Kailash Mansarovar Tourism
I am heading to Kailash Mansarovar
Planning Kailash Mansarovar trip?
Know cost before you go!
Planning Kailash Mansarovar trip?
Know cost before you go!
Reasons to go to Kailash Mansarovar
Located at an altitude of 6,690 m, Kailash Mansarovar is considered to be the ultimate pilgrimage destination in the Himalayas. Also according to Hindu mythology, Mount Kailash or Kailasa Parvata is believed to be the holy abode of Lord Shiva.
HolidayIQ traveller Kashmira Fitter shares, “Peaceful, tranquil,magical and mystical. A must see for all ages. Devotion and surrender to the Lord are the only two qualifications. Many have had to return due to extreme climate or unknown factors. Sherpas and Tibetan guides are angels. Follow their instructions to the tee and you will get celestial sightings and divine experiences. I have photos to prove celestial sightings and stories too. Havan is performed at initiation of Yatra, at Manasarovar, Parikrama (circumambulation) and completion of Yatra to be concluded with a visit to your 'kuldaivat' ancestral deity. Travel from your city to Delhi to Kathmandu to Kodari Pass across Friendship Bridge to Tibet enter at Zangmu, on to Nyalam, Nagarkot,Saga And ultimately at Horchuse Pass where we get the first sighting of Lake Manasarovar and Mt. Kailash together.”
Unforgettable experience in life
kailash mansarovar yatra
Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Food, sight-seeing and shopping: Total vegetarian food right from the day the puja for commencement of Yatra till completion of Yatra. Sight seeing at Nepal - Chitvan, Mountain flying etc. Shop for pearls,Rudraksh etc.
Activities & things to do: Activities & things to do: Increase diet, keep sugar, dry fruits handy. Develop a habit of walking, climbing stairs etc. Do not strain.Strictly follow instructions given by the organiser ( Shri Subhash Vaidya), Sherpas.
Travel tips, How to reach, travel warnings etc: -
Recommended Duration in Kailash Mansarovar
Inspirational stories from travellers
Kailash Mansarovar Overview
Kailash Mansarovar is considered to be the ultimate pilgrimage destination in the Himalayas. Mount Kailash, located at an altitude of 6,690 meters above sea level, nearby Lake Manasarovar and Lake Rakshastal, is a revered place visited by the followers of various religious sects like Bon, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
Mount Kailash is also known as Mount Ashtapada as per Jain texts. It is believed that Rishabh Dev or Adishwar, the first Jain Tirthankar, attained salvation at Mount Kailash. According to Buddhism, Mount Kailash is the home of Buddha Demchok and the region surrounding it was the seat of Dorge Phangmo. The followers of Bon believe that Mount Kailash is the seat of spiritual power.
According to Hindu mythology, Mount Kailash or Kailasa Parvata is believed to be the holy abode of Lord Shiva. Kora or the Parikrama is the most important part of the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash, where pilgrims circumambulate Mount Kailash and cover a distance of about 55 km on foot or pony.
Mansarovar Lake, which is about 90 meters deep, spreads over 320 sq km, at an elevation of 4556 meters. Mansarovar Lake is one of the ancient lakes in the world. This lake is surrounded by Mount Kailash on its north, Mount Gurala Mandhata on its south, Lake Rakshas-Tal or Ravan Harda on its west and hilly areas on its east.
This lake is also the source of four rivers which are Indus, Brahmaputra, Karnali and Sutlej. As per legends, the water of Mansarovar Lake is sacred as it can provide freedom from the cyclical re-incarnation of soul or ÂÂ‘SelfÂÂ’. Pilgrims visiting this lake, hence perform ablutions here to ensure Moksha or Salvation.
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, conducted by Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam during May ÂÂ– September, has a history that dates back to many centuries. Though it was discontinued for 21 years (1959 ÂÂ– 1980), it was resumed in 1981.
