Zuthulphuk: Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Last Leg

Last Updated on April 22, 2022 by asoulwindow

Information about Zuthulphuk

Zuthulphuk is the second destination of Mount Kailash Parikrama. Several Hindu devotees stop here while they are on their way to Darchen from Deraphuk via Dolma La Pass and Gauri Kund (in that order). Zuthulphuk is one of the most unusual places to see in West Tibet.

The landscape of Zuthulphuk is very different from other destinations in Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. This is the most comprehensive travel guide on Zuthulphuk. This detailed travel guide is an information packed article on Zuthulphuk. Such exhaustive travelogue is unavailable in the mainstream media and traditional guide books. Here is all you wanted to know!

Why is Zuthulphuk Famous?

What is special about Zuthulphuk? I spent just a few hours here. I noticed an old Buddhist gompa in Zuthulphuk. The Zuthulphuk monastery is a major attraction here. It is a must-see historical destination.

I also observed many modern as well as medieval constructions around the picturesque valleys of Zuthulphuk.

Zuthulphuk is indeed a hidden gem. Since this unexplored place is located away from the crowds, its beauty is still unspoiled. Zuthulphuk is also known for its picturesque landscape and stunning visuals. If you love going off the beaten track, then you will enjoy your visit to Zuthulphuk.

Nomenclature/Etymology of Zuthulphuk

Zuthulkpuk is also known as Zuthulkphuk, Situlphuk, Zutulpuk, Zultulpuk, Zutulpuk Gompa or Zutulpuk monastery.

Where is Zuthulphuk located?

Zuthulphuk is located in the foothills of Mount Kailash in Burang County of Ngari prefecture of West Tibet. Zuthulphuk is located very close to Darchen.

History of Zuthulphuk

Historical significance of Zuthulphuk is immense. This place is situated in such a remote location that not much is documented on the same.

My experience of Zuthulphuk

While descending from Dolma La via Gauri Kund, the moment I arrived at the flat surface, I was welcomed by a gushing river. I hurried to fill my empty water bottles as I had run out of it. The water tasted so clean and fresh. I also saw dense grass patches in this area as it had lower altitude. Yaks were also grazing in this region.

As I moved a little ahead, a solo trekker from South India requested me for some water. I happily shared the water I had just collected few minutes ago. She looked tired and separated from her group. I continued walking ahead and saw many Buddhist and Bon devotees on the way.

As I came closer to Zuthulphuk, I was amazed at the vast open spaces. Also, after a long time while trekking during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, I noticed vast stretches of green fields where horses grazed. Or was it ponies?

When I arrived at the accommodation area of Zuthulphuk, I saw many middle-aged couples staying in the austere rooms of the lodging. I asked myself, “What would it be like to stay overnight in Zuthulphuk?”. I could not stay here as we left soon after we had some Indian vegan snacks like pakora and chai etc.

I had used my time in Zuthulphuk to interact with the local Tibetan kids. Many Tibetans live here due to the presence of the Zuthulphuk Gompa or monastery.

Meditate in Zuthulphuk

The quiet place that Zuthulphuk is, it is an apt destination for meditation. There are Buddhist monks here who have spent a lifetime meditating in and around the Zuthulphuk monastery.

Soul Window Thoughts

It reminded me of Govardhan Parikrama I did near Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, a state in North India. There were many sadhus I met during parikrama in this holy city. Many of them do tough forms of parikrama and have spent a lifetime doing it. Hinduism and Buddhism indeed have many similarities.  

Places to see in Zuthulphuk

There are not many sightseeing attractions or tourist places in Zuthulphuk. Zuthulphuk Monastery is the top place to visit in this area. It is also known as Zuthulphuk Gompa or Zuthulphuk monastery.

If you are staying overnight in Zuthulphuk, then you should reserve at least one hour to visit this ancient monastery in the region around Kailash Parvat.

