Taklakot and nearby places: Biggest Travel Guide

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Last Updated on December 22, 2021 by asoulwindow

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Information about Taklakot

With a small population of just 7,125 people, Taklakot, Purang or Burang is a sparsely populated town in West Tibet. Whether it’s the lost kingdoms of Tibet, stories of Zorawar Singh or centuries old monasteries and forts, there are many things to do and place to see in Taklakot.

With no dearth of wide-open spaces at every turn, it is a refreshing travel experience. Spread across an area of 12,497 square kilometres, Taklakot is one of the top places to visit in Tibet.

“I don’t like the energy of this place. The energy in Taklakot is negative, a far cry from the positive energy around Mansarovar lake and Kailash Parbat. I don’t like it here. People are very money oriented and every one just wants something from you.”

My co traveller, who is a frequent traveller in these regions, said the above lines to me when he introduced Taklakot to me. With no other prior information on Taklakot, I allowed this remote place to write on the blank slate of my mind, one landscape at a time! Let us see what Taklakot is all about?

Why is Taklakot or Purang Famous?

What is special about Burang County aka Taklakot? Burang is popular with Hindu pilgrims because it serves as the gateway town for those who embark upon the epic journey to Kailash Parvat and Manasarovar lake. There are also many places of interest near these holy destinations.

Devotees of Hindu faith travel from all parts of India to embark upon once in a lifetime experience known as Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Taklakot is a gateway to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrimage.

The black coloured holy Kailash Parbat, located near Burang, Ngari province is also known as Kangrinboqê or Gang Rinpoche. As per the traditional cosmology, Kailash Parbat is the centre of the universe.

Tibet, we all know is known as the roof of the world, owing to its high altitude.  Mount Everest, the tallest peak of the world, after all is also accessible from both Tibet and Nepal. A parikrama around the sacred mountain and a holy dip in Mansarovar lake is the desire of all Hindus.

Followers of Hinduism, Jainism, Bon faith, Buddhism and even New Age pilgrims revere both Kailash Mountain and Mansarovar lake. Did you know that Mansarovar is a remnant of the Thethys sea? That also makes it famous.

Also, for many centuries, Purang remained an important centre for foreign trade. Burang was also used for supplying food supplies to the local inhabitants of Ngari.  

Nomenclature/Etymology of Taklakot

Taklakot is also known as Purang in Tibetan language. Chinese name of Taklakot is Burang or Pǔlán Zhèn. Indians and Nepalese people, mostly Hindus, call Purang as Taklakot after the Tibetan Takla Khar.

What is Burang meaning? The nomenclature of Tibetan town spu hreng is attributed to Zhang Zhuang, which is an extinct Sino Tibetan language and was once spoken widely in Western Tibet. The meaning of original word pu hrang is ‘head of horse’.  The rich Zhanzhung culture is very interesting and lesser known.

Tegla Toke is another name of Purang. I am using these different names of Taklakot in this detailed travel blog on the same. All of them mean the same.

Top places to see in Taklakot

There is not much to see in Taklakot and still there is, especially if it’s your first time in Tibet or China. As I uncovered one secret of Taklakot at a time, I discovered several points of attractions in this region, I didn’t know about.

Below are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Taklakot

Zorawar Singh Samadhi in Toyo, Tibet

Did you know about the connection of Dogra General Zorawar Singh Kahluria (1786-1841) with Tibet? Also known as ‘Conqueror of Ladakh’ or ‘Napoleon of India’, he is known to be fearlesswarrior who captured inhospitable places like Ladakh, Skardu, Baltistan (in today’s Pakistan occupied Kashmir) and parts of West Tibet. His name is also spelt as Jorawar Singh by many.

The samadhi or memorial of General Zorawar Singh Kahluria, built like a Buddhist chorten is Toyo which is barely 4 kilometres away from Taklakot. After he was cremated here, the defeated Tibetan army, despite being from the enemy team, honoured the brave General Zorawar Singh Kahluria and he is still respected in these parts of Tibet even today.

It is a pity that tourists are not allowed to visit. You can still ask your tour operator and check if things have changed. This was after all the place where the famous battle of Taklakot once unfolded and altered history of Tibet.

Zorawar Singh had also performed the pilgrimage to holy Kailash Parbat and Mansarovar lake.

General Zorawar Singh was a Hindu Dogra Rajput from Kahlur, Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh in India. I have written in detail about General Zorawar Singh and his Zorawar Fort in Leh in my blog A Soul Window.

Apart from the Zorawar Fort in Leh, he had built many small forts across the 450 miles of this region. Chi-T’ang, located near Taklakot was one of them. You must pay a visit to all of these places of interest.

Did you know that historical Zorawar Fort in Demjok (or Demchok) was damaged by Chinese army aka PLA in the year 2008?

Soul Window Thoughts

Few tears escaped my eyes as I started to write on the battles of Zorawar Singh Kahluria. The immense valour and sacrifice he displayed is unparalleled in the annals of Hindu History. It is disheartening that the sub-standard Bollywood which keeps blindly copying Hollywood and churns high budget movie with mediocre content, didn’t think it important to make movies on such real Hindu heroes of India.

It is my humble suggestion to Bollywood to make movies on some of the below mentioned well known Sikh and Hindu heroes

You can read my comprehensive blogs on these real heroes of India and the places of interest associated with them. It is high time that we stop obsessing with Mughal history and recognize the efforts valour and sacrifice displayed by some of the fiercest Hindu and Sikh heroes. It takes unbridled courage to achieve what they did.

Tegla Kar or Lying Tiger fort, Purang

As I was walking aimlessly on a bright, sunny day around my hotel in Taklakot, I stumbled upon something mysterious atop the cliff. The looming presence of the sprawling ancient fort of Tegla Kar over the town looked impressive from even a distance.

Much of what was once a power centre, sadly lies in ruins today. You can see the ruins of this fort monastery from most places in Taklakot if you have an observant eye.

Damaged in 1967 during Cultural Revolution (1967-1976), it has since been restored to an extent. It used to serve as the residence of the regional administrator in those days.

Constructed probably when Zhangzhung dynasty ruled this part of Tibet, it was later conquered by the Songtsen Gampo who was a Tibetan king. These events took place in the early 7th century C.E.

Later Tegla Kar became part of the powerful Burang Kingdom in 10th century and remained the main fort of Burang until the Purang Kingdom met its downfall and as a result ended in around 15th century C.E.  

It was during the rule of Purang Kingdom that this impressive fort was known as Tegla Kar or Lying Tiger Fort.

Not many know that King Kori used to rule in Western Tibet when control of Lying Tiger Fort of Purang was transferred to him in 10th century C.E.

Only few monks now live in Tegla Kar. History flashes before my eyes when I imagine that in old days, it used to buzz with activity all day. Hundreds of Gelugpa monks used to call Tegla Kar as home in those days. Located on the top of a ridge of cave dwellings, Tegla Kar is the top place to see in Taklakot.

