HOLY KAILASH – SACRED MANASROVER LAKE
‘holiest of all holy spots for four great religions Hindu-Buddhist-Jain and Bonpa sect’
Mount Kailash, stands at the height of 6,714m / 22,028 ft within Far South West Tibet and sacred and huge Manasrover Lake, belief is that created from the mind of a holy-spirit in Hindu as ‘Manas’. The home of Lord Shiva and Parbati. Around Kailash Parbat, there are Nandi, Bhringi, Ganesh, Kumra, sixty-four Yogini, Bhut Pret, and Pinchas and standing on out circle of Kailash Parikrama. Which you walk around in once of your life, you will get moksha or got nirvana.
Mt. Kailash an impressive and unique mountain where four major river systems start from
Mount Kailash, the great Brahmaputra-Karnali-Sutlej and Indus, where four cardinal faces represent the Eastern Face as Crystal, the Western Ruby, the Southern Sapphire and the main North as Gold.
Truly a spiritual center for four great religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Jain religion and the pre-Buddhist
For Hindus Mt. Kailash is the earthly manifestation of their spiritual center of the universe, ‘world pillar’ around which all else revolves, its roots in the lowest hell and its summit kissing the heavens and on top lives their most revered God Shiva.
Parikrama or Kora (in Tibetan) begins from near Darchen town at Tarboche following the trail to Dhirphuk (north face of Mt. Kailash) and then over high holy Dorma-la pass the highest point of the journey and a holy spot at 5,470m /18,525ft. A big boulder represents the goddess Dolma or Dromo (Tara) festooned with prayer flags. This spot is the physical and spiritual high point of pilgrimage.
From here the route descends to the bottoms to Zutul-Puk Gompa, Zuthul means cave. The place is named after a cave in which the poet, saint Milarepa stayed meditating. His footprint still remains on the roof.
Options before or after Kailash and Lake Manasarovar parikrama, where one can visit Tirthapuri located within eroded high red cliffs and canyon with an overnight stop, Tirthapuri has an old monastery where you can visit Guru Gem near a freshwater from a natural spring.
For Kailash Yatra, the most auspicious time during the full moon on Lord Buddha’s birth anniversary known as Saga Dawa by Tibetans and Buddhist followers, where one-time parikrama or Kora regarded as 108 walks/circuit around Mt. Kailash, which falls in the first week of May as per Buddhist and Hindu calendar.
On completing 108 times parikrama where one can join in for Inner parikrama/kora of Mt. Kailash.
Fact information on Lake Manasarovar
Lake Manasarovar to Tibetan known as ‘Mapham Yutsho’ it means ‘the Unconquerable Turquoise Lake’ and is also known as Tsho Rimpoche (Precious Lake), located in the basin of Barkha plain in between Mt. Kailash and Gurla Mandata, with circumference of 88 km and a maximum depth of 70 m, the lake seen as an eight-petal lotus flower or a Mandala square with four-door of cardinal directions.
On its eastern shore, have the ‘wisdom eye’ can see the rose apple tree (jambubriksha), the tree of life of Jambudvipa, the southern continent of Buddhist and Hindu cosmology.
Lord Buddha blesses the lake as the queen of Nagas (serpents) caused 501 lotus flowers to bloom on the lake, and Lord Buddha sits in the center with his disciples upon the surrounding flowers, teaching Buddhist doctrines to the Nagas. It is believed the queen of serpents increases the rivers, the flowers, fruits, medicinal herbs and all the forests of the world. In this way, the holy Lake Manasrover provides prosperity to all human beings.
Lake Manasarovar is more important to the Himalayan shamans and Hindus than to the Buddhists. For the shamans, the holy water from the lake purifies the pollution of being born from a human womb.
For Hindus, Manasrover is the manas, or soul of Brahma. It is also where Shiva and Parvati bathe. Therefore, they make the circuit of more than 85 km around Manasrover, which is made longer and more difficult by marshes and complicated stream crossings along the way. Tibetans, being more pragmatic, often make their circuits in the winter, when the streams are frozen and the route shorter. Most pilgrims perform the complete circumambulation within 3-4 days and some do it by truck and Land-Cruisers.