Zuthulphuk Monastery or Zuthulphuk Gompa

Top things to do in Zuthulphuk

  • Meditate
  • Visit open fields
  • Take long walks
  • Talk to local people
  • Visit Zuthulphuk Gompa
  • Take pictures and videos of scenic places.
  • Zuthulphuk to Darchen. End of the Parikrama

Zuthulphuk to Darchen. End of the Parikrama

This is the last leg of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. This part of the epic journeyis more or less a trek on a flat path. We had crossed some streams en route.

We had covered the last portion of the Kailash parikrama by Land Cruisers to arrive at our hotel in Darchen. This is the end of parikrama around Kailash Parbat.

Excursions from Zuthulphuk

Some of the places which are located very close to Zuthulphuk are Darchen, Choku Gompa, Ashtapad, Yam Dwar, Tarboche, Dolma La Pass, Gauri Kund, Dzultripuk Gompa, Drirapuk or Deraphuk, Kuber Kund (located in Inner Kora)

The area around Mansarovar Lake is located a little far and people need to take car to reach here. Places of interest such as Rakshas Tal, Mansarovar lake, Chiu Monastery, Yarlung Tsangpo and Taklakot aka Purang or Burang are located close to each other but a little away from Zuthulphuk.

Not many people know that during the last stretch of the yatra, devotees can also enjoy the grand view of Barkha plains, Holy Lake Mansarovar Rakshasa Taal and the majestic Gurla Mandhata, also known as Naimona’nyi or Nemo Nani. It is the highest peak of the Nalakankar Himal, which is a small subrange of the mighty Himalayas.

Other nearby points of attractions near Zuthulphuk are as below:

  • Sarshung
  • Shiwachal
  • Zongzerbu

Festival of Zuthulphuk

What is the main festival of Zuthulphuk? Saga Dawa and Mahashivratri are main festivals in Zuthulphuk. 

Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Zuthulphuk

I was able to have nice Indian meals at one of the makeshift restaurants here.

Is it safe to visit Zuthulphuk?

Yes, it is very safe to visit Zuthulphuk.

Souvenirs Shopping Guide to Zuthulphuk

It is a commonly asked question. There are no souvenir shops in Zuthulphuk.

What currency is used in Zuthulphuk?

Chinese Yen is accepted in Zuthulphuk?

ATM in Zuthulphuk

There is no ATM in Zuthulphuk

Photography Tips for Zuthulphuk

Zuthulphuk is picturesque, which is why I spent hours taking pictures and videos here. No matter where my eyes wondered, I couldn’t help but appreciated the raw beauty of this remote land. It is easy becoming a photographer in Zuthulphuk.

Hire local tourist guide in Zuthulphuk

There is no doubt that hiring local tourist guide will help you eat better, see better and communicate better.

Languages spoken in Zuthulphuk

Tibetan, Mandarin, English and Hindi are understood in Zuthulphuk.

Books recommendation on Zuthulphuk

You must read a book on Zuthulphuk before Kailash Mansarovar Yatra commences.

Toilet facility in Zuthulphuk

It is a frequently asked question. Below basic toilet facilities are available at Zuthulphuk.

Backpacking Budget Travel Tips for Zuthulphuk

Zuthulphuk is not an easy place to visit for backpackers because everyone comes here on an expensive tour package.

Solo Trip Tips for Zuthulphuk

Most people visit Zuthulphuk in groups. It is a very different place to see.  Both individual and group family tour packages for Zuthulphuk are available. Special tailor-made tour packages are also possible.

Luxury travel Tips for Zuthulphuk

Expect no luxurious facilities at Zuthulphuk.

Where to stay in Zuthulphuk

There are some below basic rooms with a kitchen. After arriving from Gauri Kund, many devotees stay here overnight and start the final leg of parikrama from Zuthulphuk to Darchen the next morning.

Ideally, I would have loved to stay in Zuthulphuk for 2-3 days. But we had to leave after having some snacks due to paucity of time.

