Kailash and Lake Mansarovar Yatra FAQ - Himalayan Glacier

Kailash and Lake Mansarovar Yatra FAQ

When you plan a religious trip to Mt. Kailash, the precious snow mountain, there is no doubt you will have hundreds of questions popping up your head. Here, on our Kailash Mansarovar FAQs, we have tried to take in as much information and tips for our devoted travelers so that they can plan their trip confidently and have the most wonderful trip of their lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

The direct answer to this question is: Yes! It is a very arduous and a challenging trip especially due to the altitude and thin air that is dry and contains 40% less oxygen that that at sea level. In such conditions, there is a high risk of catching altitude sickness. During the Yatra, pilgrims have to pass through high-altitude areas under hostile conditions. The extreme steep slopes and the long distances to be covered every day from one camp to another make the Kailash tour rather difficult. If you have a previous hiking experience in high altitude and do regular exercises and in a very good health, then it wouldn’t be a problem.

Kailash Mansarovar can be visited any time during the months from mid-April to September end each year. However, the best time to arrange your travel to Mt. Kailash is undoubtedly April to June and September that offers high visibility of the mountain along with the stunning beautiful views and the wonderful temperatures. July and August are the monsoon months that bring intermittent light rains and fogs. November through March is the cold season that experiences ice and heavy snow falls making it nearly hard to cross certain sections of the trail.

All your guides are local Nepalese and Tibetan people. While the Tibetan guides manage all the paperwork, speak local Tibetan dialect and maintain coordination with yak and horse merchants, the Nepalese guides work for all the logistics, health and safety, food and comfort issues of the pilgrims. At least two pilgrimage journeys are led by Lina Patel from USA each year.

For all foreign tourists, traveling to Tibet is strictly regulated. The authorities in Tibet impose different prices for Indian nationals and non-Indian nationals especially those who are on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Generally, for Indian nationals, the price could range anywhere between $2000 to $4000 while for non-Indian nationals the price ranges between $3000 and $5000. There are various factors that will affect the price of a Kailash Mansarovar trip, namely the route you travel, number of people in a group, traveling season, means of transportation, standard of hotel and dining, and other aspects.

There are 3 major routes from Nepal to do the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Firstly, Kailash tour via Lhasa wherein you will fly to Lhasa from Kathmandu. After a couple of days of sightseeing in Lhasa and getting acclimatized you will drive from Lhasa to Lake Mansarovar through the townships like Shigatse, Gyantse and Lhatse and then do the Kailash Kora for in days before returning to Lhasa. Secondly, overland tour to Kailash is possible beginning at Kathmandu and driving all the way to the Tibetan border in Kyirong and continuing via Saga up to Lake Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash. Another route for reaching Mt. Kailash is via flight from Kathmandu up to Nepalgunj, and a helicopter flight from here to Simikot and then a considerably long hike through Dharapori, Yalbang, and Yari up to Hilsa. From Hilsa, you will drive via Purang and Darchen beginning your Kailash Kora and Mansarovar Lake visit.

The quickest route to reach the holy Mt. Kailash is via Simikot, but there are two major issues on this route, namely delayed or cancelled flights due to the bad weather, and quick ascend to high altitude that may pose threat of mountain sickness to travelers. So, Himalayan Glacier strongly recommends traveling overland via the Kyirong route that takes about 10 to 12 days for the entire journey

The most popular route to reach Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar Lake from Nepal is the Kyirong route. The journey is quite and adventurous one beginning with a drive from Kathmandu to the Tibetan border of Kyirong and then onward drive on a scenic highway towards Kailash Mansarovar.

As Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar Lake is situated at high altitudes, travelers will require having a basic fitness level and perfect health condition with regular exercising for few weeks before the trip. Indian nationals who are above 70 are not eligible to do this trip. People with any respiratory ailment like asthma or COPD and any other chronic diseases should consult their physicians before booking their trip to Mt. Kailash. Daily walking of 4 to 5 km, some basic yoga, and lung exercises and pranayama like Kapalbati, Bhasrika, and Anulom Vilom will be very helpful for a successful trip.

Nowadays, there are new hotels coming up in Taklakot, Saga and Darchen and they offer rooms with attached toilets. Most hotels and guesthouses still offer common Asian squat toilets which are not always very clean while some places do have western style toilets. A little problem is in Mansarovar, Dirapuk and Zutulpuk where toilets have to be managed as portable toilets unless your services are in standard hotels where toilet facilities have now considerably changed to being better. During the Kora or circumambulation of Mt. Kailash however, there are no toilet facilities and one has to use open air toilets with dug-pit loos that are dirty.

