- Last Updated: 2020-02-28
Mount Kailash is considered as the most pious pilgrimage destination amongst the religions - The Bongs, Buddhists, Jains, and Hindus. They believe doing a kora around a holy mountain for one circle can get rid of the sins and miseries for the whole life. For tourists who are not believers can also do trekking around the Kailash, not for religious significance, but for the longing of Tibet, the snow mountains and lakes. Every year, lots of tourists travel to Mount Kailash to experience the holy mountain and the challenging trekking routes.
Usually, it takes 1-3 days. Three days are recommended for the first time comer. The starting point is from Darchen, and you will stay the first night at Dirapuk Monastery. When you wake up in the morning, you can photograph the amazing sunrise. On the second day, you will stay overnight at Zutulpuk temple; you will get back to Darchen on the third day.
There are two kora routes, the inner ring, and the outer ring. The inner route is around Nandi Parvat, which is located in the south of Mt. Kailash. The trek is not arranged for normal travelers because it is more strenuous and contains physically challenging for the devotees. It's said only those who have completed 13 laps of the outer route are qualified to take this route. The outside ring route is much longer, with a total length of 54 kilometers. It usually takes 1-3 days for hiking, 5-20 days for prostrating. Below are the suggested itineraries of the outer route.
Day 1: Darchen - Dirapuk (4700m), Drive 5km, Trek 15km, Approx. 7~11hrs
In the morning, you will take an eco-bus to Tarboche square and start the trekking from there. Qugu Temple is the first best viewing spot you will arrive at. Over the ridge, you can descend into the Sarshung valley. After 7 kilometers, you will arrive at a post station. The overall walking speed of this section is relatively slow because the adjustment of the self rhythm of walking in high altitude area is very important. This post station is the tents of the Tibetans. Guests can have lunch and rest there. There are also many Tibetans pilgrims rest here. Lunch is simple, so it is recommended to bring some dry food and replenish energy at any time. Continue uphill for 3km, there are many tents and inns built intensively here. You will stop and stay overnight at Dirapuk Monastery(Camping point 5210 on the above map). Dirapuk Monastery is the best place to see the back of the sacred mountain. You can see Mani stones, prayer flags, sunrise in the morning and the starry sky at night here. Just pay attention, there's a big difference in temperature between day and night, and it's possible to meet snowstorms at night.
Day 2: Dirapuk - Zutulpuk (4790m), Trek 22km, Approx. 11~14hrs
Today is the most challenging day of trekking. Starting from Dirapuk, you'll climb over four passes, including the highest Droma La pass at an altitude of 5630m. This 6km section is the most difficult part of the whole journey, and the altitude continues to rise, which is a great challenge for physical strength. Rocky roads are the best on the way up the Droma La. You have to be careful with every step you take and the gravel can be slippery at any time, especially at such a high altitude area. The Tibetan people are also starting to walk more slowly. Only yaks keep normal since they have adapted to the high altitudes, leading you all the way.
When you arrive at the Mani pile in the Droma La pass, you can see the colorful prayer flags flying in the wind all over the mountains, which makes you feel exciting. You are approaching the end of the difficult part. This is the highest point of the whole journey, and Mt.kailash is not far to the west.
After a short rest at the top, we will climb down into the long valley and stop for lunch at the Shabjay Dakpo nomadic tent. On the way, you can have a rest in a teahouse. Then you will continue to the Zultulpuk(camping point E on the above map), built by two important religious figures, Milarepa and Naro Bonchung. At last, you will arrive in Zutulpuk Monastery and stay overnight there.
Day 3: Zuktulpuk- Darchen, Trek 9km, Drive 3km, Approx. 2~5hrs;
You'll trek 9km to complete the kora then take the eco bus (3km) back to Darchen. You will have a good rest at Darchen or we will drive you from Darchen to Mansarovar, which is the top holy lake in Tibet. It’s 40km to the southwest of Darchen. If the weather is good, you can see the splendid scenery of the lake. If you feel good, you can trek along the shore of the lake for a while.
For more details, you also can check this Mount Kailash trekking map and Ngari map.
September and October is the best season for Kailash yatra. Generally speaking, May to October is suitable to travel to Mt.Kailash, except for the rainy season with the most rain in July and August. Every year, April 15th of Tibetan calendar is the date of the birth, completion and nirvana of Buddha Shakyamuni, which is called the Saga Dawa festival. There will be a Mani flag hanging ceremony at the entrance of Kailash. Tibetan Buddhism believes that this day the merits and virtues of trekking around the mountain are higher than those of ordinary days, so this day would be very lively.
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