Kailash Mansarovar is about 865 km from New Delhi and it takes about 30 days to reach, along the fixed route decided by the Indian and Tibetan governments, by bus / jeep and by foot. Travellers to Kailash Mansarovar can also fly to Kathmandu, and then reach Mansarovar by road. Tourists can also reach this place by helicopter, which takes about 9 - 12 days. To understand what it's really like to travel to Kailash Mansarovar, do read this fantastic and detailed write-up contributed by HolidayIQ traveller Mallikarjuna Babu UV: The day I decided to go for the Manasarovar yatra, I scanned all over the Internet to find the facts about the trip. I found so many travel websites giving lucrative details but none spoke about the facts. I finally found one blog but it was with a different key word, than Manasarovar. This is what prompting me to put all facts before you so that you can take an informed decision about this trip of a life time. What you need to know There is no temple or God in Manasarovar. It is huge fresh water lake where it is believed that Gods take bath. People say that on a Poornima day you can see starry images take a beeline from sky and dip in lake. Mount Kailash appears like a Shivalinga. On South face you can see an eye, namam and Akash Ganga. On north face you can a nag, and several imaginary figures. East face is not clearly visible as another hill covers it. Getting there Sarovar parikrama is going around lake in a bus – 115 KMs. Kailash parikrama or outer Kora is going around the hill by walk or on pony under strenuous conditions. Inner kora, Asthapad, Nandi parikrama are other difficult routes of going around the hills and require Chinese Army approvals and hard to get. Planning your trip The key for this trip is the Travel Agent (TA). No local tour operator can conduct this tour no matter where you live. Only Nepal and Tibet based agents can organize this trip. All Indian tour operators transfer their clients to Nepal Operators at Kathmandu. To the best of my knowledge only 5-6 Nepal tour operators run the trips to Manasarovar on a regular basis. Rest are just namesake. So be wise to choose a direct operator. It is impossible to go without TA. Group Visas can be applied and all travel arrangement can be made by them and not by any individual. In all you need one permit and two Visas. First is the Tibetan Tourism Administration’s invitation letter to allow you on a group tour. Second is Nepal Visa which is available on arrival and has no issues. Third is China Visa which will be issued only after your arrival in Nepal and after seeing your physical passport. First and third are the responsibility of TA. Chinese are notorious for changing rules or rejecting visas without giving any reason. Be prepared with Travel Insurance to cover all your travel changes, excess charges for overstay, loss of luggage, health and emergency situations. It should be available well under 2K for 15 days and is a MUST. That’s the reason I called this a Rich Man’s poor trip as the trip is quite expensive ranging from 140K to 220K depending on the place you join the trip (Kathmandu/Lucknow/Nepalgunj) and other key factors such as by road or by helicopter and your passport (Indian/Foreign). Where to stay? Lack of hotels with good sanitary conditions is another drawback. A fellow traveler lamented “I got up at 2AM to finish my nature call before every one sees me. I cried when I was sitting opposite Mount Kailash and doing that stuff”. Hotel rooms are not cleaned due to continuous rush. They will dress up the bed with the same linen. Important considerations and weather conditions Remember that it is not an easy trip because of High Altitudes and changing weather conditions. People die due to health problems or mistakes they do. From 550 Meters altitude at Hyderabad where I live, I went up to 4900 Meters above the sea level. This increases your efforts to do every single act. I used to walk 3KMs in 30 minutes where as it took one hour to walk 1.5KM at that altitude. Dry nose on day time and wet nose in night time, Chilling nights, scorching sun and rains are big problems. You will not find a tree, a bush or grass to hide yourself. 13 out of 40 of our team members returned back to Takalkot on health conditions and waited for us to join them. Things to remember Horse riding is easy but it will affect your butt and test your patience. You will feel sleepy and may fall off the horse. You will see at least a couple of falls from each and every team but nothing serious unless you slide down in any valley. Some people use adult diapers to avoid butt pains. A group must always travel together and must not deviate. If Chinese Army checks, the whole team will be in problem. Smaller groups around 40-50 are ideal. Bigger groups have seen multiple problems in terms of groupism, unmanageability, logistics and clashes etc. What to pack Sun control or Sun block is a must and should have 45SPF or more. You must apply this on all your exposed skin to protect from UV rays. Otherwise the exposed