Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar Tour in Tibet
Far out in the west of Tibet lies what is considered to be the world’s most sacred mountain. An awe-inspiring pyramid of black rock coated with a permanent dusting of snow at its peak, holy Mount Kailash has long been considered to be the mountain of legend at the center of the universe in four different religions. Also known as Gang Rinpoche in Tibet, this unique mountain is the most popular pilgrimage site in the world, with hundreds of thousands of tourists and pilgrims traveling thousands of miles to make the trek around its base.
To the south, in an alluvial basin, lies the stunning Lake Manasarovar, one of the Great Three holy lakes of Tibet. Along with Lakes Yamdrok and Namtso, this beautiful freshwater lake is believed to be the place where Maya conceived Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, and for Hindus, legend says that it was created in the mind of Lord Brahma and manifested on earth. The personification of ultimate purity, both Hindus and Buddhists believe that bathing in or drinking the waters can cleanse the soul of a lifetime of sin.
Touring to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar
The Mt.Kailash tours by Explore Tibet has been most effective and most rated tour packages in Tibet. One of the most popular 2-week tours in Tibet is the immense journey to visit these two holy sites. An adventure that starts in the sunlit city of Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, tours to the holy mountain and lake cross the vast Tibetan plateau by road, passing through Gyantse, Shigatse, and Everest Base Camp along the way.
A Kailash Manasarovar tour is not just a straight drive to the site and back. Covering a distance of 1,510 kilometers just to get there, this is the adventure of a lifetime. There are many sites to see along the way, including the famous Kumbum stupa at Gyantse, the tallest stupa of its kind in Tibet, the spectacular Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, the only monastery that houses four different schools of Tibetan Buddhism under one roof.
Taking a slight detour from the long road to Kailash and Manasarovar, a side trip to visit Mount Everest Base Camp is one of the highlights of the drive. Lying 12 kilometers from the peak in a straight line, the base camp is one of two base camps at the foot of Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain.
Close by the base camp lies the Rongbuk Monastery, the highest monastery in the world. At an elevation of 4,980 meters, this stunning monastery was once an important site of pilgrimage for the Sherpas that reside on the southern slopes of Everest.
Mount Kailash and the kora
As you finally arrive at the sacred Mount Kailash, standing high above the other mountains in the Gangdise Range, you will realize why this stunning mountain is considered to be so sacred. There is an intense sense of spirituality about the mountain that is clearly felt by even the most skeptical of people.
For both pilgrims and tourists, the mountain is a place of stunning beauty, and is the site of the most arduous trek in Tibet, the Kailash Kora. This ancient pilgrimage route around the mountain covers 52 kilometers from start to finish and passes over one of Tibet’s highest mountain passes, Dolma La, at an elevation of 5,636 meters. However, while this may be a popular trek, it is no walk in the park. Ascending more than 1,000 meters to the pass is an arduous task, and the reward for getting there is one of the most spectacular views in Tibet. A sea of prayer flags adorns the pass, and on a clear day, you can see for miles in all directions.
While the kora trek takes three days for international and domestic tourists, for many pilgrims, the entire route is completed in one day. While this trek around the mountain is hard for even physically fit tourists, many pilgrims perform the ritual kora by prostrating over the entire route around the mountain, a task that can take several weeks to complete. Many pilgrims to Tibet has been once in life time decision and it truly privilege for the believer like Hindus, Buddhism and Jainism.
Lake Manasarovar and its waters
After finishing the kora trek around Mount Kailash, it is a popular pastime to travel to the holy Lake Manasarovar, a short distance to the south. Another sacred place in the area, the lake has its own Kora route, which is popular with Hindu pilgrims. It is also believed that drinking from the waters of the lake or bathing in them can cleanse the soul of the sins of a hundred lifetimes, and that those who do so will go to the abode of Shiva after death
A stunning sight, the waters of the lake are a beautiful shade of turquoise, which reflects the rays of the Tibetan sun giving a shimmering colorful effect as the sun sets to the west. Known in Tibetan as “The Jewel of Tibet”, the lake has several monasteries around its shoreline, the most notable being the Chiu Monastery, which appears to have been carved out of the very rock of the hillside on which it sits.
The journey from Lhasa to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar is one of the most spectacular of all tours in Tibet, and is a journey of discovery, inspiration, and possibly even enlightenment, in some sense at least.
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