Tibet Pilgrimage Tour (Simikot - Kailash - Mansarovar Lake)

Tibet Pilgrimage Tour (Simikot - Kailash - Mansarovar Lake)

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The route heads through a magnificent mountain area, past lively villages of the Thakuri community, along rivers and across the Nara Lagna Pass. From the 4580m high pass you can see the vast Tibetan plateau. You will hike to the Nepali/Tibetan border till the village of Sherpas on the Tibetan side, where a vehicle will pick you up and drive you to Taklakot. Geographically, you are directly south of Kailash, which Hindus and Buddhists view as the “Center of The World”. On your way to the holy mountain you will wander along the western shore of Lake Mansarovar and camp. “There are countless beautiful landscapes in the Himalayas, in the Trans-Himalaya and in the areas of high Asia, yet the view from Gosul Gompa across the lake and the surrounding mountains surpasses everything I have ever seen”, wrote Sven Hedin in “Transhimalaya (1909).

 

The mighty rock dome of Kailash comes closer as we drive along. Together with pilgrims from far and wide you follow the trail (Parikrama) across the Dolma La (5600m), which is adorned with countless prayer flags. It takes three days to circumambulate the snow-covered cupola of the 6714m tall mountain. In Tibetan tradition you will conclude this pilgrimage in Tirthapuri – which is one of the most important pilgrim destinations along with Kailash and Lake Mansarovar.

 

Only 30 km from Mt Kailash is another important pilgrimage site, the beautiful and serene Lake Mansarovar. According to mythology it was formed in the mind of Brahma, and Indian and Tibetan pilgrims can also be seen circumambulating this lake, a distance of 90 km.

 

On this trip, we drive across the wide open spaces of the Tibetan Plateau to Lake Mansarovar, before completing a kora around Mt Kailash. From there, we re-cross the vast arid plains before heading south to the Nepalese border and return to Kathmandu. This is will no doubt be the trip of a lifetime with eye-catching scenery and cultural highlights of an extraordinary kind.

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival Kathmandu (1300m): Pick up from the airport/ Drive to hotel. Dinner

Our vehicle & company escorts will be on standby at the airport to pick you up & transfer you to your hotel. After you’ve refreshed & relaxed, you can go for a stroll down the street to get familiar with you surroundings. Depending on your arrival time, on the same day our tour manager will meet you at your hotel to brief you about the pros and cons of your trip. There will also be a check & demonstration of equipments which will be essential to the trip. Should you need to buy any extra things or hire any items, our staff will be happy to help you for the same. You can then have dinner and go in for a good sleep so you can get up fresh the next morning to be ready for your flight that starts your religious journey. Your first overnight in the valley of the gods.

Day 2: Fly to Nepalgunj

After breakfast, we go to the airport to board our ninety minute fligeht to Nepalgunj in the far south west of Nepal. This is a teeming crowded city with soaring tempratures in the summers and lies close to the Indian border. Overnight at our hotel in Nepalgunj.

Day 3: Fly to Simikot (2960m) then trek to Dhara Pokhari (2300m)

After breakfast, we board another flight and fly up north for about 50 minutes to Simikot, the headquarters of Nepal’s most remote district, Humla. After meeting up with our crew, we sort out our equipments and baggage and begin our trek, climbing up from the airstrip on a rock strewn trail past fields of barley and wheat. We ascend a forested ridge above the town of Simikot, before making a long steep descent past Dandaphoya. The trail is then pretty level, through walnut and apricot trees, until we come to the speckled village of Dhara Pokhari which is divided by the Yakba Khola.

Day 4: Trek to Salli Khola (2700m)

 After an early morning breakfast, we cleanup our campsite and begin our hike, crossing a long scree slope and follow by the banks of a river to a waterfall near the shepherds’ camp at Chachera. We then climb over a ridge and bypass the village of Kermi before entering a big valley with walled fields of potato and buckwheat. After walking through a bare pine forest we descend from the ridge to the Salli Khola and set up camp by the banks of the river.

Day 5: Trek to Muchu (2920m)

We cross the river and climb over a rocky ridge before descending to the grey brackish waters of the Humla Karnali. After crossing another ridge we come to a sandy meadow where goat herders often camp by the river. Beyond the pasture the valley narrows and we cross several more ridges, passing the villages of Yalbang and Yangar. The trail then winds its wayprecariously above the river before we cross a suspension bridge to the village of Muchu.

Day 6: A day for rest

Today is a rest day which we’ll use to spend in and around Muchu, exploring the village with its stone houses and the quiet Gompa.

Day 7: Trek to Sipsip (4330m)

From Muchu, we follow the trail over a ridge to the Tumkot Khola and then walk along the rocky stream bed for a short distance before beginning a steep climb through a rock-filled gully. We pass through Palbang and its bright yellow mustard fields to the small settlement of Yari and beyond here the route climbs up the valley towards a pass, the Nara Lagna. We camp below the pass in a meadow known as Sipsip.