parts will turn jet black. I was suggested to skip shaving as it will create hard skin problems. I did not test it rather heeded to the advice. The other key is Acclimatization medicine – Diamox. Himalayan Climbers Association suggested to take 125mg twice a day where as individual doctors may suggest whatever they feel good. But you need to be fully aware of the side effects – sleeplessness, Diarrhea, nose blood etc. But this medicine is the best and you must start 24 hours before you start your trip. Kathmandu is around 1250 Meters above sea level. I started taking half of Diamox 250MG a day before I arrived in Kathmandu and stopped as soon as I left Darchen on my return and had no issues or side effects. Carry throat lozenges, Vicks, inhaler, salt (in water) to gurgle, pachha Karpur (you can tie it in small cloth and inhale it occasionally for lung clearance and it also acts like Diamox), lip balm, cold cream apart from your regular medicines. Food and its quality entirely depends on your TA and his team. While we had sumptuous meals every time, I have seen other teams complaining of inadequate and poor quality food. Day to day activities of a Manasarovar Helicopter trip Day 1: Kathmandu: You need to come on your own to Kathmandu as most of the trips start from Kathmandu and end in Kathmandu. Indians will receive Visa on arrival but foreigners need to pay US$25 for a 15 day multiple entry Visa. The catch here is that you must pay in Cash. If you do not have $, then you convert your currency to Nepalese Rupiah and then to US$. So be prepared. You will be received by your TA and taken to Hotel. Hotels are fairly good and will not have any issues. After Lunch TA will organize a local trip to Pasupathinath and Guhaeshwari Temples and will try to conveniently avoid Patan, Swayambhu stating that they are Buddhist. TA will give you a big duffel bag and backpack for good. You can carry 10KG in Duffel Bag and 5 Kg in backpack. Or else the local airlines will start charging excess luggage fees. You need to repack and leave your original luggage with TA or in the same hotel where you stayed. Do not over bring any stuff. You just need three to four pairs of clothing and limited number of eatables for yatra. The rest can be left at Kathmandu. You can buy most of the trekking gear at Kathmandu at very reasonable prices. I think except trekking shoes all can be bought here – Rain Coats/Pants, Trekking sticks, thick gloves, Oxygen cans. You will have multiple choices - expensive to inexpensive. Trekking shoes must be bought at least 2 -3 months before your trip as you need to wear continuously and break the newness. TA may give a small briefing of your trip. He will explain and you also must realize that weather is not in his control and so are the delays that is beyond his control. You will be charged extra for all these delays, if you have to overstay the trip. Better find it before to avoid last minute surprises. I suggest you better take Chinese Currency in Kathmandu itself. Your TA can arrange the same or there are many stores offering the exchange. The other option is to convert at Taklakot. But they will exchange only against US$. In Kathmandu Indian currency is also exchanged without any issue. On an average you need CNY3,500 in cash to complete the Manasarovar trip which is equivalent to INR 40,000. Or you can draw it on your debit card at Takalkot ATM. But what if does not work on that day and also it has a CNY2000 limit per day. You can buy NCell sim card for NRS.200 and top it up with required amount. You can make India calls @3.75 per minute. You can have a data plan for another NRS300 and you are on for all your stay in Nepal. The time difference between India and Nepal is +15 minutes. Day 2: Nepalgunj: Second day after lunch you will start to Nepalgunj. The flight takes about 55 minutes and a drive can take up to 6 hours. You will stay in a decent hotel and spend the rest of the day. You can go to Bhageswari temple but you need to demand for it. Nepalgunj is at 150 M elevation and it will be humid and sultry. If you are coming from Lucknow, you will join the tour at Neplagunj. It is a 5 hour drive from Lucknow. You can easily save around 25K if you prefer to join here. Some TA will arrange the pickup from Lucknow airport while it may also be on your own. Taxis, Frequent buses are available in plenty from Lucknow. WIFI is available in hotel lobby This will be your last day of comfort and a nice bath. Next 2 days you may not have a bath! Day 3: Simikot: You will leave early from Nepalgunj due to weather worries and the flight takes about 45 minutes. Planes are small and can take 12-15 passengers only. We left in the first plane at 6AM and the second flight at 6:10AM with rest of our team was cancelled just before the takeoff due to bad weather and they could come on next day only. Simikot is a small hill station at 2910 M elevation. Except the runway and tarmac, rest of the town is dirty with stone clad road and the key hotels are on the top of a hillock. Food