Lhasa, Tibet (PRWEB) July 10, 2012
Update: For 2012 summer Tibet travel, foreign tourists must acquire permits and enter Tibet through Kathmandu, Nepal. Entering Tibet through China is not possible at this time due to government restrictions. Songtsan Travel is licensed to make travel and permit arrangements for foreign tourists entering from Nepal.
Songtsan Travel announces a 16-day journey to Mount Kailash. It is considered the holiest mountain in Asia, and is held sacred in the traditions of Bon, Hinduism, and Jainism. Pilgrims travel thousands of miles on foot to circumambulate the mountain and gain spiritual merit. Because of its beautiful, remote location, Kailash is also a premiere trekking and adventure destination.
The tour begins in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, where groups meet with their guide and driver. On the first few days of the trip the route follows steep switchback roads through the Himalaya to the Tibetan towns of Zhangmu and Nyalam. The scenery along this route is stunning, with lush foliage and 200-meter high waterfalls.
The next leg of the journey takes travelers off the Friendship Highway and into western Tibet. After the city of Saga the route crosses the Brahmaputra River (called the Yarlung Tsangpo) by ferry. Beyond the river are vast dry plains and the small town of Zhongba. For the next few days travelers will cross the plains and camp under the stars.
About one week into the trip travelers reach Lake Manasarovar, the most famous holy lake in Tibet. After several days of exploration and a night spent at the lakeside monastery, travelers will embark for the Mt. Kailash kora (circumambulation) trek.
Kailash’s distinctive four-sided summit stands stark against the Gangdise mountain range, also called the Trans-himalya. This area is the source of four of the longest rivers in Asia, the Indus, the Sutlej (a tributary of the Indus), the Karnali (a tributary of the Ganges), and the Brahmaputra (called the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibetan). The remote, pristine location, along with these singular geographic features makes it easy to understand why Tibetan Buddhists believe Kailash to be the center of the world.
Mt. Kailash is 6,714 meters high, and due to its important religious status, has never been climbed. To Buddhist believers, it is the abode of Demchok, the wrathful manifestation of Buddha Sakyamuni. Zealous pilgrims walk kora around the mountain in one day, but most tours take three days to accommodate sight-seeing and a challenging but not grueling pace. The trek around Kailash is 53 kilometers.
The trek begins at the small town of Tarboche, which is marked by a tall pole adorned with prayer flags. From Tarboche travelers cross the Lha Chu Valley. The route follows the river which enters a narrow canyon with high, steep cliffs and spectacular waterfalls. Continuing up the valley, the north face of Kailash comes into view, flanked by the 13th-century monastery at Dira-puk.
On the second day of the trek travelers cross into the Drolma Chu Valley, heading up towards the high Drolma La pass (5630m) which is festooned with prayer flags. From there it is downhill to Zutul-puk, with views of one of the highest lakes in the world, Thukpe Dzingbu Lake, known as the Lake of Compassion. There is a monastery at Zutul-puk as well as several meditation caves and a cave containing an image of the famous monk Milarepa.
On the final day of the kora takes travelers over several streams, and along an impressive gorge. The route descends into the Bharka plain and through a desert-like landscape to village of Darchen.
Songstan Travel is a Lhasa-based tour operator with more than 20 years of experience leading Tibet tours. The agency uses part of its proceeds to provide education to disadvantaged children. Songstan Travel seeks to promote Tibetan culture and help Tibetans improve their livelihood.
Songtsan Travel is now one of only two Tibetan travel agencies licensed to take Indian tour groups on the Mt. Kailash pilgrimage. Starting in Kathmandu, Nepal, the 16-day Kailash journey takes pilgrims to the base of the mountain, provides a guide and yak team for the 3-day kora, and includes visits to many other interesting cultural and religious holy sites, including Lake Manasarovar. Interested agencies in India and Nepal are encouraged to work with us to arrange tours.