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Mount Kailash - Holy Center of Four Religions

Mount Kailash as one of the ten mountains in China is located in Burang County, in the far southwestern Tibet. Literally meaning mountain of God, Mount Kailash is a holy mountain worshiped by four influential religions, including Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Like a tradition, every single year, a large number of Buddhist believers from all over the world traveling far here to kora around Kailash, especially in the horse year, the birth year of Shakyamuni. Apart from its religious influence, the nature of the snow-capped mountain is also worth-seeing. Reaching to 6,656 meters, its peak shows a peculiar brilliance under the sunshine. There are numerous lakes around Mt. Kailash, including the holy lake - Lake Manasarovar which is one of the three holy lakes together with Namtso Lake and Yamdrok Lake. Because of the mysterious legendary and breathtaking landscape, thousands of ordinary visitors are attracted here to explore Mount Kailash and Manasarovar.

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Mount Kailash Facts


#13 of 34 Attractions in Tibet

Summer & Autumn
Religious Site, Peak
6,656 meters
Ngari Area, Southwestern Tibet
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Religious Influence of Mount Kailash

Being the center of the world, Mount Kailash is the sacred place for many religions to connect with divinity. The Hinduism respects Kailash most. Hindus believe Kailash as the abode of the most powerful Lord Shiva who is in charge of Destroy, Reproduction and Dance. Besides, Kailash region is the source of the Ganges River and Indus River. Mount Kailash is also regarded as the birthplace of Bön which is the indigenous religion of Tibet and has affected Tibetan Buddhism much. The Jains believe Kailash was the place where their lord Rishaba obtained liberation. As for Tibetan Buddhism, Kailash is the proud place where sage Milarepa defeated the Bön, and made Buddhism the primary religion of Tibet. Buddhists also believe Mount Kailash stands for everlasting happiness.

Mount Kailash Kora

As one of the most challenging trekking road in the world, Mount Kailash Kora is the best way to worship this holy mountain and realize your lifetime trip of thoroughly meditation.

Each year, a large number of believers traveled from far away to worship Kailash. It has become a tradition to walk at least a round of Mount Kailash. Pilgrims believe that walking around Kailash can get rid of guilt and gets good fortune. The Hindus even believe that one should at least finish one pilgrimage walking around the Kailash during his lifetime. Pilgrims usually repeat the route three, five, seven, nine or thirteen times (odd number). The ultimate meditation needs one to finish the walking 108 times.

Mount Kailash Kora Route

The whole circled route is about 56km trekking. For some Tibetans, 15 hours will be enough to finish this kora, while it may take 2 nights and 3 days for most tourists on foot. Since every little element of this trip will be arranged well by our tour guide, your journey will be enjoyable. Below is the kora route during these days.

Note: Darchen, a village located in the right front of the mountain, is the entry of Kailash and the starting/ending point for Mount Kailash Kora.

Day One: Darchen - Chogu Gompa - Dirapuk Monastery; start from Darchen and stay overnight at Dirapuk Monastery, today you will trek about 20 km for about 6 hours. During the way, you will climb a slope to Chogu Gompa, and enter a long valley to reach Dirapuk of over 5000 meters high to witness the resplendent north face of the Kailash.

Day Two: Dirapuk Monastery - Drolma-la Pass - Zutrulpuk Gompa; after one day trekking, today you will finish 15 km road for about 7hours. During the way, you will encounter some Rocky road before coming to the Drolma-la Pass, which is most difficult part to walk. Over the Pass, there is about 10 km marsh road to enjoy the old-growth forest before get to Zutrulpuk Gompa to stay overnight.

Day Three: Zutrulpuk Gompa – Darchen; as the last day, you will trek over 14 km for about 5 hours back to Darchen in the clockwise direction.

On route, you will enjoy the stunning landscape of green valleys and crystal blue lakes. Also the views of Mt. Kailas’s are spectacular and majestic. The pyramids shaped mountain with four symmetrical sides, reaching sky by its glistening snow-capped summit, enveloped by white clouds is quite eye-catching. >> Check 16 Days Mt.Kailash Pilgrimage Tour for more Mount Kailash Kora route itinerary.

