Mt. KAILASH VIA SIMIKOT
A pilgrimage tour to Mt. Kailash via Simikot
Best Season : May – October
Mt. Kailash, at 6714 m also known
as Tise, Kailasa & Kang Rinpoche(Jewel of
the Snows), has since time immemorial been celebrated
in many Eastern cosmologies as Mt. Meru, the
axis mundi. And as the center of the physical
& metaphysical universe, Mt. Meru is sacred
to the Buddhist, Jains, the Hindus & the
Bonpos. For the Hindus, the mountain represents
the seat of Lord Shiva; for the Buddhists, a
terrestrial projection of the cosmic mandala
of Dhyani-Buddhas & Boddhisatvas….The
Wheel of Life; for the
Bonpos, Kailash was the sacred nine storey Swastika
Mountain, upon which the Bonpo founder Sherab
alighted from heaven. Four of the great rivers
of the Indian subcontinent originates from here:
the Karnali, which feeds into the Ganges (south);
the Indus (north); the Sutlez (west) & the
Brahmaputra (Yarlung Tsangpo, east).
Mt. KAILASH & LAKE
MANASAROVAR TREK ITINERARY
Day 01 : Kathmandu - Nepalgunj
Fly to Nepalgunj and transfer to your hotel.
Nepalgunj is in the sub-tropical lowlands of
the Terai close to the border with India.
Day 02 : Nepalgunj - Simikot
Fly to Simikot 2960m, and begin trek to Dharapari
2250m. The flight takes 50mins and offers some
fantastic views of Himalayan peaks. The landing
at the tiny mountain airstrip at Simikot is
an unforgettable experience. There is an initial
climb above Simikot before descending towards
the village of Tuling and follow a level trail
through walnut and apricot trees to the village
Day 03 : Kermi 2682m.
We follow the Humla Karnali and trek through
rice and wheat fields to a point where the valley
narrows and the river is choked with large boulders.
According to legend, these represent silver
fish that swam up from the Ganges and could
make it no further. Above this point rice is
not grown and we trek through small fields of
buckwheat and open pine woodland. Towering above
the surging waters of the Humla Karnali are
snow capped peaks and a series of gentle waterfalls
that provide ideal shower facilities!
Day 04 : Yalbang Gompa
Today we cross our first pass, the Soli La (2990m),
and descend to cross the Soli Khola on a sturdy
suspension bridge built in 1995. Our trail climbs
above the Humla Karnali to the gompa at Yalbang
that makes an excellent campsite. The views
are superb and the friendly monks speak excellent
Day 5 : Tumkot Khola 2800m.
The trail continues, at times close to the river,
on a path that is built up with rocks and timber.
We cross the Humla Karnali and climb gradually
to Muchu (2920m) where there is a police checkpost.
The trail passes below the gompa and stone houses
of the village before gently descending to our
camp by the river.
Day 06 : Thado Dunga 3854m.
After crossing the Tumkot Khola we leave the
Humla Karnali behind and will meet it again
in two days time. A two hour climb brings us
to a ridge crest at 3310m marked by a large
cairn. We continue through open juniper woodland
past Palbang to the village of Yari where there
is a small shop and a school. About half an
hour beyond Yari there is a nice camping place
in an area of small meadows known as Dzungjen.
As an aid to acclimatisation we can climb one
of the ridges above Dzungjen for some excellent
mountain views of the Saipal Himal.
Day 07 : Hilsa 3720m.
The high pass of the Nara Lagna (4580m) is reached
after a 31/2 to 4 hour climb. The summit is
marked by two large cairns draped with prayer
flags. Below, we can look into Tibet where the
arid hillsides are a stark contrast to the greenery
of the Humla region we have recently trekked
through. It looks a long way down to Sher where
our landcruisers await. The descent is steep
and loose in places as the trail crosses scree
and debris slopes. We may meet traders with
large herds of sheep and goats. Each animal
carries saddlebags loaded with rice from the
Terai which is bound for Tibet, or if travelling
in the opposite direction loads of salt bound
Day 08 : Lake Manasarovar
We climb a short distance to Sher, a Tibetan
salt trading post at 3860m that is a windswept
place of government buildings where passports
and daysacks will be inspected. At Sher we meet
our Tibetan guide and board our landcruisers
for the two hour drive to Purang, (Taklakot)
at 3930m. It is a rough fantastic drive that
gives a taste of what lies ahead. En route visit
Khojarnath where a large red gompa of the Sakya
sect of Buddhism. We continue & stop at
Day 09 :
Rest day. We spend a morning here to aid acclimatisation.
We can explore the meditation caves along the
lake shore and bathe in the sacred waters. Chiu
Gompa is situated on a craggy cliff overlooking
the lake and has commanding views over the plain
to Mt Kailash. Inside is a small Guru Rinpoche
cave that forms the most sacred part of the
Day 10 : Darchen
It is a short 11/2 to 2 hour drive to Darchen,
a cluster of buildings within a walled compound
that marks the pilgrim’s gateway to Mt
Day 11 : Dri Ra Phuk gompa
We head north up the Lha Chu Valley and enter
the ‘Valley of the Gods’ through
the ‘two legged chorten’ known as
Chorten Kangnyi. It is a gentle walk on a well
defined path that remains on the right bank
of the river. The towering cliffs each have
a name and are believed to be the abode of supernatural
protectors. There are many nomads herding yak
and sheep to grazing areas west of the mountain.
We cross the Lha Chu to camp below Dri Ra Phuk
gompa at 5010m. The views of Kailas’ north
face are particularly impressive from above
Day 12 : Zutul Phuk gompa
Today we cross the Dolma La 5630m. The day begins
with a steep climb on a winding path over a
moraine ridge to a level meadow area. Our route
climbs to the Shiwa Tsal cemetary where Tibetans
leave part of their clothing or a drop of blood
to symbolise leaving part of their past life
behind them. It is a slow steady climb to the
Dolma La which is marked by streamers of prayer
flags and the huge Dolma Stone that represents
the goddess Dolma. The trail descends by a series
of rocky switchbacks above the frozen waters
of the holy lake of Gourikund to reach the valley
of the Zhong Chu. We follow the river to camp
in the vicinity of Zutul Phuk gompa at 4820m
after 6 to 8 hrs of walking. A truly memorable
Day 13 : Tirdapuri
Our final day on the kora is an easy three hours
walking as we exit the Zhong Chu Valley on a
trail that contours high above a narrow gorge.
From Darchen we drive for 3 hrs to Tirdapuri,
one of the holiest pilgrimage sites besides
Kailash & Lake Manasorovar. There is a hot
spring where one can bathe.
Day 14 : Horchu 4550m.
From Tirdapuri we drive across the Tibetan plateau
to camp by the northern tip of Lake Manasarovar.
Day 15 : Paryang 4050
The road is rough and there are some rivers
to cross. Wild antelope and kiang (the Tibetan
wild ass) are a common sight. This is the land
of the drogpa nomads and we will pass many encampments
with large herds of sheep and goats. The drives
are long, bumpy and often dusty but the scenery
is magnificent. Photo stops are a must!
Day 16 : Saga 4600.
Drive on to Saga Camp 4600m.
Day 17 : Nylam
We rejoin the main Lhasa to Kathmandu Highway
where we get to see Everest as the road climbs
to the Lalung La (5124m) before descending and
climbing again to the Tong La at 5120m. We finally
reach Nyalam and overnight at a basic hotel.
Day 18 : Drive via Zhangmu