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Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: Once In A Lifetime Experience

Kailash Mansarovar is a pilgrimage site nestled in the Himalayas in Tibet. Over the years, Yatris across the world come here to do the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, and travelers come to witness its mystical beauty. In this article, you will find the routes, cost, best time and etc. to undertake the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

Mount Kailash pilgrimage site's beautiful scenery in the sunset.

Mount Kailash pilgrimage site's beautiful scenery in the sunset

What is Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra means mainly doing a parikrama of Mount Kailash and taking a holy baptism in Mansarovar Lake. It is said that these can alleviate any sins of the pilgrims and bring them salvation.

People who are between 18 and 70 years old and in good health are eligible to take the Kailash Mansarovar yatra trip. The yatra can be done on foot, by bus, or by helicopter. To undertake the yatra, please book either through the Ministry of External Affairs or through a Tibet/Nepal tour operator.

How to Take a Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

To reach Kailash Mansarovar, Indian pilgrims can take a road trip from Dehli. The Ministry of External Affairs organizes the yatra from June to September each year through two different routes -- Lipulekh Pass (Uttarakhand) and Nathu La Pass (Sikkim). The yatra is conducted in batches with a certain number of pilgrims each year. Alternatively, you can go to Kathmandu to join the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage trip starting here. If you have a US passport or other passport, you can fly to Lhasa to start your Kailash Mansarovar trip.

  • Via Lipulekh Pass

    The route through Lipulekh Pass (a Himalayan pass on the border between India's Uttarakhand state and the Tibet region of China) involves some trekking. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra cost is about Rs 1.6 lakh per person/USD2133, which is the lowest cost. The duration of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is 24 days, including 3 days of preparation in Delhi.

    The route has three sections. The first section is a 107.6 km long road from Pithoragarh to Tawaghat, the second section is a 19.5 km single-lane road from Tawaghat to Ghatiabgarh, and the third section is 80 km from Ghatiabgarh to Lipingkh Pass at the Chinese border. Only trek through. A new road in the third section is under construction in 2020 to allow vehicles. After completion, it cuts travel time from 5 days by a trek to just two days by a vehicle.

    This route crosses important locations, such as Narayan Ashram. Yatris can also see the beauty of the scenery of the Chialekh Valley or "Om Parvat", where snow naturally appears in the form of "Om".

  • Via Nathu La Pass

    The route through Nathu La Pass (4309 meters, connecting Sikkim India with China's Tibet Autonomous Region) is reachable by bus and especially suitable for elderly yatris. The cost is about Rs.2 lakh per person/USD2667. The duration would be 21 days including 3 days in Delhi for preparatory work. It passes through scenic spots such as Hangu Lake and the vast landscape of the Tibetan Plateau.

  • Via Kathmandu

    A Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from Kathmandu is applicable either by helicopter or by car. The helicopter package is easier and faster, which takes 12 days and costs RS 210,000/USD2800 per person. You will be flying from Kathmandu to Simikot via Nepalgunj and take a helicopter ride from Simikot to Hilsa. The view over the Himalayan mountains is breathtaking and wonderful. After entering Tibet we will drive you to Kailash and Mansarovar.

    14 Days Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by Road from Kathmandu

    The overland package takes 14 days and costs RS140, 000/ USD1950 per person. After sightseeing in Kathmandu, you will pass Syabrubesi, drive to Saga via Kerung. Then, explore the area of Mansarovar and drive to Darchen for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. The Himalayas will leave a deep impression on you along the way.

    12 Days Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by Helicopter from Kathmandu

  • Via Lhasa

    Apart from these religious groups, plenty of tourists are simply enchanted by the beauty of the place. They can book Kailash Mansarovar tour packages operated by Tibet travel agencies directly. But the premise is to have non-Indian passports cos Tibet Travel Agencies are not allowed to arrange Indian tourists to Kailash Mansarovar. The duration is 12 ~15 days. Kailash Mansarovar tour cost via Great Tibet Tour starts from Rs 140,219/1930USD per person. Along the way, you can visit the Potala Palace, Yamdroktso Lake, Everest Base Camp, and view the sand dunes, beautiful grassland, and local's villages, etc.