is very simple and good. You can have a decent walk to Shiva temple on the other end of the town. A good 45 minutes’ walk will take you to the temple. Just follow the stone clad road or ask for directions. Do not miss the superb river views from Shiva temple. The other walking attraction is the peak. I did not have the time to go but was advised by the hotel owner to carry a stick for the fear of dogs. You are staying in all these places just to acclimatize your body to higher elevations. The hotel looks good but each room will have 4-6 beds. There is a common lavatory for each floor – separate for men and women but no shower. The water is so cold and you will prefer to skip a bath. It is better to recharge all your gadgets. Going forward, you need at least three layers of clothes. A vest, a thermal and a shirt with TA supplied Jacket and an underwear, a thermal, a pant for bottom. Do not wear Jeans. Best would be to have track pants. Day 4: Hilsa: You need to take a helicopter with a capacity of 5-6 passengers. Takes about 15 minutes from Simikot to Hilsa but do not forget weather worries and start AEAP. Helicopter services are frequently disturbed due to ever changing weather conditions. Hilsa is a small border village with a few dirty hotels (named as …. Resorts!!). Again 4-6 beds with dirty lavatories. Open air is the best option. No showers. There is a small river but the water is not clean. The village is dusty and do not forget to use face masks. You can buy mask at a local shop just before Friendship Bridge. The other side is China border which is being developed with better roads and China immigration Offices. There is an army base on the top of the hill. Remember not to take pictures of Friendship Bridge between Hilsa and China and also the hills on China side or their offices. Food is good. You have nothing to do here. It is better to cross into China and stay at Takalkot. Being foreign passport holders we were forced to stay for a couple of nights at Hilsa as China immigration gave us permit to enter on June 24th only. However Indian Passport holders in our team went to Takalkot without staying at Hilsa. But our TA managed to avoid the second night at Hilsa and took us to China after 7PM. TA will manage departure stamps on your passport from Nepalese Immigration services at Hilsa. NCell card will not work in Hilsa. You need a Chinese sim card and that is available in Takalkot only. So you will not have cell phone during your stay at Hilsa. And again on your return once you are in Simikot, your NCell starts working. Day 5: Takalkot: Once we crossed the Friendship Bridge, Chinese Army Officials checked our passports, scanned through all our luggage and checked pictures on both smart phone and camera. They have a right to delete unwanted pictures from your camera and phone. Then we boarded a bus and was escorted by Army all the way to Takalkot Immigration Office. To our surprise our TA managed to get the Office opened at 8:30PM. They again machine scanned all our luggage took our passports and allowed us to check-in a hotel. Takalkot hotel was decent 5 storied building. Rooms are good but with 3-4 beds with Western style attached bathrooms and hot water. From here TA crew will take over all food arrangements. They always served bed tea/coffee/Horlicks, breakfast with two items, lunch and dinner with Roti, Rice, two curries, pickle, papad, desert (gulab Jamoon) and evening tea/coffee. They occasionally made sambar and rasam and curd was sweet as they made it from milk powder. We never had to starve or worry about the quality of food. They made soup and served hot bajjies at least a couple of times during our entire stay. China roads are very good. You can do some more shopping in Takalkot. Banks and money exchangers are available. You can draw up to 2000 CNY from ATM using your debit card. We came to know that suddenly Chinese immigration changed the rules that everyone must stay for 2 nights in Takalkot to acclimatize better. However our TA managed with one night stay only as we stayed for one night at Hilsa which is very close and the Indian team already stayed for two nights at Takalkot. It is better to recharge all your gadgets. WIFI is available in Hotel Lobby. Chinese sim card is useful only to receive calls. You have to pay 100CNY for sending SMS and making calls in China only. And it can receive calls from all over the World. If you have T-Mobile from US it automatically gets connected to Chinese Telecom. Normally very few people need Oxygen at higher altitudes. Once you take oxygen you cannot go to any higher altitude, you must return back to lower altitudes. But small cans are sold at various shops for 20CNY and you will hardly need/use it. TA will carry oxygen cylinder in bus and will take care of your needs. Now onwards, every night the TA crew will start checking your pulse rate and Oxygen levels. They will alert you if there is a concern. If you need any medicine for cold, headache do not use your own. Talk to TA or Crew lead and he will give