Note: 1) for the Buddhists and Hindus, Mount Kailash Kora is taking along the clockwise, and for Bon adherents, the Kora is in the opposite direction; 2) most pilgrims will take a Kailash Mansarovar Yatra together when they pay a pilgrim to Ngari.

Mount Kailash Great View of Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash Pilgrims kora around Mount Kailash

How to Get to Mount Kailash

As a holy pilgrimage site for different religious faiths, there are different land routes for visitors to reach Mount Kailash. And the most popular way to choose is via Tibet.

Travel from Tibet: The distance from Lhasa to Mt. Kailash is like from Beijing to Shanghai, and the most popular way for most foreign tourists to arrive at Mt. Kailash is taking a car via Lhasa or Shigatse, so that you can have enough time to adjust the high altitude by sightseeing along the way (Lhasa – Shigatse – Lhatse – Saga – Paryang - Darchen). For experienced plateau-travelers who are free from High Altitude Sickness, it is available to take a flight to Ngari Gunsha Airport from Lhasa and Urumqi. After that, it takes about 5 hours to drive to Darchen from the airport.

Travel from the Border: For Indians and Nepalese pilgrims, you may cross the border via Yadong and Purang respectively to enter Tibet of China. Then transfer to Darchen. A tour to Mount Kailash through border to Yadong or Purang can only organized by several authorized travel agencies.

Note: Darchen, a village located in the right front of the mountain, is the entry of Kailash and the starting/ending point for Mount Kailash Kora.

● 47 km away from Manasarovar Lake

● 200 km away from Ngari Airport

● 1,200 km away from Lhasa

● 260 km away from Guge Kingdom

● 120 km away from Purang

Learn more about Get to/around Ngari

Nearby Attractions Around Mt. Kailash

Manasarovar Lake: Located at the southern foot of Mount Kailash, as one of three holy lakes in Tibet, Lake Manasarovar is the highest freshwater lake with an elevation of 4590 meters, meaning eternal and invincible jade lake in Tibetan. Here originate four great rivers, and one of the sacred pilgrimage destinations. In the shape of pear for the widest part of 26km long, the lake water is very limpid and glimmering blue under the sunshine. Regarded as a place of divine together with Mt. Kailash by many people, Lake Manasarovar embraces thousands of visitors from Tibet, India, Nepal and other neighboring regions/countries to worship.

Guge Kingdom: Founded by the descendants of the Tobo Dynasty during the 10th century, the Guge Kingdom has a long history for over 700 years. It created a spectacular and advanced civilization and then disappeared mysteriously. The Site of Guge Kingdom is located in western Ngari Prefecture, about several hours’ driving distance to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. The architectures of the ancient Guge Kingdom were piled up on the mountain slope at a height of 300 meters. On the mountain, there are golden relics of palaces, caves, monasteries, and houses, which witness the prosperity and decay of an ancient kingdom.

Lake Rakshastal: Lake Rakshastal is close to the holy lake Manasarovar, to the west of it, a beautiful crescent blue lake. Meanwhile, the shape of Manasarovar is like the sun. The area between the two lakes is the only way to get in and out of Purang county. Compared with the freshwater holy lake Manasarovar, Rakshastal, which is so close to it, is a lifeless saltwater lake. It's quiet and barren, and some people called it “ghost lake”. The holy lake and the ghost lake are not far away from each other, with waterways connected. Standing on the lakeside, you can see some small reddish islands in the blue water and the Holy Mountain Kailash not afar off.