Mt. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is especially designed for Hindu pilgrimage, so basically all meals are vegetarian based. Vegan or kosher and gluten-free food can be made available is requested prior to the beginning of the tour. We have the best kitchen crew members who have numerous years of experience in the north Indian and south Indian cuisine. We freshly prepare and cook all the three meals for you during the entire journey. If you and your team have any special requirements regarding the food, please let us know while booking the trip with us. You can have a look at our Kailash Mansarovar food menu here.

Drinking water quality is not potable and safe in Tibet, so Himalayan Glacier crew will supply sealed mineral water bottle throughout the entire trip right from the starting day.

Mt. Kailash is situated at quite a high altitude so there is every chance for a traveler to get mountain sickness. On the Mt Kailash Kora route, we have special rescuers in case any emergency evacuation is needed. They will carry the sick travelers to the ambulance within the reach of the road access and bring them back to the nearest health center or hospital.

US dollars are widely convertible in the Tibetan land but the exchange rates may not be very attractive than elsewhere. So, we recommend you to change your dollars into the Chinese Renminbi (RMB or CNY) at much higher rates in Kathmandu before you begin your trip. In fact, the Chinese currency is easily acceptable throughout Tibet while the US dollars may not be acceptable at small teahouses or hotels. Please use the currency converter www.xe.com to know the latest exchange rates around the world.

The highest point on the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is during the Kora when travelers will reach the Dolma La Pass at 5,943m (19,500ft.). At such an elevation there are possibilities of getting hit by altitude sickness either mildly or seriously. It is a mandatory condition for joining this trip with Himalayan Glacier that you get good travel insurance that covers expenses likely to incur due to health issues and emergency evacuations. Make sure that your insurance company is well informed about all the activities being undertaken in the trip and the insurance also covers emergency air ambulance or helicopter rescue including medical expenses.

Mount Kailash is considered to be sacred among the Hindus, Buddhists, Bons and Jains. For all four religions, Mt. Kailash is the spiritual epicenter where thousands of devotees visit the holy site for spiritual purification. In Hindu and Buddhist cosmology, Mt. Kailash is regarded as the manifestation of mount Sumeru while the Hindus believe that the mountain is the throne of Lord Shiva. The Buddhists believe that the mountain hosts Demchong, the greatest tantric meditation god who represents supreme bliss. A monk named Milarepa is believed to have ventured far enough to reach the top of the mountain based on a Tibetan folklore. According to the Bon mythology, Mt. Kailash is believed to be the site where Thonpa Shenrab Miwo, the founder descended from heaven and spread his spiritual knowledge. Jains refer to Mt. Kailash as Mt. Asthapada and believe that their religious founder Rishadev attained Nirvana – the ultimate happiness here. Mt. Kailash is regarded sacred since the very beginning therefore it is not permitted to be climbed. Every object in this area is sacred and related to many of the legends and mythical stories from ancient scriptures and traditions.

Mt. Kailash inner kora or parikrama starts and ends at Darchen. The inner parikrama is considered to be the most popular yet very challenging that requires some mountaineering knowledge and equipment. This journey involves walking a distance of about 34km/21mi starting the hike from Dirapuk visiting Kailash Charan Sparsa, exploring the Serlung monastery and getting a closer view of Mt. Kailash from here. The Kailash inner parikrama is considered more difficult than the outer parikrama as you need to cross a high pass and walk for more than 10 hours on high altitude area. The journey includes exploration of the Saptarishi caves, Nandi Parbat, Asthapada, Atmalingam, and Kuber Kunda.

The outer Kora is about 56km (35mi) and takes 3 days to complete with overnight stays in Dirapuk and Zutulpuk. The outer parikrama is the more popular journey while the inner parikrama is observed as a special Kora which is known less to devotees and comparatively more challenging than the outer parikrama. The Buddhists complete the inner Kora by foot clockwise while the Bons walk anti-clockwise and complete the journey in 3 to 5 days. The inner parikrama is an additional journey of Kailash Nandi, Saptarishi Cave in the inner section of the Kailash Parbat.