Soul Window Observation

The visit to Tegla Kar reminded me of my visit to the famous Buddhist site known as Rabdentse ruins in Pelling in Sikkim, India. It was a ruined palace with monastic stupas and other such religious features.

I learned so much about history of Sikkim by visiting lesser-known places such as Rumtek Monastery, Yuksom and Namchi.

I found Lachen, Lachung and Yumthang Valley to be exceptionally gorgeous. Do read my comprehensive travel blogs on these places of interest in Sikkim.

Simbling Monastery or Shambuling Gompa

Picture this! A sprawling Buddhist monastery with 100 rooms, constructed on the top of a craggy mountain, seemingly watching over and protecting the entire Purang valley. It was one of the most unique places I had visited during my Tibet tour.

Also known as Shambuling Gonpa, Shepeling Dzong or simply the Taklakot Gompa, this Buddhist monastery was established where the Tegla Kar fort once existed. The Simbling monastery came into existence only after the end of Purang Kingdom. A smaller Sakya monastery used to exist here earlier.

Trugo Lama and Lobsang Samten were instrumental in re-building the Shambuling Monastery in the year 2003. At present, 5 monks take care of the monastery.

Destroyed in 1967 when Tibet was going through Cultural Revolution, the monastery and its premises have now been restored partially.

Simbling monastery is located 15 kilometres to the east of the Sakya Khorzhak Monastery.

Tsegu Rock Monastery or Gombur Monastery

Also known as Gombur Monastery or “Nine-Storey Monastery”, the dramatic setting of Tsegu Rock Monastery caught my attention. Turned out, this mystical monastery is another top place to visit in Taklakot.

I discovered this lesser-known monastery or gompa as I teared away from my group one afternoon and explored Taklakot city in Tibet on foot, all by myself.

Located at walking distance from my luxury hotel, I was intrigued by the precariously perched monastic building which seemed to be hanging from the rocks, much like the Tiger’s Nest Monastery of Paro in Bhutan.

It is said that previously the Tsegu rock monastery was a Bön establishment. I observed red and white buildings scattered across the rocks on several terraces. Approachable by ladders, this one of its kind “Nine-Storey Monastery” hides many secrets and mysteries behind the façade of its spartan walls.

Several ancient wall paintings, with few other parallels in the world can be seen in Tsegu Gompa. Many of these have been darkened from centuries of smoke, which actually adds to the mystique.

Also known as Gongphur Monastery or Gongphur Gompa,what makes it special is the fact that much of its monastic complex was saved from the damage of the Cultural Revolution of Tibet which wreaked havoc on other Tibetan monasteries. Several undamaged sacred objects are still present in Gongphur Monastery.

During the Cultural revolution of Tibet, the monks of Gongphur from the Drikung Kagyu Order, were secretly able to transport the several holy monastic images with the help of local people of Purang to the Tel Kunzom Ling Monastery in Nepal, in the year 1967.

It took 19 years to bring these precious spiritual objects back to the Gongphur Gompa with the help of residents of Dosa and Geshing villages. The image was kept at Geshing village for 3 years before being brought back to Gongphur.

Khyabpa Chimchema – or the speaking image is one of the most notable objects of Gongphur Gompa.

The exquisite wall paintings, standing Ache (metal sculpture) Choekyi Dolma are some other notable features of this monastery.

Gongphur Gompa is located just 1 kilometer away from Purang County near the Tegla Kar Mountain. It is located just across the bridge near the India Nepal border. It was situated at walking distance from my hotel and I had discovered this gompa during my afternoon stroll.

Legend of Gongphur Monastery

The literal meaning of the word ‘Gongphur’ is ‘flew in space’.

It is said that Yedrog Lhamo, the celestial wifeof King Gyalpo Norsang used to reside in the Gongphur monastery in ancient times. When 2,500 jealous wives of King Norsang started plotting against Yedrog Lhamo and putting her life in danger, she did the unexpected!

Yedrog Lhamo left the rock of the cave and flew to the realm of the gods, far away from the Gongphur Gonpa. Since then, this cave is considered to be holy and lakhs of Buddhists have worshipped here since centuries.

I observed several other caves with modern construction right below Gongphur Gompa. It is said that those 2,500 wives of King Gyalpo Norsang used to live here.

The monochromatic landscape of Purang is punctuated with many such places in Taklakot which are associated in some way with the legend of King Norsang. These are some of the top places to see in Taklakot.

Gyalte Khar

What was once the fort of King Gyalpo Norsang, is located right opposite the Gongphu Gompa.Tourists can-not visit Gyalte Khar because at present, a Chinese military camp is located at the same spot where the fort once existed.

Soul Window Thoughts

While the transactional western world has always equated the preciousness of objects with monetary value of the materials, the East has always been more spiritual in its approach towards life and everything in between!

I can only imagine number of generations of enlightened beings and faithful devotees who were lucky enough to be blessed by these objects since many centuries. The fact that people are still worshiping the same objects gives me goosebumps every time!

Taklakot Market

If you visit Taklakot in the summer and autumn months, you can witness a unique spectacle. This is the time when Purang comes alive with trading activities. This is the time when Indian, Tibetans, Nepalese and Chinese traders congregate to buy and sell various products from their respective nations. The market of Burang was a major point of attraction for me.

I strolled around the main market of Taklakot for a long time. Burang turned out to be an interesting small market town which forced me to keep my eyes peeled. I had seen many of the objects on sale for the first time.

Everything from dolls, to cheap shoes and toys are available in Taklakot market. If you walk a little behind the main market, huge mountains with beautiful shapes will greet you.

Vegetables and Fruits

The short and rounded radish of Purang for example was very different than what we get in India. It came in two colors, white and red. Also, the potatoes looked different in Purang. Pok Choy was the most commonly available vegetable. The vendors selling these were distinctly Tibetans, their hats and dresses confirmed that.

“Many of them do not even brush their teeth and not take bath for days”, my travel companion, who was a frequent traveler to Tibet, told me. I looked at the yellow teeth and nodded in agreement.

I thought to myself. This is how it must have been centuries ago. Minus the Sim Cards, SD cards, anime characters, pop star stickers and those bizarre e-bikes, of course!

Uyghur Muslims?

While strolling in the Taklakot market, I came across a butcher shop, the butcher at the shop had menacing eyes, he looked at me briefly while I was looking at him. He had very different facial features and mannerisms from that of Han Chinese and Tibetan people.

It is very likely that he was a Uyghur Muslim from Xinjiang in China. Though Urumqi is quite far from Taklakot, Xinjiang and Tibet do share borders. It is entirely possible that he was a Uyghur Muslim without beard or any facial hair. Even his stark white dress was very different from what Chinese and Tibetan people wear.