An optional circuit or parikrama on drive trip around Manasrover Lake can be done on request which takes about 3-4 hrs of 110 k.m distance round trip.
The Hindu poet, Kalidasa, wrote in the 3rd Century, when earth touches anyone’s body or when anyone bathes therein, he/she shall go to the paradise of Brahma, and who drinks its water shall go to the heaven of Shiva and shall be released from sins of 100 births, even a beast that bears the name Manasrover shall go to the paradise of Brahma for its water are like pearls.
Yatra or Travel Routes to Holy Mt. Kailash and Sacred Lake Manasrover
Holy Kailash and Sacred Manasrover located within far corners of Tibet Far South West close to Northern parts of Western Nepal, to reach Holy Mt. Kailash and Sacred Manasrover using several routes as per your interest and duration for this holy Yatra.
One can take the overland drive from the capital Kathmandu – Nepal, through Kyirong to enter into Tibet taking about Ten Days to complete the journey with parikrama, the other ways taking flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa and then drive towards Tibet Far South West around Holy Kailash and Manasarovar Lake.
While other routes from Nepal taking the remote western route to reach into Tibet via Taklakot / Purang through Simikot and Hilsa of Humla district, where walks and drive involve, where one takes the luxury mode of transportation by Helicopter from Nepalese side to reach your destination to Kailash and Manasarovar Lake.
The easiest and shorter routes flying from Lhasa to Ali Kunsha Airport, also known as Ngari Gunsa located nearby town of Shiquanhe, Ngari Prefecture, western Tibet Autonomous Region. The airport started its operations from 1st July 2010, becoming fourth civil airports within Tibet.
Whatever the route is chosen being around Kailash and Manasrover certainly inspires you spiritually where first step and worship will Sacred Lake Manasrover located at the height above 4,510 m here with time for prayer and puja including a holy bathe and a dip.
PLACES OF GREAT INTEREST AROUND Mount KAILASH AND LAKE MANSAROVAR
Tarboche – Special entry place of Kailash Kora:
It an Important to know that Mt. Kailash Yatra for Tibetan Kora’s most auspicious time is during the Saga Dawa Festival which falls in the month of May as per Buddhist calendar which is held at the foot of Mt. Kailash.
Saga Dawa which is a day of Buddha’s enlightenment, nirvana, the monastery at Tarboche, the base of Mt. Kailash in Tibet celebrates this big festival for four days. During this festival, you observe a vivid way of Tibetan pilgrims that joins from all over Tibet and celebrates fire puja, Lama Dances, Sand Mandala puja and finally the unrolling of the giant silk Thanka.
This is the oldest scroll painting in Tibet, dating back 1000 years and measuring approximately 40 x 60 m. Circumambulating Mt. Kailash during Saga Dawa, one gained the merit of 100 thousand times due to the sacred month of Saga Dawa.
Serlung Gompa and close view of Nandi or Astha Padha:
Serlung (also spelled Silung) gompa, the only temple at Kailas that is not on the main pilgrimage kora, is 1 1/2 hours North West of Gyangdhrag or Darchen town where one can view Nandi-(Hindu) Asthta Padha (Jain) or Tarmo (Tibetan Buddhist) a small peak in front Mt. Kailash.
The trail starts near the Chorten behind the monks’ residences, climbs far west ridge; then descends to the Serlung Chhu.
The gompa is on the east bank. Further upstream from Serlung the valley that divides into two tributaries. The west branch leads to the south face. The east branch is the route to Tsho Kapala, neighboring glacial lakes said to have black water in one, white in the other. According to traditions, only those who have completed thirteen circuit around the holy mountain are worthy of visiting these sacred lakes.
The Eight Gompas:
According to Tibetan Buddhism, every Gompa / Monastery constructed in the form of a Mandala. Altogether eight Gompas located around the lake.