Lake Manasarovar Nature Pilgrims Kora along Lake Manasarovar
Guge Kingdom Stupas The Clear Construction of Guge Kingdom

Useful Tips for Visiting Mt. Kailash

Necessary Permits

Apart from Tibet Travel Permit which is a must to Tibet, you need Alien’s Travel Permit, Border Pass and Military Permit as well, which are issued by local Public Security Bureau (PSB) of Tibet. All these permits can only be applied by travel agency on behalf of tourists(☛ contact us now). There are several check stations set on the road, and the staff will check all your permits, and sometimes you passport also. For Indians, the formalities may vary from other nationalities, so if you are Indians, please inform us in advance.>>More about Tibet Permits for Foreign Travelers

High Altitude Sickness

The average altitude of Mt Kailash area is about 3,900 meters, but if you want to have a Mt. Kailash kora, you need to conquer the Dolma La, which has the highest altitude of 5630 meters. This means that people who already have been sick, had heart / lung diseases, or terrible altitude sickness in Lhasa and lower altitude area shall not carry out this challenging hike. To travel in the high altitude of Mount Kailash and make a good preparation, you may need to arrange your Kailash trip in the later part of your Tibet tour and adjust your physical conditions to do outdoor activities ahead of time as you ascend to a higher altitude.>>How to Avoid High Altitude Sickness in Tibet

Mount Kailash Pilgrim Praying to Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash Tibet Yaks

Best Time to Visit

The best time to go to Mt. Kailash is from July to October, especially in September and October, with more sunny days, since there is a rainy period from June to August. Even though, you should keep an eye on the weather condition before you go and during your visit time. Remember do not let your skin exposed outside or you'll easily get burnt by intensive solar irradiation. The Mt Kailash kora usually starts from late April to early May, while it is still very cold and parts of the road are still covered with snow. Please note the temperatures at daytime and night also vary a lot, and it is advisable to bring an extra layer to keep warm at night and comfortable shoes to hike.

Food and Accommodation

Travel this particular place with basic accommodation and limited food supply, there is much more you should take, including warm clothes (even in summertime), tent, sleeping bag, a waterproof mattress, some high-calorie food, like chocolate, water, common medicines, etc. If you are not going to bring the camping items, you can only stay at towns and temples around Mt Kailash, such as Seng-ge Kambab, Purang, Zanda, Darchen, Jiwu. Except for the hotels of Seng-ge Kambab area, you can not find any other places to take a bath.


There are Yaks and Horses available to transfer your stuff for a high cost in one-time or you can hire a porter with a maximum to carry paid per day.

How to Plan A Tibet Tour

Tibet is too vast to be visited in one single trip, but planning ahead of time can make most of your holiday. A classic Tibet tour always takes about 4 ~ 8 days. Apart from 2 days for arrival and departure, it usually needs 2 other days to explore majestic Potala Palace and other landmarks in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. With a day trip’s distance from Lhasa, Namtso Lake is another perfect tour extension if you visit Tibet from May to October.

☛ 4 Days Holy City Lhasa Private Tour - Heart of Tibet

☛ 5 Days Lhasa City and Holy Lake Namtso Tour

To explore further, it’s strongly recommended to travel from Lhasa to Mount Everest via Gyantse and Shigatse, which usually needs 4 more days. It is an unforgettable sightseeing trip with lots of attractions to visit, such as Yamdrok Lake, Karola Glacier, Kumbum Stupa of Palcho Monastery, Tashilhunpo Monastery, etc. Of course, the biggest draw must be gazing upon the unparalleled north face of the world’s highest peak – Mount Everest.

☛ 6 Days Lhasa Gyantse Shigatse Historical Tour

☛ 8 Days Everest Base Camp Tour - Top of the World

☛ 9 Days Tibet Discovery Tour plus Everest and Namtso Expedition

For Buddhist followers and hiking lovers, you are suggested to travel to Ngari to join the kora around the holy Mt. Kailash and sacred Lake Manasarovar, which usually takes about 5 ~ 8 more days from Lhasa. The wild nature of Ngari is spectacular as well.

☛ 13 Days Mt. Kailash & Lake Manasarovar Trekking Tour

☛ 16 Days Mt.Kailash Pilgrimage Private Tour

If you have your own needs or interest, just feel free to contact us to customize a trip of your own!

Potala Palace Lhasa, Namtso, Mount Everest and Ngari are four most popular destinations in Tibet

Recommended Tour Packages

Escorted by a skilled private drivers and companied by a professional local tour guide to organize all the activities, all you have to do is to enjoy your fantastic Tibet journey. Time can never be wasted waiting for a group, hopping on and off buses or negotiating unfamiliar destinations.

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