Yes, internet connectivity is fairly good during most sections of the journey. However, there is no facility for internet during the Kailash Kora. While in Tibet, you can purchase a local SIM card that will give you data accessibility wherever your hotels do not provide internet facility.

Yes, of course electricity facility is there throughout the entire journey.

Firstly, Mt. Kailash turns heavenly on a full moon night. It is believed that a holy dip in the Lake Mansarovar on a full moon night washes away all the sins of present and the past 100 lives and this very holy dip turns a person into a new human soul with the same body. According to the ancient Vedic astrology, the full moon radiates the most positive and vibrant cosmic energies. So, people try to reach Kailash on full moon to be a part of the sheer spiritual energy emanated in the natural surroundings of Kailash and Mansarovar Lake.

You will be traveling with like-minded travelers or yatris with similar mindsets who will diversify the values of the pilgrimage and present high levels of understanding throughout the trip. Yatris or travelers are usually aged between 40 and 70 with a few exceptions.

Yes, it is possible to return with completing your parikrama due to ill health or altitude sickness in real emergencies. However, you will wait for other group members at Darchen until they complete their Kailash Kora and return back.

Yes, of course you can have your own departure dates for any size of your group. However, you need to understand that a smaller group size will affect the cost of your Kailash journey.

Tibet, also known as the roof of the world, is the highest plateau of the world. So, when you travel to Tibet, you will experience dry and cold wind with less oxygen in the atmospheric air that you breathe. Traveling to Tibet requires you to be prepared and equipped with the right equipment, including clothing and gears. To know more about the clothing and equipment requirements for a Tibet trip, please visit our Kailash Clothing and Equipment List.

Unfortunately, no! You will not find any pundits or religious gurus to perform ceremonial and religious prayers and other traditional offerings. You need to hire one in Kathmandu and allow him to travel together with your group. If you have a requirement for a pundit during your trip, please inform us before you arrive in Kathmandu so that we can find one who is ready to travel to Tibet.

Each yatri or traveler intending to offer prayers normally knows about the puja and the fire ceremony or havan that will take place at Mt. Kailash. We will manage all the required items for the puja for each yatri from Kathmandu itself and carry it all the way up. If you book the full moon dates, we will arrange for your puja and other religious rites that you will indulge in during your tour.

Mt. Kailash is located in far west corner of Tibet and is the most sacred peak in Asia. Known by the Tibetans as Kangrinboqué, Mt. Kailash is a high peak in the Kailash Range and lies at an altitude of 6,638m (21,778ft.). The Kailash Range forms part of the trans-Himalaya in the Ngari prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region in China.  Mt. Kailash is located near Lake Mansarovar and Lake Rakshastal, close to the source of some of the longest Asian rivers such as Brahmaputra, Indus, Sutlej, and Ghaghara (also known as Karnali). Of the two beautiful lakes, Mansarovar at an altitude of 4,590m (15,059ft.) is considered to be the highest freshwater body in the world. Google Map Link

The number of days required for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra depends on the starting point of your tour. If you are starting and ending in Kathmandu, it depends on the route that you choose to travel as there are 3 different routes from Kathmandu. It usually takes from 9 to 15 days on an overland journey or if you fly into Lhasa and then drive to Mt. Kailash. However, if you wish to travel from Kathmandu via the Simikot route and end the tour in Lhasa, then the journey will be around 20 days.

First and foremost, you should have a great determination and will power to decide doing the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Once you have made up your mind to travel on this amazing spiritual journey of  Kailash Mansarovar, one of our travel experts will guide you from the very beginning on how to prepare yourself for the wonderful life-changing on this amazing spiritual journey of  Kailash Mansarovar, one of our travel experts will guide you from the very beginning on how to prepare yourself for the wonderful life-changing Yatra.

We normally travel with our group of religious travelers during the most suitable season around. During this time of the year, the temperatures are at their highest, reaching as high as 23°C/73°F on the hottest days. However, the nights get colder outside with temperatures up to 0°C/32°F. The average temperatures throughout the month hovers around 4 to 6°C/39 to 43°F.

Hindus believe that bathing in Mansarovar and drinking its water cleanses all the sins from the present as well as the past 100 lives. During the high Kailash Yatra season, you will witness travelers mostly from India come here and participate in the Kailash Parikrama and take ceremonial baths in the pristine waters of the Mansarovar Lake. However, these days the Tibetan authorities do not allow bathing or taking a dip just anywhere in the lake; there is always a designated place where visitors can take a bath.

