Tibet – Mount Kailash

Tibet – Mount Kailash

Lhasa - Mount Kailash - Lake Manasarovar - EBC - Lhasa


15 days

What you will See & Do

Explore the holy city of Lhasa - a city of marvels where history and art, commerce and religion meld into an unforgettable experience.
Experience both is spiritual and commercial atmosphere as you explore its many wonders, from the iconic Potala Palace to the bustling streets of the Barkhor.
Marvel at the great monastic complexes of Gyantse, Shigatse and Sakya and witness the ancient Buddhist traditions that still flourish in these holy places. Take in the North Face of Mount Everest in close-up from the tiny Rombuk gompa.
The 3-day circumambulation of the world's most sacred mountain is tough - relax afterwards beside Lake Manasarovar, legendary source of the four great rivers of South Asia.



Day1: Arrive Lhasa - transfer to hotel

Arriving in Lhasa, visitors will be greeted by the stunning natural beauty of the Tibetan plateau. The city is situated at an altitude of over 3,686 meters above sea level and is home to many significant cultural and historical sites. Transferring to the hotel catch your first glimpse of the city and its unique architecture, which is heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhism.
Your arrival day is relaxed with no set activities in order to allow your body to adjust to the effects of altitude. A welcome dinner is included this evening.

Day2: Lhasa sightseeing - visit Drepung ; Sera

The university monastery of Drepung is one of the three most important Gelugpa monasteries in Tibet and was founded in the 15th century. It houses a large collection of Buddhist scriptures, artifacts, and artwork, and is known for its beautiful architecture and peaceful atmosphere.
Nechung is a small temple located nearby and is the home of the Nechung Oracle, a medium who is believed to be possessed by a deity and who offers spiritual advice and guidance. He is the personal oracle of the Dalai Lamas.
You may visit the Norbulinka, Summer Palace of the Dalai Lamas instead of Nechung if you prefer or include both for a very full day.
Sera is another important Gelug monastery located on the norther foothills of Lhasa and is known for its vibrant debating culture. Monks at Sera engage in lively philosophical debates on Buddhist doctrine, which can be fascinating to observe.

Day3: Lhasa sightseeing - Potala, Jokhang Barkhor

The Potala Palace is a grand and magnificent palace that was once the residence of the Dalai Lamas. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is one of the most important cultural and religious sites in Tibet. The palace is famous for its stunning architecture and artwork, as well as its historical and political significance.
The spiritual heart of Tibet is the Jokhang Temple and is full of life as pilgrims bring offerings of butter and barley flour. It is surrounded by the Barkhor pilgrimage circuit which is also a lively shopping precinct.
Second in importance only to the Jokhang, the Ramoche was built to house the Jowo Shakyamuni statue brought by Princess Wenchang as dowry in the C7th until it was later moved to the Jokhang. Each of these sites holds a unique place in Tibetan Buddhism.

Day4: via Yamdrok Tso Karo-la glacier to Gyantse

Yamdrok Tso is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet and is renowned for its stunning blue-green colour and picturesque location surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The lake is a holy site and is an important pilgrimage destination. The road from Lhasa to Gyantse is known for its breath-taking views of the Himalayan range, including several peaks of over 8,000 metres as well traditional villages and farms.
Gyantse is a historic town renowned for its well-preserved architecture and rich cultural heritage. The town is home to several important cultural and religious sites, including the Pelkhor Choede Monastery and the Kumbum Stupa.

Day5: visit Pelkor Choede - to Shigatse

Pelkhor Choede is an historic monastery known for its unique blend of Tibetan and Nepalese architectural styles. The monastery is home to many important religious and cultural artifacts, including several murals and statues that are hundreds of years old. Within the grounds stands the famous 13-storey stupa, the Gyantse Kumbum.
After visiting Pelkhor Choede, drive through fertile farmlands and villages to Shigatse, considered Tibet’s second largest city (Nyingchi is rapidly growing to compete).
Shigatse is the site of Tashilumpo Monastery, seat of the Panchen Lama and one of the most important monasteries of the Gelukpa order. The enormous, elaborate reliquary chorten are an incredible sight.
Here there is also the option to visit the local carpet factory where hand-woven carpets are produced using traditional designs.

Day6: visit Tashilumpo - via Sakya to Shegar

Head west along the Friendship Highway to Shegar, making a short side trip to visit Sakya.
Sakya Gompa is a historic monastery known for its unique architecture, which combines elements of Mongolian and Tibetan styles and its collection of Tibetan manuscripts. It was the seat of political power in central Tibet from the 10th to mid-14th century and the fortified monastery is still head of one of the most important schools of Tibetan Buddhism.
The drive from Sakya Gompa to Shegar offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape as you cross the 5220m Langpa-la, including snow-capped mountains, rolling hills, and traditional Tibetan villages.

Day7: to Rombuk & Everest

A little further along the highway turn off to the south and begin the climb through Qomolangma National Park – part way up you will transfer to eco-busses for the rest of the way to Rombuk.
Said to be the world’s highest monastery at 5000m, Rombuk gompa is situated to provide the perfect view directly up the valley to Mt Everest (Qomolangma). The monastery guest house provides simple, but comfortable rooms and meals in the tea house.