    15 Days Kailash Mansarovar Kora Pilgrimage Group Tour

Extra Expenses You Might Need To Make During the Trip

Throughout the trip, you will have to pay for services that are not covered by your travel agency. These expenses are personal, and thus it is entirely dependent on you to spend or not. Moreover, there may be incidents like natural disasters and emergency medical situations, which cannot be covered by any travel agency.

Nevertheless, it is always wise to carry extra cash wherever you go. Some of the excluded personal expenses are:

  • Horse rides or yak rides. This is for people who cannot walk long miles at a stretch. USD50/day
  • Laundry, extra snacks and drinks, telephone services, etc. USD50/day
  • Extended hotel stays if you are sick. USD65/room/night.
  • Airport transportation costs. USD80/vehicle

Please note these expenditures are uniform for all travel packages. The number of days of your packages may affect the total amount of these personal payments.

What Is The Ideal Time For Mount Kailash Yatra?

The Tibetan mountains have unpredictable and irregular snowfall. The limited supply of oxygen, cold temperatures, and the rough terrain make it all the more difficult to visit this place. That's why to enjoy the entire trip; it is important to choose a particular time to go on this Yatra.

Kailash Yatra

During Kailash Yatra

The ideal time for a Kailash Mansarovar Yatra would be from April to June or from September to October. April-June is the spring period, so you will be able to witness clear blue skies, lush greenery and stunningly beautiful views. The weather will be pleasant on most days, and there are also high chances of rain.

September to October is the autumn, during which the oxygen content is higher than the rest of the year and the temperature is suitable. Therefore, the possibility of altitude sickness is less than usual, especially at such a high altitude place, on the kora trail from 4,700 meters to more than 5,700 meters above sea level,

On an average day, the temperature reaches as high as 14°C and as low as -12°C. During the summer period, it varies around 16°C-21°C. During the winter period, it varies from around 0°C to -4°C. The average difference between the day and night temperature is around 14°C. The nights are much colder than the day.

In recent years, Yatris go Kailash parvat from June to September cos they can only get their pilgrimage permits for this period.  Although summer is the monsoon season, it usually rains at night so the weather will not affect the yatra too much.

How To Deal With High Altitude Sickness?

Mount Kailash is located 6,700 meters above sea level. When a person goes for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, they may experience high altitude sickness. This sickness is caused due to lower rates of oxygen at high altitudes.

Your body is used to working at certain amounts of oxygen. Therefore, the lack of oxygen supply can cause you physical distress.

Common symptoms of high-altitude sickness are:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Appetite loss
  • Severe headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Breath loss
  • Laziness

If you experience any of the above symptoms during the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, you likely have high altitude sickness. To make yourself feel better you can do the following things.

  • Hydrate regularly
  • Don't trek for straight long hours
  • Avoid exercise
  • Don't drink alcohol
  • Eat fiber-rich foods
  • Carry portable oxygen cylinders

Gauri Kunda: The Lake Of Compassion

Another major attraction of Mount Kailash Yatra is Gauri Kunda. It is a popular spiritual site located at the edges of the Mandakini River. The clear water of Gauri Kunda and the serene site of the Mandakini river flowing fills your heart with tranquility.

The lake holds great religious value to Hindus. It is the place where Goddess Parvati, also known as Gauri, paid her penance. She meditated and practiced yoga for several centuries until she won over Lord Shiva's heart.

There are many hotels situated around this place overlooking Gauri Kunda. You can enjoy a comfortable stay at one of these hotels while visiting the lake. Be sure to request your travel agency to book you a hygienic hotel with tasty food.

Lake Manasarovar Yatra

Lake Manasarovar is one of the reasons why thousands of people around the globe come for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra. It is known as one of the holiest lakes on earth. It is located 32 km away from Mt Kailash and has an elevation of 4,950 meters.

The derivation of Manasarovar comes from the combination of two Sanskrit words. They are- "Manas," which means mind and "Sarovar," which means lake.

