As the main peak of the Gandise Mountains, Mount Kailash is the most famous holy mountain (Bonri Mountain and Himalayas are also holy mountains in Tibet) in Asian history. With 4 distinct sides, the gigantic pyramid has a round cap covered in eternal snow and ice. Standing far above surrounding mountains, Mount Kailash is just like a majestic ruler of Nature.
At an elevation of 6,656 meters above the sea level, snow-capped Kailash gives life to 4 grand rivers: Shiquan River, meaning Lion Fountain, known as Indus River in the lower reaches; Maquan River, meaning Horse Fountain, the origin of Yarlung Tsangpo River; Xiangquan River, meaning Elephant Fountain, known as Sutlej in the lower reaches; Kongqu River, meaning Peacock Fountain, the origin of the Ganges River. The 4 rivers gained their names from the geological features of their origins.
Mount Kailash gained the status of holy mountain well over 2,000 years ago. It still commands great reverence from Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, Bon religion and Jainism. Hindus believe this mountain is the abode of the Mahabrahman; sutras of Jainism say that Lhexa Bahal, the world’s first one to be relieved of earthly affairs, lives on this peak; Tibetan Buddhism believes that this mountain symbolizes the Bde-mchol-rdo-rje and the Rdo-rje-phag-mo; and the Bon religion reveres it as a sacred holy mountain at the center of the world and the residence of all gods.This legendary mountain has long been identified with the striking peak in the Himalayas that now bears its name. Shiva is therefore believed to dwell at its summit. Some traditions say the mountain is Shiva’s linga, while Lake Manasarovar is the yoni of his consort.
Circling the mountain is the way most pilgrims show their utmost respect to the mountain. But the route and way of circulation differ according to different religions. Every year, pilgrims from India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Chinese regions where the Tibetan people live will form a continuous line around the mountain.
It is said that 1 trip around the holy mountain will wipe away all the sins of one’s current lifetime; 108 revolutions will remove the sins of all one’s lifetimes and bring salvation from reincarnation. Alternatively, pilgrims who complete one circulation of Kailash and bath in the frigid waters of Lake Manasarovar will also bring salvation. The number of pilgrims will reach the highest in the Year of Horse on the Tibetan calendar.
No pilgrims climb Mt. Kailash. All 4 religions believe that it would be a serious act of sacrilege to set foot on its slopes. Legend has it that the only person to have reached the summit is the Buddhist champion Milarepa and that all others who have ventured to defy the taboo have died in the process.
The prime time of shooting is before and after sunrise or sunset within an hour for the reason of direction of sunlight.
Simple accommodation and food are available in Darchen (an elevation of 4586m), just at the foot of Mount Kailash. There are some chophouses mainly provide Sichuan cuisine. Among them, the so-called “Lhasa Hotel” is most famous, which is just a tent restaurant. They only provide some simple food, so you can carry some fruit and food by yourself.
The Gangdise hotel is the most famous lodge, equal to guesthouse. The normal price is 60RMB each (provide boiled water and public toilet). Standard Room is 150RMB per room (with private toilet).Some temples also provide simple accommodation with 30RMB each. You can bring your own sleeping bag or sheet.
There are some sites to shoot Mount Kailash, including the road near the holy mountain along National Highway 219, prayer flag square, Drolma la pass, Baga grassland, La Qu river valley and so on.
If you stay in Darchen, you need to trek to find an appropriate shoot sites. For example, trek to Lha-chu river valley (8 kilometers away from Tharchin village) to take some stunning photos. Use Nikon digital SLR camera D200 with 80mm to 200mm lens will be much better. And in the path of kora, some majestic photos can be captured by your camera.
Generally, you can charter a car to Kailash from Lhasa and this route costs you at least four days.
Day1: Start from Lhasa and stay overnight in Shigatse.
Day2: Shoot Mount Everest and stay overnight in Tingri.
Day3: Drive to Saga County. Appreciate the beautiful scenery along the way.
Day4: Arrive in Ji wu temple. After shooting the sunrise and sunset of Lake Manasarovar and Lhanag Tso Lake, you can shoot the magnificent Mt. Kailash along National Highway 219. As you stand far above surrounding mountains, Mount Kailash is just like a majestic ruler of Nature. With the reputation of “source of water” and “World Center”, the pyramid-shaped mountain has an extraordinary personality and you will never be disappointed from any angle of the Holy Mountain.
Actually, we have a package of Mt. Kailash tour, which is never short of surprise for you.