suitable medicine that works well in high altitudes. You must buy your water jerry can to carry water from Manasarovar. The time difference between India and China is +2:30 Hours and Nepal and China is +2:15 Hours Day 6: Manasarovar – the big day We started around 11:30AM after collecting our passports from Chinese Immigration to Manasarovar. After a drive of around 45 minutes we had the first glimpse of Mount Kailash. Everyone was shouting “Om Namah Shivaya” with ecstasy and tears in their eyes. We stopped at a view point near Rakshatal, a magnificent blue colored lake. The Rakshasas are believed to be hiding under water. Not even a single particle of dust or insect could be seen in the entire region. Nature is so pristine. People started chanting mantras and bowed to Kailash. After an hour stay we drove on rough roads on the other side of Manasarovar Lake to a lonely place with the magnificent view of Kailash. We all took a quick 3 dip bath in the lake. Water is cold but bearable. Then we spent another hour chanting mantras and doing Pooja by the priests who accompanied with us. You need to fill Manasarovar water in the jerry can. I suggest you take a filter paper along with you. Use it when you fill your can. This will avoid unwanted things to enter the can. Remember it adds up to your luggage weight and you will be forced to pay excess luggage fees. Then we drove to a monastery Chiru Gompa and stayed in a nearby guest house just on the shores of the lake. Rooms are good but again with 4-6 beds, no bath rooms, no lavatories and the scary dogs. We were told that monastery will offer dead monks to dogs and birds. The dogs gave a scary and creepy look and people were afraid of them. We had power from generators only after sunset around 8PM and was switched off by 10PM. Day 7: Early in the morning we walked to Chiru Gompa Monastery to have a practice walk. It is on a top of hill and fairly a good walk for about 2 hours. Darchen: It is around a 45-minute drive to Darchen from Manasarovar. Darchen appears to be the biggest city in the region. You can see a birds eye view on your way. It has some nice hotels and the place where we stayed was OK. Rooms with 2-3 beds. They have some 10 common lavatories – Indian style and two shower rooms with very hot water. WIFI is available in Hotel Lobby. Entire open area is covered with acrylic sheets to cover from cold and rain. Local shop keepers will display their products in Hotel’s open area and you can easily bargain by 30-40%. They all know some Hindi words to impress you. There are many restaurants and shops to buy any last minute needs. Day 8: Parikrama Day 1 Darchen is the starting point for Mount Kailash parikrama. You will drive down to Yama Dwar and start your walk/pony ride from there. Yama Dwar is a very small temple and you need to pass through the temple and go around the temple for 3 times. Make sure to remind horseman about Yamadwar or else he will skip it. When you reach Yama Dwar you will find lots of horsemen and porters awaiting you. Your guide will talk to them and finally they will come to you with a hat full of chits with their names written on them. You will pick the name and he will be your assigned horseman. Similarly you will pick a porter for you to carry your bags. You will not be allowed to carry any load while you are on horse except your camera and may be a water bottle. So you need a porter to carry your backpack not weighing more than 8 KGs. You can pack eatables, some chocolates and water. Your rain pant/coat and may be one set of undergarments. Do not carry any extras as you will not have time/zeal/need to change. You need to hire a horseman or porter for 3 days and the charges that we paid are 1860 and 780 CNY. You cannot hire them for one day. However if you walk along the path for 1-1.5KMs you will find a tent and some horses. They come for a single day only and you can bargain for 550 CNY. But sometimes the horses may not be available. So it is a risk. Do not underestimate effort required for Parikrama. First day you need to walk around 12KMs to reach Dirapuk. It appears to be a plain walk with heights reaching around 10-12 feet. It takes huge effort to walk at that altitude and can take 6-8 hours. Just before end of day 1 parikrama, you will start seeing the north face of the Kailash Mountain. You can see Nag, Goddess, Ganesh murthys. The guest house is OK and rooms are again with 4-6 beds. Some lavatories are available. But no showers. Some people return after visiting north face. You can go back on the same horse that you came in along with Porter. They will be very happy to take you back as they get additional business. I will give another tip. You can go back in a Jeep if you do not want to go back on a horse!! Inform your TA that you need an ambulance. A jeep that can accommodate 5 people will come to pick you up and the charges are around 1200 CNY, that’s only 240CNY per person. In the early morning of the second day, if you are lucky, you can see Golden Kailash. The north face lights