Khyi Tor: Places to see in Purang

Also known as ‘Lost Dog’, Khyi Tor is an important pilgrimage. The numerous caves located near Khyi Tor have been used as retreats since times immemorial. There are many mysteries and secrets associated with Khyi Tor.

Many mystical phenomena have been observed here. For example, the crystalline stones and the ice which are present inside the cave reflect light. Also, many other things can be seen only through ice. For devout Buddhists, Khyi Tor is one of the top places to visit here.

Soul Window Facts

Also, much like how I saw naturally shaped Swastika symbol, Nandi ji, images of Hanuman ji, Vaishno Devi Mata and Ganesh ji on the Holy Kailash Parbat, pilgrims have also observed naturally formed stupa, elephants, a Tseral, vessels, Tsok offerings, a mandala, drum and a Guruta in Khyi Tor.

You can read the mysteries of Kailash Parbat on my blog A Soul Window.

There is an interesting legend behind why Khyi Tor is also known as Lost Dog! As the folklore has it, a lost dog was found in Dombu in Northern Nepal. It is said that, as per the local Tibetan lunar calendar, the door of the cave opens only once in 12 years, which is ‘The Year of Dog’.

In between, the ice blocks the door in harsh winter months and spring while the river blocks the way during autumn and summer every year.

The sacred cave of Khyi Tor which is nestled underneath a mountain, in situated towards the south of Taklakot city in Tibet.

Khorchag Gompa: Place to visit in Burang

This little-known offbeat monastery of Purang was commissioned by the first king of the powerful Guge Kingdom in 10th century. No wonder, Khorchag monastery is home to some of the rarest spiritual objects, statues and dharma books in all of Tibet.  It is an unusual place to visit in Purang.

Khorchag Gompa is located towards the south of Taklakot. The border between Tibet and Nepal is just 25 kilometres away from Khorchag Gonpa. The monastery was destroyed during Cultural Revolution but somehow some portions of this important Gompa survived the test of time. Much later, in 1982, to be precise, the Khorchag monastery was renovated and re-opened. 

Many resident Buddhist monks now not only call Khorchag Gompa their home but also look after it and perform various religious duties here on a daily basis. I am sure you didn’t know about this hidden gem of West Tibet. It is one of the best points of attractions in Western Tibet.

Another interest fact about Khorchag Gompa is that, it is also home to the image of Khorchag Jo-O. What makes it are and special is that there are only 3 such images in the world. While one such image is in Jokang temple of far-away Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, another image is present in India at the palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It was earlier present in Kyirong or Gyirong.

Visit Tibet Nepal Border

The Tibet and Nepal border was located quite close to my luxury property in Taklakot. Every year, many Indians and Nepalese sherpas cross the border between western Tibet and north western Nepal for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. One of the interesting things to do in Taklakot is to visit the border areas. These unexplored regions of Asia are waiting to be discovered.

Learn about Sudhanakumāra

Did you know that Taklakot, city in Tibet was once home to Sudhanakumāra? These are some of the lesser-known facts of Tibet. He is also known as simply Sudhana? In the Chinese language they call him Shancai or Shancai Tongzi which roughly translates to ‘Child of Wealth’.

Did you know that Sudhana was an important Hindu man from India? In his quest for enlightenment or Bodhi, Sudhana embarked upon an epic pilgrimage which resembled the footsteps of Gautama Buddha, who was from Uttar Pradesh in North India.

Sudhana’s name has been mentioned in 16th century Chinese text named Complete Tale of Guanyin and the Southern Seas. This was the first time that the text mentioned the Guanyin and Sudhana together.

Gaṇḍavyūha Sutra which is also known as the Excellent Manifestation Sūtra “Sudhana’s quest for the ultimate truth” This Indian origin Buddhist Mahayana Sutra can be dated back to 200 or 300 C.E. Gaṇḍavyūha Sutra gained immense popularity in China during the Song dynasty.

Frequently appearing in Taoist, Buddhist and local folklores, Sudhana was the son of King Dhana, and also a previous incarnation of the Bodhisattva or Bhagwan Buddha. He had married Manoharā.

Admire Himalayan Mountain Ranges

Admire the Abi Gamin Mountain ranges and the giant Gurla Mandhata or Mount Namonanyi which is located towards the south of Taklakot. The scenery here is a visual delight! Taklakot is nestled between these colossal mountains.

In whichever direction I saw, I could see snow-capped mountain peaks. This was not always the case in other parts of Tibet which I had visited. Purang is one of those places where you can see tall Himalayan Mountain peaks enveloped in snow. Mountain watching is top thing to do in Taklakot. These are some of the best hidden gems I saw during my Tibet trip.

Walk on streets of Taklakot city in Tibet

Whatever free time I had, I used in walking solo towards the markets and random streets of Taklakot. This is also my practical advice to you as well. Sometimes, I was accompanied by my co travellers but since I found it safe, I also ventured alone many times, both in broad day light and after dark.

My first impression about Taklakot was that it looked like a city in construction. Taklakot and much of West Tibet was far less developed than its Indian counterparts in Ladakh such as Kargil and Leh, which have far superior infrastructure and real luxury hotels.

I saw some dull coloured Chinese buildings all around Taklakot, which made it look a little gloomy. The Tibetan elements added a bit of colour to this largely monochromatic landscape, which at first sight seemed bereft of a soul.  

Walking in strange places like Taklakot helps you engage more, discover more, immerse more and absorb more. For example, I actually asked an unsmiling Chinese army man for a little help and he obliged (with a plain face though!). I also noticed everyday life, including the local beggars and rich people.

The aimless strolls around Taklakot also exposed me to breath-taking visuals, secret rivers, gigantic Himalayan mountains, the works!What’s more?

I also had closer look at the hidden monasteries from a bridge near my hotel. I would have missed these had I stayed inside my room and depended on tour agencies to show me around Taklakot.

Engage with Tibetan people: Top thing to do in Purang

The more you walk around in public spaces of Purang, the better are your chances of interaction with the local people of Tibet. Mostly, you will not be able to communicate with them due to language problem.

But do not underestimate the power of the magic of the smile and sign language. Even if it doesn’t result in a meaningful conversation, the interaction with Tibetans will leave a lasting impression on you.

I tried to talk to a cute Tibetan family in Purang who were about to leave on their colourful bike. We didn’t understand each other at all but the memory of non-verbal interaction between us has stayed with me.

Their quirkily decorated bike also caught my attention. At most places I visited in Tibet, I noticed that Tibetan people love decorating their bikes with plastic flowers, other kitschy elements, Buddhist props and prayer flags etc. I am sure you didn’t know about these lesser-known facts about Tibetan lifestyle.

Try the quirky scooters of Taklakot city of Tibet

Everywhere I looked at on the roads of Taklakot, I was amused to see bizarre looking bikes, scooters and other unheard-of modes of transport. These quirky two wheelers seemed lightweight and very popular with locals for internal travel in the Purang town.

