can be explained by its remote location in the far west of Tibet, and the hazards and trials of pilgrims traveling to the mountain.

 Journey to Mount KailashTake a trekking tour around Mount Kailash in samll groups

For pilgrims traveling to the holy site, they must overcome the difficult journey to get there, and then they face the equally arduous task of circumambulating the sacred mountain. This clockwise trek around the mountain is known as a Kora, and takes anything from three days to several weeks. The route around the mountain covers around 52 kilometers, and visitors intending to make the trek should be physically fit and well prepared.

 Journey to Mount Kailash Start the journey of Mt. Kailash Kora

For the pilgrims, the trek around the mountain is completed in the belief that they will gain extra merit on the path to enlightenment, and some even practice Lung-gom, a secret breathing technique, to push themselves around the mountain in just one day. Other, however, can take several weeks to complete the kora, making full-body prostrations at certain intervals around the mountain.

Preparation is Essential

Before considering the trek, you should be well prepared for the long journey. The trek will take three days of arduous walking, and the weather and terrain varies greatly from one part of the kora to another. Warm clothes and sleeping bags are essential packing, as is windproof jacket, since the winds can be very strong on the higher passes.

 Journey to Mount KailashTrekking with essential packing is necessary

Snacks are also a good idea. Trekking at high altitudes consumes more energy than at sea level, and you can replace the energy by eating high-energy snacks such as chocolate, biscuits, and dried fruit.

Video about Mount Kailash Kora

Trekking the Kora

Tourists can visit the holy Mt. Kailash either on foot, or by yak or pony. The cost is around 65CNY per day, or about US$10, and the trek is three days long. On the route, you will visit three of the five monasteries that surround the mountain, walk over the highest pass in the area, at 5,636 meters above sea level, and pay a visit to the nearby holy Lake Manasarovar.

 Journey to Mount Kailash Lake Manasarovar

Spectacular Views

The trek around the mountain is arduous and travels over some rough terrain, but the views are spectacular. Even though the landscape looks arid and desolate in places, the views of the lofty mountains against the clear blue skies are breathtaking.

 Journey to Mount KailashSpectacular views from the kora around Mt. Kailash

Surrounded by other mountains in the mighty Himalaya Range, the views from the kora around Mt. Kailash are a sight that makes the whole trek worthwhile. From the high mountains to the lush Barkha Plain, and the desolate low-lying valley of Lha-chu to the heady heights of Drölma-la pass.

Video about views around Mt. Kailash trekking tour

Rest Stops with Refreshments

Around the kora, there are tents at intervals that can provide basic refreshments such as pot noodles and hot, sweet tea.

 Journey to Mount KailashRest in the tent and eat some hot food to replace energy

A welcome rest, you can spend a short time replenishing your energy and getting some hot food inside you in preparation for the next leg of the trek.

Brief for the Mt. Kailash Kora

Route: around Mt. Kailash
Distance: 52km trekking
Duration: 2-3 Days
Permits: Tibet Permit, Alien's Travel Permit & Military
Start: Darchen (4675m)
End: Darchen (4675m)
Highest Point: Drolma La Pass (5630m)
Difficulty: Medium to difficult
Accommodation: Camping or local guesthouses
Food: Local simple restaurants

The Best Time to Trek

The best time to trek the kora around Mt. Kailash is from May to October, when the weather is warmer, and the snows are gone. Winter is the time of year when heavy snow and ice covers the region, and trekking in the western areas is dangerous.

 Journey to Mount Kailash Trek the kora around Mt. Kailash during warm seasons

In April in the Tibetan calendar is the most important festival of the Tibetan year. The Saga Dawa festival is celebrated for a whole month, and the 15th day of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar is the most important, as it is the birth date of the Buddha Sakyamuni. Tibetans give generously on that day in the belief that they can accumulate immense merits, and stop killing animals and eating meat. During the festival, thousands of Tibetans make their way to Mt. Kailash, to worship at the sacred mountain, and take down the flagpole at Tarpoche to replace the prayer flags.

 Journey to Mount Kailash Prayer flags found everywhere on Mt. Kailash

Trekking around the kora of Mt. Kailash, and taking a dip in the lake at Manasarovar, is an experience that is as unforgettable as the mountain itself.

Recommended Tibet Mount Kailash Tours

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