What Else to Do around Mt Kailash besides the Kora
When talking of Mt Kailash, most people automatically think of the 3 days trek around it, called Mt Kailash Kora. As if it is the only thing to do at Mt Kailash. Let local Tibet travel agency, Tibet Ctrip Travel Service Team, shares here what else to do and see around Mt Kailash area. You will have much more fun for the same tour if you know where else to go and what else to do around Mt Kailash.
1. Saga Dawa Festival at Mt Kailash
Saga Dawa Festival is celebrated throughout Tibet, and the grandest of all celebration is the one held every year at Mt Kailash, in the Ngari prefecture of western Tibet. Every year thousands upon thousands of people gather at the holy mountain, to celebrate the Saga Dawa, and perform the holy kora around Mt Kailash. Every year, a new prayer flagpole is erected at Tarboche during the Saga Dawa festival, and people hang new flags on the pole before it is erected. Each prayer flag represents a prayer that someone wants fulfilled. The flags are left to fly in the wind to increase the potential for answering. There is a tradition that if the pole is not set perfectly upright, it means that Tibet is in trouble, so it is important to set the pole up accurately, and only the best pole setter is allowed to perform the duty. In the early morning, you can watch the as the lamas come to perform their Buddhist rituals around the flagpole, and pilgrims start their ritual walk around the perimeter of the flags. While the rituals are going on, lamas with woodwind instruments play beautiful tunes as onlookers and worshipers alike get ready for the erecting of the new flagpol
2. Appreciate Kangkyam Glacier
Part of the trek around Mount Kailash passes by the entrance to the valley where the beautiful Kangkyam Glacier lies. This stunning glacier lies on the north face of Mt Kailash, descending towards the valley below. Normally visited on the second day of the kora, it is a two-hour round-trip trek from Drirapuk Monastery to the tongue of the glacier, crossing over the rough glacial moraine to the packed ice of the glacier itself. Sitting as it does, high on the route around Mt Kailash, Kangkyam Glacier is not visited by many people, and is one of the remaining unspoiled spots in the region. One of several glaciers that once descended from the slopes of the sacred mountain, Kangkyam Glacier is the only one left, and is a beautiful place from which to view the mountain’s peak.
3. Lake Manasarovar Kora
A short distance to the south of Mt Kailash lie the twin lakes of Manasarovar and Rakshastal. Once part of the basin of the Sutlej River, the lakes were separated by tectonic activity millions of years ago, and Lake Rakshastal is now a saline lake, while Lake Manasarovar is a freshwater lake.
Believed to be holy in Tibetan Buddhism, as well as Hinduism, Jainism, and Bonpo, Lake Manasarovar is a sacred site for all four religions, and has its own kora or Yatra route around the shores. Fed by the glacial run-off from Mt Kailash, Manasarovar overflows into its sister lake nearby, though not at a rate high enough to alter the salinity of Rakshastal.
4. Visit Chiu Monastery
Sitting atop a craggy hill overlooking Lake Manasarovar, lies the Chiu Monastery. An important gompa in Tibetan Buddhism, the main chapel of the monastery contains the meditation cave of Guru Rinpoche, where you can see the imprint of his foot embedded in the stone. Looking like part of the rugged cliff it sits on, Chiu Monastery is built on a Buddhist shrine that dates back to the 8th century.
There is a kora route around Chiu Monastery, on the side of the rocky crag it sits on, which follows a narrow path along the cliff and around the sides of the monastery. Chiu Monastery also has several shrines around its kora route, one of which is made up of the skulls and horns of dead yaks, and there are many prayer wheels set into the walls of the monastery itself, for pilgrims to use while walking the kora route.
5. View Mt Gurla Mandhata
To the south of Lake Manasarovar, in Burang County of Ngari and close to the border with Nepal, lies the mountain known as Gurla Mandhata, or Naimona’nyi. The highest peak of the small sub-range of the Himalayas, Nalakankar Himal, its peak sits at 7,694 meters above sea level, and is the 34th highest peak in the world. It is also notable for being one of only a few peaks over 7,000 meters that lie wholly within Tibet, the other major peak being Mount Shishapangma. Sitting in an almost straight line with Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash, Mt Gurla Mandhata stands tall in the distance, around 25 kilometers from the shores of Lake Manasarovar. A beautiful sight on the near horizon, Mt Gurla Mandhata’s snowy slopes make a great shot for photographers, as it stands above the plains that separate it from the holy lake.
6. Enjoy Tirthapuri Hot Springs
Lying on the north bank of the Sutlej River, to the northwest of Mount Kailash, is the monastery of Tirthapuri. Famous for its sacred hot springs, it is also known as the Guru Rinpoche Monastery because of the meditation cave that is associated with Padmasambhava.
There are more to explore around Mt Kailash than what it is commonly known for. Contact local Tibetan tour operator, Tibet Ctrip by email firstname.lastname@example.org, we will show you an authentic Mt Kailash deserving its fame!