Tibet is one of those extraordinary destination where indeed adventure lurks around every corner! Adventure on the road is never short on the beautiful Trans-Himalayan drive, through mountains, passes, promising a panorama of a cultural and scenic diversity unsurpassable anywhere. It culminates on an arid plateau – a veritable treasure trove of architectural masterpieces – the Buddhist monasteries of Drepung, once the largest in the country, The Jhokhang – a spiritual center, and the awesome palaces of the Dalai Lama – Norbulinga ( the summer palace ) and the Potala ( the traditional seat ).
Pilgrimage to Manasarover and the Holy Mt. Kailash
Mt. Kailash claimed to be the apex of the Hindu religious axis is also one of the highest mountain in Tibet at 22,022 feet, and Lake Manasarover at 14,950 feet is said to be the highest fresh water lake in the world. Certainly a difficult region to reach due to the variable and extreme weather conditions. The distance from Lhasa for example is approximately 2000 km.
Day 01: Kathmandu-Lhasa (3650 m), 90 kms
Transfer to airport to fly Lhasa. Upon arrival at Gonggar airport, you will be met by our Tibet representative and transfer to Hotel.
Day 02-03: Lhasa
We will have two full days in Lhasa to make excursions to the following places:
The Jokhang-The Jokhang is the principal and holiest Buddhist temple in Lhasa, as well as all of Tibet. It is the focus of devotion of hundreds of Tibetans from near and far who circle it to gain spiritual merit. The Jokhang was first constructed in the 7th century and has a large gold image of Sakyamuni Buddha.
Sera and Drepung-Sera, founded in 1419, is a monastery of the Gelugpa order. Its many white buildings sit at the base of a rocky hill. Gilded, bell-shaped gyamtschens grace the roofs of many of the larger buildings. Drepung used to have 8,000 monks who were taught in the traditions of Vajrayana, Mahayana, and Sutrayana, the three vehicles of Tibetan Buddhism.
Potala Palace-The 13-story Potala Palace is reputed to contain 1,000 rooms and hundreds upon hundreds of brilliant thangkas, frescoes, and images built in an era when religious art was created anonymously as a means of gaining merit for future lives. It’s one of the world’s most extraordinary buildings and completely covers the mountain it stands upon.
Day 04: Lhasa-Gyangtse (3990 m), 275 kms, 8-9 hrs
Drive via Yamdrok, the Turquoise Lake to Gyangtse across Kampa la pass 5050 m and Karo la (5045 m)passes. Visit Kubum stupa and Pelkor Chode Monastery.
Day 05: Gyangtse-Shigatse (3860 m), 90 kms, 2 hrs
Drive to Shigatse. En route visit Shalu Monastery. Visit Tashilhunpo Monastery, the seat of Panchen Lama who is the 2nd in the Buddhist religious hierachy and Shigatse Market.
Day 06: Shigatse-Ngamring (5220 m), 160 kms, 6-7 hrs
Drive to Ngamring. En route visit Sakya Monastery.
Day 07: Ngamring-Saga, 4280 m, 190 kms , 7-8 hrs
The road follows south of the Pelgu-Tso, continues across the plain with stunning Himalayan views. The route then follows a narrow gorge before climbing to a pass and dropping steeply down to a ferry crossing over the Yarlung Tsangpo.
Day 08: Saga-Paryang, 4750 m, 250 kms, 8-9 hrs
From Saga it is 145 km to Zhongba. The road is good and the trip can be completed in 4-5 hrs. There is also a small monastery at the western end of town on a hill. From Zhongba onwards the southern road deteriorates. There is also danger of vehicles getting stuck. But this section of the road has panoramic views of mountains on either side of the road.
Day 09: Paryang-Lake Manasarovar, 4560 m, 260 kms, 10 hrs
From Paryang to Lake Mansorovar is a long drive of 10 hrs or more. There will be several river crossings and we drive past Mayum la pass (4600 M). The scenery is stunningly beautiful with panoramic views of the Himalayas.
Day 10: Manasarovar-Darchen (4560 m), 30 km, 6hrs
About 30 kms north of Lake Manasorovar is Darchen, the main gateway and the village. The monastery at Darchen, Darchen Gon, is a part of the Drukpa sect. The two-story monastery structure in the center of the town serves as a trading post and shelter for pilgrims. Within the dukhang assembly hall are new and old thangka paintings and some statues, the main image being Sakyamuni. West of the gompa is the Mani Lhakhang that has a large, new mani prayer wheel. This is the site where the original old flagpole (a darchen is a flagpole for prayer flags) of Darchen was located. When beginning their kora pilgrimage around Kailash, many pilgrims often circumambulate the Darchen Gon monastery and the Mani Lhakhang before setting out.
We organize yaks or ponies for the Kailash circuit trek at Darchen.
Day 11: Kailash Circuit Trek – Diraphuk : (6 hrs)
This Kailash circuit covers 53 kms and can be done in 3 days. We head west in clockwise direction and after a few kilometers the trail climbs up to a cairn at 4730 m from where the southern face of Mt. Kailash comes to view. En route visit Tarboche where annual flagpole raising ceremony takes place during Saga Dawa.
Day 12: Diraphuk – Zutrulphuk, 4790, 6 hrs
Toady we cross Drolma la pass (5630 M) and Gauri Kund Lake (5608 m) where Hindus worship and immerse themselves in the icy waters of the lake.
Day 13: Darchen – Tirdapuri
The final end of the parikrama is an easy 2-3 hrs walk down to where the river emerges on to the Barga plain. We complete the 3 day circuit trek of Mt. Kailash and drive to Tirdapuri where there is a hot spring. Pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash is not complete without visiting Tirdapuri for the Tibetan Buddhists.
Day 14: Tirdapuri – Purang
Visit Tirdapuri Monastery and the pilgrim circuit and drive to Purang. En route visit Khojarnath Monastery.
Day 15 – 16: Purang-Lake Manasarovar (Chiu Gompa) and Lake Manasarovar
Rest day and excursion around the Lake.
Day16: Drive to Paryang (4700 meters). (292 kms / 08 to 09 hrs). Camp Overnight.
Day17: Drive to Saga (4600 meters). (252 kms / 07 to 08 hrs). Camp Overnight.
Day18: Drive to Nyalam (3750m) 240 Kms / 6-7 Hrs. Guest house
Day19: Drive downhill to Friendship Bridge where transportation awaits for the Groups final leg of journey to Kathmandu (1300m) 150 Kms / 8-9 Hrs.