What to wear in Zuthulphuk

Zuthulphuk is a cold place so devotees must dress accordingly. Do read this guide on packing.

Timings of Zuthulphuk

There are no timings to enter and exit Zuthulphuk. That said, most devotees try to reach Zuthulphuk before dark. I was also able to successfully reach Zuthulphuk from Gauri Kund and Dolma La when the weather was still bright and sunny.

Best Time to visit Zuthulphuk?

April to September is a good time to visit Zuthulphuk. Due to harsh weather and climate, it is not allowed to do Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in winter. The temperature was already very low when I visited Zuthulphuk in the third week of August.

Duration of Visit in Zuthulphuk

The popular Zuthulphuk trek added long lasting enthralling memories in my travel blogging lifestyle.  Zuthulphuk trek is much longer than the one I did the day before. It took me almost 10-12 hours to complete the trekking trail.

Also, I got the rare opportunity to trek along the gorgeous and much revered Dolma La Pass. It rewarded me with the eye-treating views of the surroundings. Before it got dark, we had reached the residential area of Zuthulphuk. But we didn’t stay in Zuthulphuk. After having some vegetarian and vegan snacks at the Indian kitchen here, we moved on in a car and completed the last leg of Kailash Yatra on wheels.

How many days to spend in Zuthulphuk?

What can I do in 1 day in Zuthulphuk? Many yatris or pilgrims stay for one day in Zuthulphuk. After arriving from Dolma La and Gauri Kund, many people prefer to stay in the basic accommodation which is available in Zuthulphuk.

You can use this time well by visiting Zuthulphuk monastery. You can also interact with the local men, women and kids. You can also take a village walk and talk to the Buddhist monks and understand their way of life.

Itinerary for Zuthulphuk

Here is an itinerary for Zuthulphuk in chronological order. This is based upon my experiences.

Local Transport for sightseeing in Zuthulphuk

Pony rides from Darchen stop at Dolma La and Gauri Kund. Devotees must trek all the way from Gauri Kund to Zuthulphuk. I had done the same.

However, not many people know that you can request to be picked up from Zuthulphuk and dropped to Darchen on a land cruiser or other car. It is possible to drive on the last leg of parikrama around Kailash Parbat. Many people also prefer to stay in Zuthulphuk overnight and do the last few kilometres on foot only.

How to reach Zuthulphuk

Zuthulphuk can only be reached by foot from Deraphuk via Dolma La Pass and Gauri Kund. It is a long trek. You will mostly have to do a lot of descending between Dolma La and Zuthulphuk. There are no railways, bus service or airports in Zuthulphuk. Taxi service is available on request. Zuthulphuk is a free place to visit. There are no entry charges here.

Distances from Zuthulphuk

Distance between Zuthulphuk and Darchen is only 12 kilometers on foot/car. Other places of interest such as Yam Dwar, Tarboche, Deraphuk, Dolma La Pass, Kailash Parvat and Gauri Kund are also located near Zuthulphuk.

One needs to visit Mansarovar Lake, Taklakote and Rakshas Taal via car as these places are located a little away from Zuthulphuk.

Conclusion: Is Zuthulphuk worth visiting

Why visit Zuthulphuk? Here are my final thoughts. It is not possible to complete Kailash Mansarovar Yatra without visiting Zuthulphuk. Falling in the last leg of this Hindu pilgrimage, the visit to Zuthulphuk is inevitable. In a nutshell, Zuthulphuk is a must visit place during Kailash parikrama.

To summarize, ancient places such as Zuthulphuk Gompa or Zuthulphuk monastery deserves many visits time and again. Zuthulphuk being one of the most important stops at parikrama during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, is a must-visit place.

It is not every day you visit a place like this. Do share this blog with your friends and family. Abhinav Siingh from Soul Window is one of the top Travel influencers in India.

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