A dream that can be achieved!
Mount Kailash towers above the entire surrounding Himalayan range at a remarkable height of 6,656m above sea level. Though it not as tall as Mount Everest, it has never been conquered by mankind. This is due to its supremely sacred status in a variety of religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Bon Pa, and Jainism.
All the religions are unanimous that climbing this mountain will usher inevitable destruction. Unquestionably, it is one of the world’s topmost dangerous and revered religious sites were only a handful of brave-hearted devotees dare to visit.
Barring the religious perspective, Mount Kailash also has a unique structure. With four distinct sides, similar to that of a pyramid, its top has always been concealed under a thick blanket of snow. Even with four-wheel-drive jeeps covering most part of the road, it is undoubtedly an arduous and bone-rattling ascent.
Our travel agency, Himalayan Trekkers will facilitate a comfortable trip to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar as much as possible. Below are listed some primary concerns to be aware of and things to do before embarking on the journey along with some interesting trivia.
1-The military permit is a must-have
Other than the usual TTB or Tibet Travel Permit, a military permit is mandatory for a trip to Mount Kailash and the areas around it. This is because it is quite close to the national border regions. Be absolutely certain that all documents like identification papers, visas, concerning permits, and at least one representative of a registered travel agency are present.
No one can explore the area independently so much so that if found in unfavorable circumstances alone, military action may be taken. This is largely due to the illegal absconding of oppressed Tibetans. Be with your assigned guide at all times. Himalayan Trekkers provides expert advice and required arrangements for critical trips like these like a sturdy vehicle, proper directions, and safety precautions.
2- When to Travel
Wondering which is the best season to visit? The dry, rough winds teamed up with the plummeting temperatures of Mount Kailash makes summer the best season for this trip. Pleasant, warm weather along with dry roads are essential for a successful Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar trip.
Also, planning this trip with ample time in hand goes a long way in the smooth acquisition of permits and booking accommodation. Himalayan Trekkers will ensure that you have an enjoyable and adrenaline-filled trip to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar.
3- Safety comes First
Himalayan Trekkers strongly suggest that you bring medicines for headaches, nausea, vomiting, and vertigo without fail. The massive height of Mount Kailash and its surrounding areas can be overwhelming for most tourists who are not accustomed to such altitude and climatic conditions.
Spending a few days in the comparatively lower altitudes after arrival in Lhasa works great for acclimatization before reaching Mount Kailash.
Remaining hydrated and eating light and healthy is also important. Carrying some snacks and dry food is always a good idea in these parts as food is scanty and basic. Whatever meals are usually available will be basic and limited.
4- Chinese Yuan is the only valid currency
Carry enough Chinese Yuan which is the only valid currency here. Do not expect to find banks or ATMs in the Mount Kailash region. Even if you do see one, it is unlikely to be working in perfect condition.
In case of any emergency or food and accommodation issue, Himalayan Trekkers will always have your back so do not worry.
5- Winter Wardrobe Essentials
Make sure that your travel bag is stuffed with heavy winter wear, ranging from down jackets, thermal, heavy woolens to gloves, scarves, and beanies. Not to forget hardy, protective mountain boots and woolen socks for the mountain terrain.
Sunscreens and lip balms are not to be forgotten either if one wants to avoid getting sunburnt or rashes. The bottom line is pack light and packs judiciously because it is not easy to trudge up such altitudes with heavy backpacks.
6- Mount Kailash- Legends and Beliefs
Mount Kailash or the ‘mystery mountain’, as it is believed to be, features in a number of legends and religious mythology, be it Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, or Bon Pa which is the local Shamanistic religion.
According to Hindu myths, the God of gods, Lord Shiva resides there with his companion, Devi Parvati. He is believed to be a yogi who meditates there to maintain balance in the Universe. Every year, Hindu devotees come here to offer prayer and bathe in the pure and freezing waters of Lake Mansarovar.
Buddhist myths celebrate a Tibetan monk called Milarepa who is said to have summited Kailash and came back to forbid others to attempt the same as Gods reside here. Buddhist legends also vouch for the Kailash to be the home of Chakrasamvara and his divine another half DorjePhagmo.