Pilgrims collect water from lake manasarovar

Pilgrims collect water from Lake Manasarovar

The water of the lake is famous for its holy and pure properties. It is said to have many disinfecting and magical healing properties too. Pilgrims after touring Kailash Parvat, come to this river for three main reasons-

  • To get rid of all their past sins and purify themselves.
  • They consider it to be a wish-granting lake. Thus, come here for wish fulfillment.
  • To get rid of mental and physical illness. The healing properties are said to bring good health. Thus, people take a dip in the lake to purify themselves and enhance their health.

The purity and crystal-clear water of this lake is a major attraction. Visitors can clearly see the deep bottom of the lake. The purity of water is as that of Sapphire stone.

The fresh-water lake is also said to change its color. The sunlight beams directly reflect at the lake as the sun rises and sets. This phenomenon makes it possible for the color of the water to change continuously. 

The colors transform from shades of blue to green, making it a mesmerizing scene. In rare cases, you can also witness rainbow colors on the surface of the lake, which enriches the liveliness of the lake. 

If you can spare a night from your entire tour, then you should camp beside the lake. The shore of the lake is firm so it can support a tent. This mystical camping night stay will be one of the most soothing experiences in your life.

Chiu Monastery

Chiu Monastery is located on the hillside next to the holy Lake Manasarovar. After dipping in Lake Manasarovar, you can climb up the hillside, where you can overlook the whole blue holy lake. This is a great place to appreciate the breathtaking views, not only Lake Manasarovar but also the "Goddess Peak" Gurla Mandhata and "Sacred Mountain" Kailash.  There is a natural hot spring near Chiu Monastery always emitting a smell of sulfur, for people to bathe. The hot spring water can not only reduce inflammation and sterilization but also relieve fatigue after yatra.

Vital Travel Permit Documents

Foreigners have to get several valid Travel permits for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. They are-

  • Tibet Travel Permit or Tibet Visa- It is necessary to travel anywhere in Tibet.
  • Military Area Permit- Mount Kailash is a militarily sensitive area, and thus this permit is critically important.
  • Foreign Affairs Permit
  • Frontier's pass
  • Aline's Travel Permit- also called the PSB permit. China's Public Security Bureau issues this permit for 50 Chinese Yuan.

List Of Must-have Items For Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

It is human nature to forget things while packing for a trip. When packing up for the Yatra, you must remember to pack light. Due to high and irregular terrain, it becomes difficult to carry your luggage.

Especially if you're going to spend most of your time on foot, consider this as a must-have list, so you don't forget these essentials while packing.

  • A backpack- To carry all your essential personal items. You can carry this every day throughout the trek.
  • Clothes- Pack lightly. Only carry what's necessary. Mostly pack winter clothing.
  • Medicine-If you're on medications, then carry extras so that you don't run out.
  • Toiletries- Carry one of each: toothbrush, toothpaste, Shampoo, Soap, and towel.
  • Water bottle- Remember to hydrate yourself. Carry a water bottle and a thermos for hot water
  • Socks- Your feet are going to freeze in the cold, so carry extra pairs of woolen socks.
  • Shoes- Since you're going to walk and trek, carry trekking boots or sport shoes. They have a good grip and will keep you from slipping on the terrain.
  • Gloves and beanies- To protect your hand and ears from cold.
  • Moisturizes and lip balm- the dryness can crack your skin. Carry moisturizers, sunscreen, and lip balm.
  • Snacks- Dry snacks and power drinks to keep up your stamina. Canned food is also advisable.
  • Rainwear- Umbrella and Raincoat
  • Candles/flashlight/torchlight also carry extra sets of batteries.

Conclusion

The few days you spend at the Kailash Mansarovar yatra will be an unforgettable experience for you as you will not only enjoy the beautiful scenery of the snow-capped mountains and the vast plains but also get spiritually inspired. After having your Mt.Kailash parikrama and dipping in Lake Mansarovar, you will return with fresh energy and a refreshing perspective on life.

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