Explore the Unexplored: Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar

Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar is a cultural hub for pilgrims around the world

29, Jan 2023 | nepaltraveller.com

The enthralling destination can be reached either by land or if you’re willing to travel through air, then a domestic flight to Nepalgunj from Tribhuvan International Airport would be less time consuming

Nepal is home to many sacred sites, with a unique and enriched history the country boasts and an array of breathtaking destinations. Likewise, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a sacred tour to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar is one of the most sought-after destinations situated in the Tibetan region in China which lies on the outskirts of Nepal. Four great rivers – Sutlej in the west, Brahmaputra in the east, Karnali in the south, and Indus in the north – snake around Mount Kailash further accentuating its pious setting. Both Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar lie in the lap of nature, bringing in thousands of revelers from all over the world to witness the spectacular harmony between nature and people. 

The destination is considered one of the holiest places and a pinnacle of culture and religion for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Tibetan Buddhists. Thousands of devotees partake in this pilgrimage to the abode of Lord Shiva, the third god in the Hindu triumvirate. Similarly, Buddhists regard the site as an embodiment of Lord Buddha. It is not only a place of worship but also offers an invigorating experience for the adventurer in you. Among the most difficult trails to ascend, the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra has its own charm.

The enthralling destination can be reached either by land or if you’re willing to travel by air, then a domestic flight to Nepalgunj from Tribhuvan International Airport would be less time-consuming. Followed by another flight to Simikot, a helicopter can take you to Hilsa. From then on, you’ll pass through three checkpoints to Taklakot via car and reach your end destination. 

If you prefer a road trip, then the drive commences from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi for six hours. The drive then continues to Kerung County for another three hours. You will be reaching the highly anticipated Kailash Mansarovar by passing through Dongba, a seven-hour drive. After a refreshing holy bath and puja at Mansarovar Lake, you will be on your way to Darchen. On reaching Kora, the six-hour trek towards Dirapuk will bring you face to face with Mount Kailash in the north.

Lying at the heart of the great Kailash Range, Mount Kailash soars at 6638 mt in the remote south-west corner of the Tibetan region in China. Mount Kailash is regarded as one of the most venerated holy mountains in the world. The diamond shaped black rock mountain is regarded as the ‘precious jewel of snow’, therefore its name Kailash derives from the Sanskrit word ‘crystal’. Right below Mount Kailash rests Mansarovar, originating from Sanskrit; ‘Manasa’ meaning mind, while ‘Sarovar’ translates to lake. It is the world’s highest freshwater lake at 4590 m above sea level, covering an area of 123.6 sq m. The huge sapphire blue lake that has a deep emerald green shade towards the centre serves as a mirror where the mighty Mount Kailash is scenically mirrored.

The rivers and glaciers of the range seeps into Mansarovar ensuring a breath-taking progression of nature at its course. Passing through snowy ridges, be sure not to miss the age-old stupas, the staggering yaks and the torrential current of the rivers. 

The journey to the mystic mountain begins by leaving the crowded city of Kathmandu and driving toward Syabrubesi. Through Syabrubesi on the way to Kerung.  The altitude begins to rise dramatically, so be sure to pace yourself.  The dazzling valley of Mansarovar greets you once you have crossed Sanga and Dongba. 

The ideal time to visit Kailash Mansarovar is during the monsoon season, which lasts till October. Around this time, the temperature lies between 10°C to 15°C which is the perfect weather for trekking, taking a quiet pilgrimage, and taking a dip in the cool melted lake water of Mansarovar while enjoying the view of great Mount Kailash.  

The Mount Kailash trek is considered to be one of the toughest yet most rewarding spiritual treks. To reach this destination, one must cross a series of rocky mountain ridges. Likewise, pilgrims from various religions believe that circumambulating the harsh 52 km-long path brings good fortune and frees them of sins. With reference to  epic Ramayana the mountain is said to be the ultimate destination for the departed, and the holy centre or navel of the entire world. The Hindu legends believe that Lord Shiva resides at the pinnacle of the mountain whereas followers of the Bon religion believe the sky Goddess Sipaimen resides here. Similarly, another widespread belief among followers is that one should never set foot on the slope of Mount Kailash. Considered a dreadful sin, you will have to hear this story with your own ears to believe.

Since Lake Mansarovar is bound to Mount Kailash in all mythologies, it is also deeply rooted within spirituality and religion. According to Ramayana, anyone who bathes in Mansarovar’s waters is believed to be cleansed from sins committed over a hundred lifetimes. Likewise, drinking the water brings good fortune and supposedly brings immortality. This lake also serves as a beacon of purity and redemption.

Kailash Mansarovar is a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual journey, where deep snow-clad mountains and turquoise blue waters spin a mystical tale for years to come.

photo credit: Remote Lands, Gorkha Encounters 

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