Jainism calls the mountain Astapada. According to Jain legends, Rishabha who was the first Tirthankara to have been enlightened had meditated there.
The local pre-Buddhist religion, Bon Pa reveres Mount Kailash to be the axis of the cosmos where all Gods reside.
Devotees from most of these religions walk around Mount Kailash in a clockwise direction, finally ending with a bath in the Mansarovar lake.
7- Mount Kailash- Source of Life
Mount Kailash is the origin of four key rivers, namely the Ganga, the Sutlej, the Indus, and the Yarlung Tsangpo. Millions of lives depend on these rivers and their tributaries for livelihood and sustenance.
River Ganga holds a special place in Hindu mythology as well. It is said to be born from the dreadlocks of Lord Shiva, meditating in his holy abode of Mount Kailash. Consequently, the Ganga is also deemed to be sacred. Its water purging people of their sins.
8- Doing a ‘kora’ around Mount Kailash
A ‘kora’ is a circular path that goes around Mount Kailash, in this case. Following and completing a ‘kora’ has immense religious and spiritual significance. However, achieving this extremely strenuous task is not a cake-walk.
The ‘kora’ around Mount Kailash starts at Darchung with the outer ‘kora’ eventually leading to the inner ‘kora’. It is hardly possible to complete the entire circuit in one day which means that trekkers or devotees need to halt at night before continuing further. It typically takes 2-4 days to finish after which one’s sins are forgiven and one is given a fresh start.
Halting at such an altitude is a challenge as there is a serious lack of accommodation. The positive news is there 5 monasteries along the way that provide basic shelter and food for both pilgrims and trekkers. These monasteries are Nyari, Drirapuk, Zultrulpuk, Selung, and Gyangzha.
The first of these is the most famous and located on the outer ‘kora’. Nyari monastery takes pride in three legendary possessions- the statue of Choku Rinpoche or the Buddha of Boundless Light, a teapot, and a conch shell.
The second is usually the place where most pilgrims stay their first night while doing a ‘kora’. Drirapuk is quite renowned for Tibetan Buddhist culture.
Zutrulpuk lies ahead of Drirapuk, giving way to Selung and Gyangzha in the inner ‘kora’. Gyangzha is also considered to be the primary monastery in the western part of Tibet.
9- Lake Mansarovar
Lake Mansarovar is one of the most sacred lakes in the world. Stationed at the foot of Mount Kailash, it is the world’s highest freshwater lake. Magnificent in its beauty with placid turquoise waters and the reflection of the Mount Everest, it is an experience to be cherished for life.
Legend says that Mount Kailash is the ‘ling’ of Lord Shiva while Lake Mansarovar is the female counterpart of Nature. Their union is the base of this entire Universe.
Religion has it that bathing or touching the waters of this lake washes away sins and showers blessings.
10- Rakshas Tal
There is another lake around Lake Mansarovar that is said to be the counter of Lake Mansarovar. This lake is called Rakshas Tal. Opposed to the freshwater lake, Mansarovar, Rakshas Tal is saline and even comprises of poisonous gases.
Geographical features demonstrate that Mansarovar is round and Raksash Tal is shaped like a crescent. Religions predict the former to be a representation of sun or light and positivity while the latter is the embodiment of night or negativity.
As per mythology goes, Ravana or the demon king who was a devoted follower of Lord Shiva resides in the lake because of which the water in it has turned highly salty. This means that taking a dip in Rakshas Tal can be injurious to health and even aquatic life cannot survive in it. The non-existence of life in it is backed by science as well.
Though no matter how poisonous it may be from inside, its outer surface has no less visual enchantment than Lake Mansarovar.
Travel to this holy site, not only to rejuvenate your spirit and soul but also to experience the adventurous journey amidst mesmerizing snow-laden mountain peaks and mysterious lakes. As you indulge the five senses in this once-in-a-lifetime journey, Himalayan Trekkers will take care that you are safe, well equipped, and comfortable even in this harsh climate and dangerous terrain.