The Anti-UV Electric Bike with shade deserves special mention. It is not really an extraordinary idea but just a regular e bike with shade, perhaps for protection from sun because I don’t think it is going to work in rain. I noticed many Chinese and Tibetan people in places like Kyirong and Saga drives these e bikes. The folding umbrella tent or Sun Canopy makes this e-bike different.

This sure is an unusual thing to do in Purang County.

Hitch a ride in local Motorcycle trolley

Gasoline powered Tuk Tuk Motorcycle with Side Seats are very common in Tibet. In fact, I had an early morning ride on these 3 Wheeled Chinese Cargo Trike. When our co traveller was feeling sick, we couldn’t find a car immediately and transported him to the nearby hospital on this quirky Three Wheel Cargo Motorcycle.

Although it was an emergency situation, it was a unique experience for me. The 3-wheel motorcycle tricycle for Cargo comes in 150cc, 200cc, 250cc etc.

It reminded me of the bizarre jugad bike, known as Chakaddi from West India. I had hopped on to a colourful Chakaddi in Nal Sarovar and Little Rann of Kutch near Ahmedabad in Gujarat in West India. It is one of the most bizarre things to do in Taklakot.

Excursions from Taklakot: Visit Famous Ngari Attractions

Apart from Purang, there are many interesting places to see in the Ngari prefecture of Western Tibet. If you read the Taklakot map carefully, you will realise that most of the tourist attractions near Taklakot are located close to each other.

Some of the places you can visit as a day trip from Taklakot city of Tibet are as below:

Places near the Hindu pilgrimage

Below mentioned are some of the best things to do with family and kids near Taklakot.

  • Rakshas Taal
  • Kailash Parbat
  • Mansarovar Lake
  • Trugo Gon monastery
  • Saga
  • Kyirong
  • Darchen
  • Deraphuk
  • Yam Dwar
  • Gauri Kund
  • Zuthulphuk
  • Chiu Gompa
  • Dolma La Pass
  • Deraphuk monastery
  • Source of Brahmaputra River

These are some of the best unusual places to see in and around Purang. You can read comprehensive travel guides on the above-mentioned places in Tibet and Nepal on my travel blog A Soul Window. It has been ranked as No. 1 travel blog from Indian several times. My travel blog has also been mentioned as Top Travel Blog from India many times.

Other places near Taklakot city of Tibet

There are so many offbeat things to do around Taklakot. Below mentioned destinations are some of the best places to see near Taklakot. These unexplored points of attractions are a must visit.

  • Dungkhar & Piyang Cave Paintings
  • Ngari Dark Sky Park
  • Ma Gaer Prairie
  • Xiagangjiang Snow Mountain
  • Ruins of Guge Kingdom
  • Ruins of Rutong County
  • Rutong Rock painting
  • Ruins of Guge Kingdom, Tsaparang
  • Tholing Monastery (Guge site)
  • Gurla Mandhata or Mt. Nemo Nanyi/Namo Nanyi
  • Khorzhak Monastery
  • Ruins of Qulong aka Khyunglung/Garuda Valley: 7th century BC
  • Gar Gunsa
  • Gar Chongsar
  • Ali Shiquanhe also called Sênggêkanbab, Sênggêzangbo
  • Shiquanhe Observatory

Lakes of Tibet

  • Mami lake
  • Zhari Namco Lake
  • Zhacang Chaka or Chagcam Caka Salt Lake
  • Pangong Tso Lake (It is in both India and Tibet)

These unheard-of tourist magnets in Tibet will leave you impressed with the bounty of nature! The historic destination of Taklakot hides many secrets and mysteries up its sleeve. These places are is not to be missed.

Rivers around Taklakot China

Sources of the significant rivers such as Indus, Brahmaputra aka Yarlung Tsangpo are all located within a distance of just 110 kilometers or 70 miles of Burang town.

Did you know that Maja Khabab or the Karnali River, which is one of the four great rivers of Ngari, flows into Nepal via the picturesque villages of Purang Valley Town?

Shiquan River which is also known as Sênggê Zangbo in Tibetan is also located in Ngari prefecture. Sênggê Zangbo is the main headwater for the world-famous Indus River. Confluence of Gartang River and Shiquan River is also nearby.Visit these major attractions, if you want to gooff the beaten track.

Below are some of the important river sources located very close to Taklakot or Purang:

  • Elephant Mouth: This is the source of the Sutlej River.
  • Lion Mouth: This is the source of the world-famousIndus River.It is located 12 miles or 20 kilometers East of Kailash Parbat.
  • Peacock Mouth: This is the source point of Saryu Karnali River or Mabja Tsangpo. The glaciers on the northern slopes are situated only 50 kilometers or 30 miles away from Taklakot on the northern Himalayan slopes in the northwest direction.
  • Horse Mouth: This is the source of the mighty Brahmaputra River of India or Yarlung Tsanpo of Tibet. I have enjoyed boating on the Brahmaputra River at various places of Assam in North East India such as Majuli, Nagaon, Tezpur, Guwahati and Dibrugarh. The source of Brahmaputra River is located just 90 kilometers or 55 miles south east of Manasarovar Lake.

The above-mentioned tourist attractions are some of the best places to visit in and around Taklakot. You will not find this information in old world traditional travel guide books. All the top sightseeing destinations in and around Taklakot has been explained in great details in this blog.

Nepal Excursions from Taklakot

  • Hilsa (Nepal)
  • Simikot (Nepal)
  • Nepalgunj (Nepal)

India Excursions from Taklakot

There are many interesting places in India near Purang or Taklakot. Hindu pilgrims cross many of these places when they embark upon Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from India route. All of these are in hilly Indian state called as Uttarakhand. There areso manythings in this region. Top places to visit in India near Taklakot (in Tibet) are listed as under:

  • Askot
  • Jauljibi
  • Baitadi
  • Tanakpur
  • Tawaghat
  • Jhulaghat
  • Munsiyari
  • Dharchula
  • Gwaldham
  • Champawat
  • Ghatiabgarh
  • Pithorragarh
  • Lipulekh pass
  • Mahakali River

It is easy to go off the beaten track in above mentioned Himalayan destinations of India.

History of Purang: City of Tibet

Not many know about the very old history of Purang. In ancient times, Taklakot served as an ancient trading post and was the venue of many battles.

As per the oral history of Gongphur Monastery, in ancient times, Taklakot used to be the Kingdom of Jangchog Ngadhen. It was ruled by Gyalpo Norsang back then.

Even today, names of many local places in Taklakot date back to the time when King Norsang reigned. The elderly generation of Purang vouches for the same.

The imposing fort known as Tegla Kar or Shambuling monastery used to serve as headquarters of the Purang Jong (district) in earlier days. It was a power centre and had 70 district governors over the years which started with Bon Gre-pa in 1817. The last Governors were Ngagwang Choethar and Norbu Wangdue in 1959.

Much before these Governors roamed Taklakot, the colossal Tegla Kar or Lying Tiger fort belonged to the powerful Purang Kingdom.