Yes, obviously everyone will require a visa for Kailash Mansarovar as it is located within the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. If you are planning to make a pilgrimage tour to the sacred Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, you need to have a six-month valid passport and Himalayan Glacier will make visa process and all permit arrangements.

Travelers need to carry their valid passport and insurance copies for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Other than that, no other documents are required. Make sure that you don’t possess any books or documents about Dalai Lama or any ‘Free Tibet’ books, magazines or any kind of printed materials during this trip.

Due to its high religious significance, Mt. Kailash has always remained and unclimbed mountain till now. The mountain is sacred to the Hindus, Buddhists, Bons and Jains. According to the Hindu mythology, the mountain has been regarded as the abode of Lord Shiva. Many attempts have been made in the past to get to the summit, but none succeeded due to extreme weather conditions the moment they set foot on the mountain. Although the Chinese government, during the mid-80s, offered Reinhold Messner, the Italian alpinist authorization to climb Mt. Kailash, he simply declined the offer after protest from mountaineers around the world. The Chinese government then got the message and banned any future climbing attempts. There isn’t much information, but it is believed that the only person to reach the summit was the Tibetan Buddhist yogi, Milarepa in the 11th century.

To pre-book your Mansarovar trip, you can go through a highly reputed private tour operator in Nepal.

Packing for Kailash Mansarovar is not an easy task. In fact, packing for high altitude trips that include some trekking is never easy. Most travelers tend to over-pack with a fear about the limited facilities and shops available on the Kailash route. We recommend you to pack just the right clothing, equipment and accessories for your personal use and enjoy a comfortable journey. For detailed information, please read our packing list for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra that is suitable for most age groups and all genders.

Assuming that you will be taking the Simikot route via Nepalgunj, there is quite a lot of walking to be done beginning from Simikot through Dharapori, Kermi, Yalbang, Tumkot, Yari, and the Tibetan border towns of Hilsa and Purang. This route is usually more for an adventurous traveler rather than for a religious one. If you take the overland route via Kyirong or fly to Lhasa and drive onwards, then there is not quite much of walking. Although the walking distance is not large, the walking hours are long due to the undulating paths during the Kailash Kora. The second day is by far the hardest day as you will be walking for 10 to 12 hours. The first day of walking is about 4 to 5 hours while on the third day you need to walk for about 2 to 3 hours.

There are 3 major routes from Nepal to do the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. The first route is via Simikot entering the Tibetan border at Hilsa either on a helicopter or trekking from Simikot till Hilsa and then an overland trip to Mansarovar. Another route is flying from Kathmandu to Lhasa and then continuing on a road drive either from Lhasa itself or Ngari. Then there is a land route beginning from Kathmandu and driving all the way through the Kyirong border to Darchen at the foot of Mt. Kailash. This route is quite adventurous and comparatively more economic than the other routes. For most visitors traveling to Kailash Mansarovar, the best way is to travel overland to Kailash from Lhasa after a short flight from Kathmandu to the Tibetan capital. This route will help reduce the risk of altitude sickness as you gradually begin driving from Lhasa over a few days. But, for some adventurer seekers, the land route through Kyirong border may be the best way to reach their destination.

While in Nepal, you will stay in deluxe 4-star hotels with most amenities in the room and personalized services. If you are traveling via Simikot, you will be staying at fairly basic teahouses or tents (if you wish to camp overnight) during the trekking sections. On road trip via Kyirong, you will be staying in hotels with western standards and attached bathroom facilities. While at Mansarovar, Dirapuk and Zutulpuk, you can expect basic communal dormitory.

For traveling from Kathmandu to the Tibetan border up to Kyirong, we will use 4WD private vehicles while mini-bus will be used inside Tibet. On the Simikot route, you will fly to Nepalgunj on a twin otter plane and from there till Simikot you will fly on a helicopter. After trekking into Tibet border from Simikot, you will travel on a mini bus. On the route via Lhasa, you will fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa on a Boeing aircraft. From Lhasa, you will travel in a mini bus until completion of your trip.

All foreign travelers are required to have a valid China visa and a Tibet Travel Permit to enter into Tibet. Visitors traveling to Tibet from Nepal should apply for group tourist visa through the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Himalayan Glacier will make necessary arrangements for your Chinese visa as well as Tibet Travel Permit when you book your Kailash Mansarovar trip with us.

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