up under direct Sun and appears as a Golden Mountain. There is another parikrama from Dirapuk. You just need to walk against the hill. It is called Charan Sparsh. Touch the mountain and pray. But you can never reach the base of the temple as it is farer than you can imagine. So plan to walk as long as you can, pray from there and return back to Dirapuk. There is a big glacier just before the mountain and as you know it is impossible to walk on it without a guide and remember no pony or porter will support you in this endeavor. It takes about 6-8 hours and you need to stay for a second night at Dirapuk. Your TA must agree and plan it well in advance. In our case only 2 members attempted this. They were sent a day in advance to Dirapuk along with another team. They completed Charan Sparsh on second day and joined us to continue further. Day 9: Parikrama Day 2 Second day is the toughest day with lots of adventure. You will see Mount Kailash only for about 5 minutes of your second and third day walk. If you do not want any adventures you can skip going up and return back to Darchen. Second day walk is around 22 KMs and takes about 7-8 hours on a horse back. A couple of our team members walked all the way and they also took same amount of time as they are experienced – coming for 12th and 3rd time. Horse can take you to the highest point on second day at Dolmala pass (5600 M) but you need to quickly (because of lack of adequate Oxygen at that level) ascend down for about 2 hours on your own or with help from your porter. You need to literally sit down and crawl. It is boulders, sand, a small glacier, sand and mud mix all the way and you will not have any support to hold. No trees or bushes to hold on. So be very careful as a small fall will ruin the party. Horse cannot take you down. The horse will wait for you at the end of the slope and continue further. You will be totally exhausted by the time you reach your horse. You do nothing other than taking up this adventure. Scenic beauty is awesome so is your fear factor as you start climbing up and descending down. You will see Gauri Kund after the descent. It is believed that Goddess Parvathi Devi took bath in this place. It is steep and hard to go down and come up. It will be very hard to do this after your earlier efforts. You will stay overnight at Zuthulpuk Guest house. This is a decent place with rooms and toilets. Day 10: Parikrama Day 3 This is a quick picturesque walk for about 2-3 hours and you will be picked by your TA and go to Darchen in a jeep /bus. Your horseman and porter will expect a tip from you. I paid 300CNY to each of them. Some enthusiasts skip second day stay at Zuthulpuk and continue to the end. This is doable but you need to sit for a long time on horse. Your TA will not waste any time now. He will quickly take the team to Takalkot for an overnight stay. You will also feel relaxed as you have achieved something Great in your life – completion of Manasarovar yatra. This is the day you will bid goodbye to your TA crew who took care of you food needs all these days in China. They expect a tip from you. We paid around 300CNY per person. It all depends on the care that they took of you. Needless to say, our crew was best taking care of every one of us. Day 11: This is the best day of our trip. We waited for Chinese embassy to open doors. By 8:30AM our TA managed and bought an Army Officer to our Hotel who accompanied us all the way till border. They did not check our cameras or luggage. We just walked across the Friendship Bridge at Hilsa. With time difference we were in Hilsa by 7:30AM. We waited for a while to get our Helicopters to shore us back to Simikot. Our original plan was to stay overnight at Simikot. But our TA managed to get flights from Simikot to Nepalgunj and before noon we were at a Hotel in Nepalgunj. We finished our lunch and after a little rest went to Nepalgunj airport by 4PM and we were at Kathmandu by 6:30PM. The Lucknow team stayed overnight at Nepalgunj and next day morning went to Lucknow via Naimisharanyam. What a day we all said. Thanks to our young TA who took utmost care of all of us. Thanks to God for taking care of the nature as we never had a rainy day in our trip. (Except for one day at Nepalgunj, that did not cause any delay in our plans). We have seen another team where 63 members are held up at Simikot for more than 3 days. Their outward reservations got cancelled and their TA with whom we spoke, is very much worried about the expected fights for payment of extra charges and return reservations which is hard to get in the high seasons. OK. The end of the trip.what did we achieve? A great mental satisfaction that we completed one of the most religious and difficult trip. What did we see? Nothing but two huge lakes and a mountain. But the satisfaction over rules all pains. Hindus, Janis, Buddhists and Chinese regard this as a religious pilgrimage and so you are there.
There is so much to see in Kailash Mansarovar.
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