Not many know that Tegla Kar was constructed in the ancient Shang Shung dynasty which ruled from 500 BCE to 625 CE.

Tashi Gon, who was the King of powerful Guge Kingdom had two sons, one of whom was King Kori. He ruled West Tibet in 10th century. Tagtse Kribar is the most famous King the Burang kingdom, which eventually met its end in the 15th century.

The Burang and Guge kingdoms went their different ways in around late 11th century. This was when King Logtsha Tsensong had founded an independent Kingdom in West Tibet.

When the local dynasty ceased to exists, approximately during the year 1330, Sonam De, who was the 13th king conquered Malla kingdom aka Yatse. The Malla kingdom of western Nepal was different from the more famous Malla dynasty of central Nepal.

The dynasty of Burang kings ruled only up to the year 1376.

The neighbouring kingdoms of Guge and Mustang took turns to rule over this territory.

Conquest of Songtsen Gampo 

It is unclear whether Zhangzhung was captured by Central Tibet under the rule of Songtsen Gampo (605 or 617–649) or Trisong Detsen (r. 755 until 797 or 804). However, the Tang Annals or the Old book of Tang mentions these events unfolding during the rule of King Songtsen Gampo, in the beginning of 7th century.

Tang Annals, which has 200 chapters is the first classic historical work on the famous Tang empire of China which ruled from 618 to 907 C.E.

Tang Annals clearly mentions that:

“in the year 634, Yangtong (Zhangzhung) and various Qiang tribes, altogether submitted to him.”

There is an interesting story about how and why Songtsen Gampo captured Zhangzhung. His sister Sad-mar-kar was married to Lig-myi-rhya, who was also the king of Zhangzhung as a political alliance.

Badly treated by his main wife and the failure to consummate the marriage enraged Sad-mar-kar and she assisted her brother Songtsen Gampo to defeat Lig myi-rhya.

This is how they incorporated the Zhangzhung of Western Tibet into the great Tibetan Empire in the year 645 and changed the history of this vast land. This helped Songtsen Gampo become one of the most powerful rulers of Tibet as he ruled over most, of the Tibetan plateau, if not all of it. It is an extraordinary story that few know about!

The burial mound of King Songtsen Gampo is located near Yalung in the Chyongye Valley or Chongyas valley of Tibet.

Songtsen Gampo was no ordinary ruler. He has shaped and changed destiny of Tibet several times. It is a known fact that Songtsen Gampo had introduced Buddhism to Tibet. In fact, Songtsen Gampo was also responsible for creating the Tibetan script and translation of Sanskrit text to Tibetan.

Songtsen Gampo also commissioned several Buddhist monasteries such as the Tradruk Temple in Nêdong and Qoikang monastery or Jokhang temple of Lhasa.

Soul Window Observations

Did you know about the India connection of Songtsen Gampo?

You can visit the Songtsen Library on the outskirts of Dehradun in hilly North Indian state of Uttarakhand, where several ancient Tibetan and Himalayan religious, cultural and historical documents are preserved well for the posterity.

A statue of Songtsen Gampo on a horseback is also located near the Songtsen library. Western nun Khenmo Drolma is credited with the same.

Guge Kingdom: The lost Kingdom of Tibet!

Guge Kingdom which has no disappeared into oblivion once flourished in Tibet. Founded in 10th century C.E., this lost Kingdom of Tibet spread across Guge-Purang in Tibet and Ladakh, Spiti, Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh in North India.

This lost Tibetan Kingdom was founded by Kyide Nyimagon, after he left Ü-Tsang in South Central Tibet. The famous King Langdarma (838-841 C.E.) was the great grandfather of Kyide Nyimagon. The capital of the huge Guge Kingdom was at Tholing and Tsaparang in Tibet.

In fact, you can still see ruins of what is left of Guge Kingdom in Tsaparang. An easy day trip to Tsaparang, which is located near Kailash Parbat, Mansarovar lake and Taklakot will acquaint you to the glorious history of Tibet which not many know about. It is located in the Sutlej Valley.

After Nyimagon died in 930 C.E. his Kingdom was divided with his 3 sons namely Lhachen Palgyigon (Kingdom of Maryul), Tashigön (Guge Purang Kingdom) and Detsukgön (Zanskar and Spiti). These Kingdoms of Guge were together known as Ngari Khorsum.

Yeshe-Ö, who went on to become the first Lama King of Tibet, abdicated the throne in 975 C.E., which he had inherited from his father Tashigön and preferred to convert into a Buddhist monk. It reminded me of powerful Indian emperor – Asoka the great!

You can read more on the very interesting and yet lesser-known Guge Kingdom of West Tibet on my award-winning travel blog A Soul Window.

Festival of Taklakot China

Losar and Saga Dawa are the main annual festivals which Tibetan Buddhists celebrate with much fanfare in and around the area near Taklakot, especially Darchen. It is a good idea to time your Kailash Mansarovar Yatra during the Losar and Saga Dawafestival of Tibet.These are free thing to do in Taklakot.

Khorchag Namtong: This annual festival is celebrated with much fanfare on the 15th of First Tibetan month. Much like festivals of Nepalese and Indian monasteries, the Buddhist monks of the Khorchag Namtong perform dramatic Lama dances. The local villagers also join the festivities by performing traditional dances and singing folk songs.

Needless to say, thousands of people from other parts of Tibet congregate for the festival and make merry. It is top thing to do in Purang.

Altitude of Taklakot city of Tibet

Taklakot is a high-altitude town of Tibet. The height at which Purang is located is 13,205 feet or 4,755 meters.

Acute Mountain Sickness

Threats of AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness is real in Taklakot.

I saw an elderly Indian lady crying in the lobby of Taklakot hotel where I had stayed. One of her in-laws, probably parents of her child’s in-laws had died due to complications which arose from high altitude.

Since most Hindu devotees fly straight to Taklakot from Hilsa and Simikot in Nepal, they take lesser time to acclimatise when compared to people like me who visited Tibet via road trip. We took longer to arrive at different places of Tibet, therefore I was not hit with AMS. Also, I was taking precautions such as consuming Diamox tablets, drinking lot of water, taking rest and chewing on garlic. These helped me avoid AMS.

If you show Acute Mountain Sickness symptoms, immediately consult a doctor, stop traveling and descend to lower altitude. Do not take Diamox if you are allergic to sulphur in medicines. It may have an adverse effect.

The hotel lobby where I stayed did offer huge oxygen cylinders, if required. You must check with your hotel as well.

Hospital in Taklakot

A hospital with limited medical facilities was located near the bazaar area and right in front of our hotel in Taklakot. In fact, one of our co travellers faced some urgent medical issue (not related to AMS) and was immediately admitted in the Taklakot hospital.

Despite the language problems and limited medical facility, his condition was brought under control in few hours. So, yes, you can trust the medical facilities of Taklakot for big or small medical condition.

