Mount Kailash

What used to be a three-day drive from Lhatse, with overnight stops in the towns of Saga and Paryang to get to the doorstep of the great Mount Kailash can now be done through a short flight from Lhasa to Kunshal airport in Ngari. Sacred to Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus alike, there have been no known attempts to scale the looming, 21,778 foot (6,638 meters) peak. Out of respect to the various religions, the climbing community considers the mountain off-limits. Nonetheless, journeys around the base of the mountain are a popular experience.


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Drirapuk Monastery

The first day of the trek is rather moderate without steep ascents, and you will arrive and spend the night at Drirapuk monastery, which has a fantastic view of the north face of Kailash.

Drolma-La Pass

Day two of the trek brings you up to Drolma-La Pass by lunchtime, visiting holy sites along the way. At Drolma-La, you can string up prayer flags and make a supplication to the goddess Drolma, whom legend says helps pilgrims over the pass which bears her name. This afternoon’s ascent will be the steepest, bringing you to Zulpultruk monastery for the night.

Guge Kingdom

From Mt. Kailash, drive approximately seven hours to Tsamda, present-day site of the ancient kingdom of Guge, which was founded in the 10th century. The ruins of Guge are highly worthwhile, and because of their remote location, seldom visited by tourists. Visit both the Toling and Tsaparang monasteries, both capitals of Guge at one point, and explore the remarkable cave systems, where frescoes in a hybrid Tibetan-Nepalese-Indian style have drawn the attention of UNESCO, and are currently under consideration to become a World Heritage Site.

Lake Manasarovar

Day three of the Kailash trek takes you on a circular route from Zupultruk and affords spectacular views of Lake Manasarovar. At 14,948 feet above sea level, Manasarovar is the highest freshwater lake in the world, and a sacred place of pilgrimage to believers who hold it to be the source of the Brahmaputra, Indus and Karnali rivers. In reality, it is only the source of the Sutlej, a large tributary of the Indus. Bathing and drinking Manasarovar’s water is believed to cleanse a believer of his sins.

Spiritual Hike

Embark on a three-day kora, or spiritual circumambulation, of Mount Kailash. Your path will cover nearly 33 miles and you will ascend nearly 3,300 feet in altitude over the course of the trek, with your gear transported by yaks.

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