Lying under the south face of Mount Kailash, the extreme spot of the Nandi inner Parikrama is the grand Saptrishi Cave, which is considered to be one of the most difficult treks during the inner Parikrama.
Situated at the height of 6000 metres altitude, after leaving Atmalingam, one happens to face the almost vertical wall to be climbed for Saptrishi cave. It is also known as Serdung chuk sum. Here ‘Ser’ means golden; ‘dung’ means stupa (chorten, a Buddhist shrine), and ‘chuk sum’ means thirteen. Currently, however one can see more than thirteen chortens over there. All these chortens are well managed by Gengta Monastery located within the inner Parikrama region. There is a long horizontal crack in the cave that prevents the snow and rocks to fall on these chortens, and thereby it protects them from external damage.
The cave’s walls inside are painted red as per the Tibetan tradition. Many visitors put their books and hotel books and such belongings over here as homage to the Lord Shiva. There are, thus, many religious books kept well – arranged over here inside the cave.
From Saptrishi cave is seen the Nandi mountain, and its view from this spot resembles the mythological character of Nandi – the bullock to a great extent.
Saptrishi cave trek is one of the most challenging treks in the entire inner kora, and only seasoned mountaineers can reach there. From the base camp at Darchen, Saptrishi cave is nearly 11.3 kilometres away. From Darchen up to Silung Gompa, one can go by local transport. The real Parikrama starts after that by walk.
The nearest lodging facility is at Darchen. One can stay back at Nyalam – which is at 3750 metres altitude. There are some good hotels like She Sha Bang Ma Hotel, Snow Land Hotel, Sherpa Hotel, Nyalam Hotel etc. There are some good guest houses too. However, most of the people going for the inner cora prefer to stay at Darchen.