Four of them represent four continents, belong to different Buddhist sects. Among the monastery sites, thrugo (the gate for bathing) on the southern shore considered the holiest site for bathing. The water of Mansarover plays a great role in the lives of farmers.
There are many traditional songs about the importance of this holy water, Chang Lu’ (Beer Song) is one of them sung by the Buddhist community in the trans-Himalaya from Ladakh in the west to Bhutan in the east.
The main important Gompa Chu Gompa located near the Western bank of Lake Manasarovar
perched on a ridge inside an overhanging cave.
Rakshas Tal is known as Poison Lake (Lanka Tsho):
This is the demon lake, a black lake of poison in the shape of a hide-conch made of human skin. Its circumference is 135 miles. It is the abode of the mountain god, Gonpo Peng, the great guardian of Tantrism.
This god also believed to be Dravidian king, Ravana, who is described as a rakshas (demon) in Hindu mythology. He is also known as a serious devotee of Lord Shiva.
Being of Dravidian dark stock, Gonpo Peng is also known in Sanskrit, as Mahakala (the Great Black), or in Tibetan, as Nagpo Chhenpo.
Rakshas Tal is not important to most pilgrims, but for Buddhist Tantrics and black shamans, this lake is the source of their exorcism. For laypeople, though, it is just a place for negative forces.
Tirthapuri Kora and Hot Spring.
Tirthapuri located about 90 k.m. west of Manasarover Lake and Darchen town where few hour drives leads further west to reach a barren and desolate areas at Tirthapuri situated within eroded high red cliffs and canyon with overnight stop, Tirthapuri has an old monastery where you can visit Guru Gem near a freshwater from a natural spring.
Darchen Town – Begin and exit the city of Mount Kailash.
Darchen located at the foot south of Mt. Kailash around great Barkha plain to Darchen the main gathering hub of a pilgrimage around Mt. Kailash.
Here the lodge although it looks standard but of minimum services and does not expect the best, just take it as it comes as the start and end of holy Yatra.
Dhiraphuk Monastery on North side of Kailash
On route North Face of Mt. Kailash located Dhirphuk, one of the holy spot where a small monastery and meditation place of 11th Century poet, tantric Guru and saint Milereppa with an exquisite interior.
Dolma-La Pass (5630m) – The highest pass on the secret Walks
The highest and holy spot of Kailash Parikrama, located at Dromo- la at 5, 470 m and 18,525 ft, close to North-East Face of Mt. Kailash. A big boulder represents the goddess Dolma (Tara).
This high spot festooned with thousands of Buddhist colorful prayer flags, where one can perform short puja and prayer before a long descend to the bottom at Lamchu Valley on route Zutul-Puk Gompa.
Zuthul-Puk Gompa – East side Monastery of Kailash
Located at near the end of Kailash parikrama, Zuthul means cave, where 11 Centaury a tantric Guru, poet, saint Milereppa meditated. His footprint still remains on the roof.
WHEN TO VISIT MOUNT KAILASH AND LAKE MANSROVER:
April to October, months favorable for travel and to visit Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar including monsoon wet months of June to mid-September, as Tibet falls in rain shadow where monsoon rain clouds blocked by the mighty chain of Himalayan Mountains.
This is why most part of Tibet is dry and arid with windswept landscapes considered as world largest and highest plateau of Tibet.
During these times for visit colder in the morning and night time as well in the shade where temperatures drop sometimes to minus degree Celsius as per the area of travel, can snow sometimes.
October months although clear with sunshine will be cold with minimum -5° C to Maximum 15-20° C in the bright sun during day times, with chances of snow.
Temperatures and Precipitations in Tibet Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
Month Temperature (0C ) Precipitations
Maximum Minimum (in mm)
January 08 -12 0
February 10 -10 0
March 13 -4 2
April 16 0 3
May 19 2 14
June 24 9 70
July 22 10 130
August 19 8 140
September 19 6 80
October 16 -1 5
November 13 -9 0
December 8 -13 0