Day8: to Saga

Get up early to watch and photograph the sunrise on Everest – an experience you will not forget.
Then head back down from the mountain and across the Paiku-tso grasslands, a rich pasture area around the 300km2 high altitude lake. You will have great views of Mt Shishapangma (8013m) as the road leads north to meet the main road to the west at Saga. Saga has little appeal as a town but offers decent accommodation and restaurants for your overnight stop.

Day9: Darchen

Set out across the vast expanses of western Tibet. Passing small towns & villages, today you will enjoy your first sights of both Mount Kailash & Lake Manasarovar before arriving in Darchen at the foot of Mount Kailash.

Day 10: Kailash Kora - Darchen to Dira Phuk

Collectively known as Kangri Tsosum - Ponri Ngaden, Lake Manasarovar & Kailash – are said to be the heart of the ancient Zhangzhung Kingdom, the supposed land of origin of the pre-Buddhist Bonpo.
To the Bon it is called Yungdrung Gu Tse (Nine-Storey Swastika Mountain) and is the place where their legendary founder, Tongpa Shenrab descended from heaven to earth. In the C11th however Naro Bonchung ‘lost’ both Kailash and Lake Manasarovar to Buddhist Milarepa in a contest of magical powers. To complete a kora (circumambulation) is the goal of every Tibetan; a single kora cleans the sins of a lifetime whilst 108 guarantee enlightenment.
The first day of the kora (circumambulation) passes the site of the huge prayer flagpole at Tarboche, renewed at saga dawa each year. A steep trail through a maze of boulders carved with mantras leads to a Drukpa Kagyu Monastery, dwelling place of the protector of the Kailash region. A rock has a rangjung image of a conch shell believed to have fallen from the sky and dissolved into the rock.
Passing many sacred places, the trail ascends steadily to Dira Phuk (Cave of the female Yak’s Horns). On the ceiling of the dukhang is a rangjung imprint of a female yak. Overnight at the guest house here. Darchen-Dira Phuk approx. 6 hours walking, transport as far as Tarboche can also be arranged to cut the distance.

Day 11: Kailash Kora – Dira Phuk, cross Drolma-la to Zutrul Phuk

Today is a tough day as you climb steeply to cross the Drolma-la (5636m), followed by a short, but very steep descent and a long hike down the valley on the east side of the mountain.
There are numerous sites of immense significance, and you will see pilgrims stop regularly. These include Siwatshal, a replica of the fabled burial ground at Bodh Gaya. Here pilgrims undergo ritual death and enter into the horrific presence of Dorje Jigje before being reborn on top of the Drolma La. All who pass leave offerings.
Crossing the Drolma-la represents the transition from this life to a new one. Here the pilgrim is reborn, and all sins forgiven. Every stone here is looked upon as representing the Three Jewels and considered to be imbued with the three qualities of the Buddha (mind, body, speech).

Zutrul Phuk Monastery (Cave of Miracles) 4863m is surrounded by many mani stones and destroyed chorten. Within the dukhang, on the altar, are stone relics with rangjung footprints and a trident belonging to Milarepa (C11th caved from single piece of stone). The trident is considered a rediscovered treasure and contributes to the survival and wellbeing of Buddhism. The cave was the site of the celebrated contest between Milarepa and Naro bonchung.
Overnight at the guest house here. Today 7-9 hours walk.

Day12: complete Kailash kora - drive to Chiu Gompa (Lake Manasarovar)

It is only a short, gentle hike back to Darchen (2.5 hours, transport also possible) before heading to Lake Manasarovar to relax.
The ‘Lake Conceived from the Mind of God’ is a brilliant turquoise expanse of water, pure beyond conventional scientific confirmation. Its sun-shape a balance and contrast to Rakshal Tal.
Spectacularly perched on a rocky pinnacle, Chiu Gompa is a branch of Dira Phuk gompa on Kailash and is the site of the cave where Padmasambhava lived and meditated for the last 7 years of his life. The granite contains clear imprints of his hands and feet. Here too is the source of the Sutlej River - its water level reflecting the fortunes of Tibet.

Day 13: to Saga

Return drive to Saga

Day 14: via Paiku Tso to Kyirong

Head back south across the beautiful Paiku Tso grasslands with views of Mt Shishapangma before turning west via waterfalls, sacred spots and villages to Lower Kyirong - just before the Nepal border.

Day 15: Rasuwa border - Kathmandu

Head back south across the beautiful Paiku Tso grasslands with views of Mt Shishapangma before turning west via waterfalls, sacred spots and villages to Lower Kyirong - just before the Nepal border.

Option: This trip can also be operated Lhasa-Lhasa.

In this case Day 14: Saga-Shigatse / Day 15: Departure flight from Shigatse airport (RKZ) or afternoon departure from Lhasa airport after 15:00 or return to Lhasa for an extra day or two.

Inquire about this Tour.


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