When it comes to pilgrimage there is nothing like the Kailash Mansarovar Trek owing to its sheer magnitude, inhospitable location, and the sights that are reserved for those who dare! This journey will overcast all others and give you a lifetime’s resource for stories, anecdotes, and experiences to tell and retell for generations. So, what can you expect during this famed journey?
The Beginning – at Nepal
The journey to Kailash Mansarovar begins from Kathmandu, which most undertake with sheer excitement and deep spiritual yearning. At the capital city of Nepal, there is much to see and do for the tourists, right from exploration of the city to shopping or visiting ancient temples. Make it a point to visit Pashupatinath Temple constructed as square pagoda with beautiful, ornate doors. Inner sanctum has a linga having four faces. Also while you are here travel to Patan not far from the temple known for its ancient temples, ornate carvings, and handcrafted statues.
From Nepal to China
From Kathmandu, you will travel to Zhangmu (China) via the village of Kodari, where you will cross the border. At 8,251 feet, Kodari is simply breathtaking giving you panoramic Himalayan views. From here, you will walk over the ‘Friendhisp Bridge’ to enter Chinese territory. Zhangmu is a Southern town at 7,546ft/2,300m (approx.). Starting from this place on Sherpas become your constant companions be it for guidance, carrying things, or helping you whenever needed.
Acclimatization at Saga
Journey from Zhangmu to Saga County, the military town at 16,000 ft + height is fraught with increasing altitudes and winding roads. Here you will slow down, may even gasp, and feel the elevation at every turn. This is the last hiatus before you begin the actual climb a journey of 450 km/279 miles to Mansarovar, so staying here is a form of acclimatization that prepares you for the rest of the journey.
The highest freshwater body in the world, Lake Mansarovar is 90 km/55 miles long at all feature of approximately 15,000 feet. Geologists have confirmed that it is the fragment of Tethys Sea of the ancient world. The mineral density within is 400 mg/liter. The blue, limpid water of the lake is a sight for the sore eyes especially when you have walked such arduous journey to reach this destination. It seems like the culmination of your long-standing dreams.
Mansarovar to Kailash
From Mansarovar you will reach Yam Dwar via the town of Darchen. Now from here on, trek to Deraphuk with the pilgrims chanting, ‘Shiv Shambho’ matching their strides all through the way. Mt. Kailash at 22,000 ft approx is a majestic presence that compels you to believe that it indeed is the famed lordly abode. This mystical, magnificent mountain with its surrounding landscape seems too ethereal to capture with puny manmade devices – written, verbal, or photographic. You need to experience this yourself to understand the lore. Circumambulation around Kailash will take three days and is the high point of the pilgrimage, the end to which the whole trek was the means.