Day 8: Trek to Hilsa (3720m)

From Sipsip we ascend to a steep rock cairn marking the top of the Nara Lagna [4580m]. Descending from the pass, we get great views of the Tibetan Plateau before arriving at the village of Ranipauwa. Beyond here, we could slip and slide on a surface of loose pebbles down to the Humla Karnali.

Day 9: Trek to Taklakot (3930m), drive to Mansarovar (4560m)

Shortly after crossing the Nepal/Tibet border which is marked only by a single stone pillar, we meet our transport and drive about 130km, via the large trading centre of Taklakot, the border near Tibet & on to Mansarovar, the most respected and considered sacred of Tibet’s many lakes.

Day 10: At Mansarovar

Today, more or less a day of rest, we will spend our time at Mansarovar, allowing our body to relax and acclimatize to the higher elevations but instead of being idle, we  explore this interesting area of great significance. We will visit the picturesque Chiu Monastery on the North West shore of the lake with the daunting sights of Mt Kailash in the background.

Day 11: Drive to Tarboche [4750m)

Leaving the lake, we drive for about 35 km towards Mt. Kailash and Tarboche which is marked by a tall pole adorned with prayer flags. This is the starting point for our Kora, the 53km trek around the mountain which begins with a morning ritual of a Bath and Puja {sacred offerings}. This area is considered a base camp for the Holy Kailash Parikrama.

Day 12: Trek to Dira-puk

From Tarboche, we walk up the Lha Chu Valley through beautiful green hamlets and streams with clear blue skies & Mt Kailash towering in the shadows above us. We follow by the river banks which enters a narrow canyon with high, steep cliffs and fabulous waterfalls. Continuing up the valley, the north face of Kailash peeks into view before we reach the 13th century monastery at Dira-puk.

Day 13: Trek to Zutul-puk (4790m) this is the hardest but Holiest day of your pilgrimage Yatra with Drolma-La (pass) at 18600ft between two valleys

Our Kora continues as we now leave the Lha Chu Valley and enter the Drolma Chu Valley, heading up towards a high pass, the Drolma La at [5630m]. It’s a tough climb to the summit which is festooned with prayer flags but from there it is all downhill or flat to Zutul-puk, with views of one of the highest lakes in the world, Thukpe Dzingbu Lake, known as the Lake of Compassion. Besides the monastery at Zutul-puk {the cave of Miracles}, the great ascetic Milarepa is supposed to have performed miracles here); there are several meditation caves hereabouts and another cave containing an image of Milarepa.

Day 14: Trek to Darchen (4560m)

This is the final day of your holy Kora as we cross several streams, and follow a remarkable gorge. Along the way we are once again treated to stunning views of Kailash. We then enter the Bharka plain and it’s about an hour’s walk through this desert-like landscape to Darchen. After hiking for some total 3 hours, all the driving crew will be waiting your arrival. By the late afternoon we will be at our lodge/camp after a memorable pilgrimage adventure.

Day 15: Drive to Paryang (4750m)

Today is a long drive, something like about 300 km, to Paryang. Along the way, we cross the Mayun-la and make several river crossings. The vistas along this section are said to be some of the most beautiful of the entire journey.

Day 16: Drive to Saga (4600m)

We continue driving today along a 255km stretch of road to Saga, passing through the small, dusty town of Zhongba en route. The trail follows a route that brushes past the Brahmaputra River. Further ahead, a river valley sprawls over and then traditional chocolate box villages come into picture frame. This scenically rewarding drive provides plenty of opportunities to get your video cameras into action. From then on, the trail winds towards the northern route. On covering 295km, you reach an elevation of 4600meters. As soon as you find a suitable campsite in Saga, we set up camp for the approaching night.

Day 17: Drive to Saga (4600m)

We continue driving today along a 255km stretch of road to Saga, passing through the small, dusty town of Zhongba en route. The trail follows a route that brushes past the Brahmaputra River. Further ahead, a river valley sprawls over and then traditional chocolate box villages come into picture frame. This scenically rewarding drive provides plenty of opportunities to get your video cameras into action. From then on, the trail winds towards the northern route. On covering 295km, you reach an elevation of 4600 meters. As soon as you find a suitable campsite in Saga, we set up camp for the approaching night.

Day 18: Drive down to Kathmandu across the border (1400m)

From Nyalam we drive down to the bustling border town of Zhangmu & on to the borders of Tibet & Nepal {Tatopani} where our vehicles & escorts will be on standby to drive us down to Kathmandu. At the border we bid goodbye to our Tibetan staff & guide & proceed for a scenic drive down to ancient Kathmandu. And this officially ends our religious odyssey with the gods.

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