Souvenirs Shopping Guide to Taklakot

You can pick some local artefacts or souvenirs from the main market of Taklakot. There are many shops in the Purang market which sell anything from decorative pieces, Sim Cards, SD Cards, grocery to even fruits and vegetables.

Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Taklakot

Long before unhealthy burgers, pizzas and pastas (thankfully not Mc Donalds) invaded Tibet, the local Tibetan people used to rely on the good old Tsampa.  Purang is known for its huge production of barley which is used to make Tsampa. This glutinous meal which is prepared from roasted barley is a famous Tibetan and Himalayan staple food.

I had tasted Tsampa previously during the Naropa festival in Leh city of Ladakh and during high altitude treks in Nepal. It is also found in Spiti valley of Himachal Pradesh.

In Buddhism, donating one’s possessions is a common practice. Farmers of Taklakot find themselves lucky that they are able to donate tea, butter and Tsampa to the pilgrims who pass by. In this way, they contribute towards the holy Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

There are many Tibetans who stay in this region for a long time and perform the harsh form of yatra. During their long-term stay, they beg (as a custom) for food. No one refuses them in Purang. There is abundance here, after all! Abundance of generosity, that is!

Yak butter, Yak cheese, Yak milk and butter tea are other local vegetarian specialities you can try in Taklakot. Chang or the barley wine is also a popular local alcoholic drink.

Due to the high altitude of Taklakot, grains and rice can-not grow here. It is supplied to Burang from other parts. The local farmers of Burang County mainly grow barley, mustard, beans and vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, potatoes and radish, all of which is consumed by local people of Taklakot.

However, privileged people with deeper pockets have better access to a variety of fancy food. The hotel I stayed in, had a vegan café which is managed by India based Madhuban Foods. It served delicious quinoa salad, vegan cakes, cookies, main courses and even vegan soya coffee which tasted same as milk-based Cappuccino.

Their kitchen also served home-made Indian food such as Dhokla, Gujarati kadhi, daal, rice, sabzi, poha, upma, sambhar and what not. Finding such comforting vegan and vegetarian food in Tibet was comforting, especially when on an epic Hindu pilgrimage as pious as Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

Most of the other independent restaurants and hotels in Taklakot served meat heavy dishes. Being a converted vegetarian, I did not have the heart to even enter those local Tibetan and Chinese restaurants. One of the restaurants, right next to my hotel had this signboard in English, “A farmer’s Tibetan meal”.

Additionally, to supplement your vegetarian and vegan diet, you can buy breads, cheese, fruits, vegetables from the local market of Burang and make your own sandwich and salads etc. However, do not worry as dietary requirements will be mostly taken care of by the tour operators.

Solo Trip Tips for Burang Town

Purang or Taklakot is not an easy place to visit as a solo budget traveller. Independent travel is not allowed in Tibet. You must always be accompanied by a local guide. Most people, especially Indian pilgrims, travel in large groups to Purang and Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

Ours was a small group of only 4 people who made the road trip from Nepal. We were later joined by more people when we arrived in Tibet.

Backpacking Budget Travel Tips for Purang

Since, independent and unassisted travel is not allowed in Tibet and because there is not much of public transport in Tibet, therefore the cost of Tibet trip is always high. But since performing Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a once in a lifetime opportunity, most Hindu worshippersdo not mind spending on Tibet tour.

Luxury travel Tips for Taklakot

It is easy to travel in luxury in Taklakot city of Tibet. However, do not expect the same facilities which you can in Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Patna, Jodhpur or Lucknow.

What currency is used in Taklakot?

Chinese Yuan is accepted in Tibet. US dollar is not accepted in Tibet.

ATM in Taklakot

There are very few modern facilities in Taklakot. It is suggested to not depend on the few ATMs in Purang but to carry hard cash in local currency for small and big expenses. Digital payment is not very popular in most of Tibetan regions.

Is it safe to visit Purang?

Yes, it is very safe to visit Purang. Since most (all) of Indian tourists visit Taklakot with a tour agent or tour agency, so rest assured that you will be safe in Taklakot. I did walk around the area near my hotel in Taklakot. It was near the Nepal and Tibet border.

I was clicking some pictures towards the international border area and someone in a car stopped and asked me stop shooting. So, beware of what and where you click especially when wandering alone. You might attract unnecessary trouble. Other than that, you are mostly safe in Purang county.

You should also ensure safety in hotel because Taklakot lives 20 years behind the times. It is not uncommon for young men to enter the locked room of single females here.

Where is Taklakot located?

Taklakot is located at the tri junction of India, Tibet and Nepal borders. Taklakot is a very small town in what is known as Tibet Autonomous Region or TAR in China. Nestled in the valley of the Sarayu Karnali River, it is a must visit place in Tibet. Burang Zip Code is 859511.

Presently serving as the administrative centre of Burang County, Ngari Prefecture of Western Tibet, Taklakot or Purang is also a major stop for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims. One of the 3 main regions of Ngari prefecture, Taklakot is an important town in West Tibet, located towards the south of sacred Kailash Parbat. 

Holy Manasarovar Lake, Rakshas Taal, Mount Kailash, Yam Dwar, Deraphuk, Darchen, Zuthulphuk, Dolma La Pass and Gauri Kund are located in close proximity, towards the north of Taklakot. 

The 6 village-level divisions of Purang include the following:

  • Xide Village
  • Kejia Village
  • Chide Village
  • Duoyou Village
  • Rengong Village
  • Jirang Neighborhood Committee

While Purang is known as an important source of agricultural produce, The other 6 counties of Ngari are mostly known for being the residence of the local nomadic families.

The 7 counties which are located in the prefecture of Ngari are listed as below:

  • Purang Shen
  • Gartse Shen
  • Tshaga Shen
  • Ruthog Shen
  • Garges Shen
  • Tso-Chen Shen
  • Guge (Zha-de) Shen

These are also spelt as:

  • Burang County
  • Gêrzê County
  • Rutog County
  • Gar County
  • Gê’gyai County
  • Coqên County
  • Zanda County

The 3 main Chus (municipal districts) of Purang County are:

  • Hor-chu
  • Bharka-chu
  • Shingpa-chu

A Rukhag is referred to the number of nomadic families. Four Rukhags make each of the above municipal district.

A shang in Tibet means a group of villages. The Bharka-chu and Hor-chu is mostly inhabited by families of nomadic tribes. I also saw many nomads rearing cattle. I also see many yaks lazily sun bathing in the dry grass of Burang.

It is common to see domesticated cows, yaks, donkeys, horses, goats and sheep in and around Purang. The cattle belong to monadic families who produce animal products such as milk, butter, curd, wool, and Yak cheese. The endangered Tibetan antelopes are also found here.

Shing-pa Chu serves as the administrative centre for the six Shangs of Purang County. The main six shangs which make Purang are as below:

  • Toyo
  • Shede
  • Khrite
  • Rigung
  • Kyithang
  • Khorchag

How to reach Purang

We had arrived at Purang or Burang town from Saga in Tibet. Our journey began from Kathmandu in Nepal from where we did overland road trip to Kyirong or Gyirong in Tibet. From Gyirong, we drove to Saga, followed by Taklakot, Mansarovar lake, Rakshas taal and Mount Kailasha a­nd in that order. The other route is through a scenic helicopter ride from Nepal and road trip from Lipulekh Pass in India.

National Road S207 starts in Burang County. It heads north east for approximately 65 kilometres or 40 miles past Rakshastal and adjoining Manasarovar lake towards China National Highway 219.

By Air: Taklakot doesn’t have an international airport of its own. Ngari Günsa Airport or the Shiquanhe Airport is the closest dual-use military and civil airport. It is located in Shiquanhe town of in Ngari prefecture.

The domestic Purang airport/ Burang airport and airports at Dingri, Gongkar Airport and Lhunze (Lhuntse) are your other options.

Simikot airport in Nepal is the closest cross border airport near Taklakot.

By Helicopter: You can take a helicopter ride from Simikot to Hilsa by Helicopter and then drive across the Nepal Tibet border to Taklakot. Taklakot is know for this helicopter route of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

By Rail: Hilsa or Simikot in Nepal and Taklakot in Tibet has no railway station of its own. India which has far better infrastructure and robust transport system than Tibet or Nepal has the nearest railway station from Taklakot. The railway station at Tanakpur connects with Pithoragarh from where one can hire a vehicle via Dharchula and Lipulekh Pass.

By Bus: Public buses within Tibet are not all that common like most places in India. However, while returning, I did join a bus which carried me all the way from Darchen (Near Kailash Parbat and Mansarovar Lake) to Kyirong on the Nepal and Tibet border via Saga. These buses are privately booked and run for group tours to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Many people from Maharashtra, Gujarat and South India were in my bus.

Road Trip: Despite being a long and arduous journey, I loved the road trip from Kathmandu in Nepal to Taklakot in Tibet via Saga, Kyirong, Mansarovar lake, Rakshas Taal, Darchen etc. I visited so many offbeat places in Tibet which I would have missed otherwise. Unlike the set packed itinerary, we had the liberty to travel at our own pace and stop longer at a destination if we liked it.

Since there are so many things to do in Taklakot Tibet, I recommend a road trip here.

Border Crossing from Taklakot

The pilgrims for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra enter from Nepal via Simikot and from India via Dharchula in Uttarakhand.

This is why, Purang was an exciting destination for a border enthusiast like me. I did walk a bit around the Nepal Tibet border area.

Cross Border Trade Route

Taklakot has an interesting history. Situated at the tri junction of India, Nepal andTibet borders, it used to be an important trade route in ancient and medieval times.

In the North of Taklakot, salt is also produced from the salt lakes. It is then traded with the South regions, including Nepal. Since old times, rice and other essential and non-essential products have been traded back into Tibet from Nepal. Trade of wool, dairy products, fruits and vegetables was also common between borders.

The Burangbas or the local village residents used to carry the local produce across the ranges into Nepal, all the way from West Tibet.

Large caravans of goats and sheep were used to carry these local products in the autumn and summer months. The cattle used to carry double packs with an impressive capacity. 30 kilograms of salt or barley could be filled in the cargo. It was an arduous journey that spanned 3 weeks across high-altitude mountains and low land terai regions of Nepal.

This trade route used to be cut off in the winter months due to heavy snowfall. This part of Tibet still remains in complete isolation during the winters.

Tibet Nepal border crossing

Taklakot shares border with Nepal’s Karnali Zone in Humla District.

Many people do cross the borders between Nepal and Tibet on foot and vehicles. Most pilgrims take the road which leads around 56 kilometres or 35 miles following the path of Karnali River to the border crossing at the village of Xie’erwa.

From Xie’erwa which is known as Sher in Tibetan, the road continues to Hilsa in Nepal. Hilsa is located in Humla District in the Karnali Zone of Nepal. This is also a historic trail which was much in use for trade in ancient times.

From Hilsa, a rough motor road further continues till Simikot in Nepal. Most pilgrims arrive at Simikot from Nepalgunj via Shravasti and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh in North India.

Tibet India border crossing

The hilly state of Uttarakhand in North India is located in close proximity with Taklakot and Western Tibet. The famous Lipulekh Pass is where Indian pilgrims do the border crossing from India. This border is located in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand State.  

After the BRO or The Border Roads Organisation of India built the road to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Lipulekh Pass near Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, it has become much easier to embark upon this Hindu pilgrimage from India.

What was earlier a 5 days arduous trek through inhospitable terrain is now a 2 days vehicle ride via baby bottom smooth double lane roads. Also, by taking the Lipulekh pass route, Indians do most of the journey within Indian boundaries, thereby bringing down the cost of trip and the time taken.

No longer Indian Hindus have to trek from Uttarakhand, travel from Sikkim via Nathu La Pass or fly to Kathmandu in Nepal to make the road trip to Tibet. I had arrived at Taklakot via road trip from Nepal. I have written an entire blog dedicated to this once in a lifetime journey. I also have a blog on Lipulekh Pass Route which you must read.

This also led to an insignificant Kalapani dispute or the Nepal India border dispute. Lipulekh pass to Kailash Mansarovar route will anyways open many opportunities for the residents of India, Nepal and Tibet. Mt Kailash trek, as some people call it, had never been easier.

Local Transport for sightseeing in Taklakot

I would suggest you to wander around your hotel on foot like I did. For faraway places like Buddhist monasteries and medieval forts, you can request your tour operator to provide the cab for the same, for perhaps a little extra money.

Distances from Taklakot

Most of the major places to visit during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is located in close proximity with town of Taklakot or Purang county.

Hilsa to Taklakot distance is only 56 kilometres or 35 miles.

Taklakot to Mansarovar distance is only 50 kilometres.

Where to stay in Taklakot

Unlike many other places in Tibet, Taklakot did have some luxury hotels. However, their standard was not as good when compared to luxurious hotels in the nearby Ladakh in India which has similar terrains. It was no match! Hotel Himalaya Taklakot is a place where people often stay.

Pulan Port Hotel or Himalaya Pulan Hotel

I had stayed at the luxurious Pulan Port Hotel or Himalaya Pulan Hotel. The rooms were dirty and even unsafe at times. It was a huge hotel. In fact, one of the largest hotels I had ever stayed in. Perhaps this is why the maintenance of the hotel was not up to the mark. That said the Pulan Port Hotel or Himalaya Pulan Hotel offered comfortable rooms, hot showers, heating, free parking facilities and internet services.

Let us talk about the flipside of choosing accommodation in Pulan Port Hotel or Himalaya Pulan Hotel. I heard that some men had entered the room of an Indian female with duplicate keys. She was sleeping alone in her room when some men entered her room around midnight.

I saw a bizarre casualness even in the lobby of the luxury hotel. People were freely smoking and talking loudly in the hotel lobby. There was an absence of civilized behavior and lack of sophistication which you can never come across in the world class luxury hotels of India.

In the Himalaya Pulan Hotel where I stayed in Taklakot, few Han Chinese women started singing and mopping the floor of lobby. It was an unusual experience for me. Never had I seen people smoking in the lobby of a luxury hotel and the staff singing and dancing. I tried to have a conversation with those women but settled for just smiles due to communication barrier.

I had even visited the kitchen of Himalaya Pulan Hotel and the sanitation and hygiene level of the kitchen was impressive.

What to wear in Taklakot

Taklakot is a cold place. You must carry woolens, down jackets and thermal inner wears with you all the time during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Raincoats are also recommended as it can rain some time even in peak seasons.

Best Time to visit Taklakot?

I had visited Taklakot in August, around the time when India celebrated its Independence Day on 15th August. Months of May, June, September and October are the best time to perform Kailash Mansarovar Yatra due to better visibility, lack of torrential rains, moderate temperaturesand generally good weather conditions. It is also the time when you get to see the best views.

Winter: In the winter months and early spring, much like Ladakh and Spiti of North India, the road to Purang is often blocked by heavy snow. This is why the area around Taklakot is off limits for outsiders.

It is one of those few unique places which survive in complete isolation during harsh winter months. No Indian, Nepalese or Chinese travellers visit Burang Town in winter. Winter is the low season in Taklakot. The temperatures dip wildly in winters of Tibet, making it an unsuitable weather to visit Tibet.

Summer: I had visited Taklakot in mid-August. Taklakot was cold in August but clearly warmed than other tourist attractions of Tibet. During the days, which were bright and sunny, I was able to wear just T shirts.

In evenings I did need a jacket after dark, especially when I am roaming outside. Owing to suitable weather, summers are clearly the peak season in Taklakot when Hindus queue up for divine darshan of Kailash Parvat and Mansarovar lake. Summer is when the temperature of the Purang town is under control and the weather in general is present.

How many days to spend in Taklakot?

We had stayed 3-4 days in Taklakot. Since many Hindu pilgrims arrive from Hilsa via a helicopter ride, most of them, especially elderly people and those with medical conditions stay a little extra at Taklakot for better acclimatization since it is the first exposure to high altitude from this route.

You can spend the extra days in exploring the market area, local restaurants, supermarkets and medieval Buddhist Tibetan monasteries that dot the landscape. Sightseeing in Taklakot can take a lot more if you want to cover all the tourist places of Burang County.

Taklakot tourism is not very well developed and tourists are not allowed to travel in some parts, irrespective of whether you are alone or with local tour guide. You must always check locally which places of interest in Purang, you can visit and which not.

Soul Window Travel Tips on Taklakot

I would suggest you to read up a little before booking a trip to Taklakot in Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Many realise that there are so many tourist attractions in Taklakot only after arriving there. This is why I have created this comprehensive detailed travel guide on Taklakot. All you want to know about Taklakot is mentioned here.  You can cover most of the tourist places in a short span of time if you have car.

Photography Tips for Taklakot

Be warned that the border areas of Taklakot aka Purang are sensitive. Sharing a border with Tibet, it is not allowed to take pictures in the areas that surround the border.

Even taking pictures and videos in the Taklakot market area is prohibited can you can be punished if caught. I was able to take pictures and videos in both market and around the border area. No one had really stopped me. However, it could have just been my lucky day.

Languages spoken in Taklakot

Tibetan is the main language spoken in Taklakot. English is understood by few in Purang. It is mostly the front office staff at the hotel which speaks and understands English. However, in the luxury hotel I stayed at, none of the staff spoke English except our local Chinese help. It is better to depend on your tourist guide for local communication or you can use Google translation apps.

Most people in the Purang market didn’t understand a word of English either.

Toilet facility in Burang Town

Compared to the stay options at Mount Sarovar lake, Deraphuk and Zuthulphuk, the toilets are far better and cleaner at Burang. In fact, after days of travelling in Tibet unbathed, we had a good hot shower at the luxury hotel of Taklakot. Western style toilet with Indian style jet spray is available at most hotels.

Expect easily available, clean, airy and modern bathrooms with hot shower in Taklakot.

Conclusion: Is Taklakot worth visiting

Why visit Purang or Burang County of Ngari Perfecture? The epic Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is number one reason to visit Purang or Taklakot. Known as the abode of Shiv Bhagwan, the holy mountain, which is also known as Gang Rinpoche or Mount Kangrinboqê is worshipped by Hindus, Bon people, Buddhists and Jains.

To summarize, a single visit to Taklakot can educate you so much about the lesser-known aspects of Hindu History, unheard of cultures such as Bon people, ancient forts and monasteries, cross border trade since ancient times, lost kingdoms of Tibet and the heroic tales of Zorawar Singh.

The view from my Soul Window is off the beaten track!

Pin this blog to save the blog and plan a trip later!

Related Blogs

Travel Guides on Tibet

Below are some comprehensive travel blogs on Tibet which I penned based on my own travels in these regions. Do read them and if you enjoyed it then do not forget to share with your friend and family.  

Tibet Monasteries

Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar

Secrets of Mount Kailash

Checklist of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Vegetarian and Vegan Food in Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Epic Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Road Trip

Lipulekh Pass Route

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: How to prepare

Mansarovar Lake Guide

Raakshas Taal Guide

Kyirong Guide

Saga in Tibet Guide

Yam Dwar Guide

Gauri Kund Guide

Dolma La Pass Guide

Darchen Guide

Deraphuk Guide

Driraphuk Gompa Guide

Taklakot Guide

All About Bon people

Tibetan Wildlife

Everest Base Camp in Tibet

Qomolangma National Park

Blogs on Buddhist destinations

Below are my blogs on the Buddhist places I visited in India and elsewhere

Kushinagar Guide

Piparahwa Guide

Shravasti Guide

Vaishali Guide

Nalanda Guide

Rajgir Guide

Bodhgaya Guide

Sikkim Monasteries

Namchi Monasteries

Yuksom Monasteries

Pelling Monasteries

Ravang La Monastery

Rumtek Monastery

Rabdentse ruins

Mechuka Monasteries

Bomdila Monasteries

Itanagar Monasteries

Coorg Monasteries

Dharamshala Monasteries

Tawang Monasteries

Dirang Monasteries

Lumbini Guide

Hemis monastery

Shey monastery

Thiksey monastery

Lamayuru Monastery

Nubra Valley Monasteries

Naropa festival of Leh

Chamba statue at Mulbekh

Tiger’s Nest Monastery of Paro

Paro Monasteries

Punakha Monasteries

Thimphu Monasteries

Chimi Lhakhang Monastery

Haa Valley Guide


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