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A pilgrimage trek to sacred Mt. Kailash in western Tibet’s Ngari region is an interesting add-on to a Humla Valley trek from Nepal. Opened to foreign trekkers since 1993, a great new trek is now possible on foot rather than the long and arduous drive through Tibet.
Beginning in Katmandu we fly to Simikot in the far western corner of Nepal and from there trek north through Humla District to reach Sher from where we drive to the foot of Mt. Kailash, Darchen via the interesting village of Khojarnath and Chinese Village of Purang which is better known by its Nepali name, Taklakot.
We follow an ancient trading route used by Tibetans who sold valuable salt to Nepal and returned with grain. The trek from impoverished far northwestern corner of Nepal to Mt Kailash in Tibet is adventurous, and culturally and scenically rewarding.
Humla district, now in Nepal was once the part of the western Tibet region known as Ngari. The people of Limi in northern Humla and the upper Humla Karnali valley are “Bhotias” whose roots are in Tibet.
It is only near Simikot, the district headquarters, that we encounter people of the other ethnic groups, mostly Thakuri and Chhetris. This trek should only be done in the late spring and summer months as much of the region is snowbound in the winter and passes are closed.
Mt. Kailash (6714m), located north of the Himalayas, in one of the remotest parts of western has long been an object of worship for four major religions- Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and the ancient Bon religion of Tibet.
The actual circumbulation (kora) is a three days trek making a 52km circuit, or kora of the mountain crossing the 5630m pass Droma La. Mt. Kailash with its year round snow capped peak, it stands apart with its four four sheer walls that match the cardinal points of the compass.
The mountain is known as Kang Rinpoche or “precious jewel of snow” in Tibetan.
Day 1 Arrival KATHMANDU (1300m/4265ft)
Arrive at Kathmandu International Airport where you will be warmly welcomed by our representative and check in to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore this historic and vibrant city. Meals: Welcome Dinner
Day 2 Acclimatize KATHMANDU
In the morning after breakfast, a trip orientation meeting will be organized and there will be a half day guided tour around Kathmandu valley. Kathmandu, being a historical and cultural heart of Nepal, is a popular destination for tourists, trekkers and adventure seekers. The city presents a wonderful mixture of Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism and Western influence in the Valley. In this tour we will see the glorious Newari architecture of old palace of Kathmandu Durbar Square and we will join the pilgrims around the enormous Boudhanath Stupa and Swayambhunath Stupa and then to the Nepal’s most important Hindu temple Pashupatinath temple that stands on the bank of the holy Bagmati river. Last minute shopping can also be done this day. Welcome dinner in the evening. Meals: Breakfast
Day 3 Fly to NEPALGUNJ (160m/525ft)
It is a one-hour flight that takes us to the lowlands in southwestern part of Nepal. Meals: Breakfast
Day 4 Fly to SIMIKOT (2960m/9712ft); Trek to DHARAPURI (2270m/7448ft)
We take a 50-minute flight to Simikot early in the morning. We register our permit in the police post, have lunch, and continue to walk to Dharapuri that takes four hours. It is a beautiful walk through the jungle and villages of Thakuri people, who ruled the Humla-Karnali region in the past (16th – 17th century). Following the Humla Karnali River flowing about 400m below, we eventually reach a metal bridge crossing the Hepka Khola into Dharapuri. Meals: Breakfast
Day 5 Trek to SALE KHOLA (2300m/7546ft)
Today we follow the Karnali River through the surrounding mountains and waterfalls with steep ascents and descents. On our way we pass by Kermi village, above 40 minutes of which are some hot springs that are well worth the visit. From Kermi it’s a long climb over a ridge into a big valley with walled potato and buckwheat fields and then we follow the path down to the Chumsa Khola, also known as Sale Khola Meals: Breakfast
Day 6 Trek through YALBANG to TUMKOT KHOLA (3000m/98434ft)
We continue to follow the Karnali River towards its origin (Rakash Lake). We will visit Yalbang Gompa on the way which is the largest and most impressive Gompa in the area. It has old Monastery, as well as the border police station. Meals: Breakfast
Day 7 Trek to SIPSIP (4330m/14207ft)
Today will be a somewhat harder day as we begin to feel the effects of the high elevation. We will leave the Karnali River and start the climb up towards Sipsip through the alpine region. Meals: Breakfast
Day 8 Trek to SHER (3860m/12665ft)
This day will also be somewhat difficult because of the rugged terrain. We cross the Pass, Nara la (4580m) and descend down to Hilsa (3720m). Further we trek to a border town of Sher. Meals: Breakfast
Day 9 Drive to PURANG (TAKLAKOT is the Nepali name) (4450m/14600ft)
Today we will take care of some border formalities at Sher and then meet our Land cruiser and Tibetan Guide for onwards trip to Tibet. On our 110km drive to Purang, we will visit Khojarnath Gompa on the way, which was built in the 11th century. The landscape and the scenery of Gurlamandata and the Darchula Mountain range are beautiful. Here the army will do a formal immigration check. Meals: Breakfast
Day 10 Drive to DARCHEN & prepare for TREKKING
We drive to Tarboche ( the foot of Mt. Kailash ) in Darchen, 107 km north of Purang where we will be astonished by the spectacularity of Mt.Kailash, the heart of Buddhism universe. Meals: Breakfast
Day 11 Kora Day 1–Trek to DIRA-PUK (6 hours; 200m ascent)
From Tarboche, we walk up the Lha Chu Valley through beautiful green meadows and streams with Mt Kailash towering above us. We follow the river which enters a narrow canyon with high, steep cliffs and spectacular waterfalls. Continuing up the valley, the north face of Kailash comes into view before we reach the 13th century monastery at Dira-puk Meals: Breakfast
Day 12 Kora Day 2–Trek to ZUTUL-PUK (7-8 hours; 550m ascent, 600m descent)
We now leave the Lha Chu Valley and enter the Drolma Chu Valley, heading up towards a high pass, the Drolma La (5630m). It’s a tough climb to the summit which is festooned with prayer flags but from there it is all downhill or flat to Zutul-puk, with views of one of the highest lakes in the world, Thukpe Dzingbu Lake, known as the Lake of Compassion. As well as the monastery at Zutul-puk, there are several meditation caves and another cave containing an image of Milarepa Meals: Breakfast
Day 13 Kora Day 3–Trek to DARCHEN (3-4 hours; 150m descent)
This is the final day of the Kora. We cross several streams and follow an impressive gorge. Along the way we are once again treated to magnificent views of Mt. Kailash. We then enter the Bharka plain and it’s about an hour’s walk through this desert-like landscape to Darchen. Meals: Breakfast
Day 14 Drive to SAGA (4600m/15093ft)
Today is another driving day as we head towards Saga taking the sights of the small dusty towns along the way. This gives us more time to appreciate this truly ancient Tibetan culture. Meals: Breakfast
Day 15 Drive to LHATSE
Sightseeing on board. Meals: Breakfast
Day 16 Drive to LHASA (3650m/11976ft)
Sightseeing on board. Meals: Breakfast
Day 17 Fly back KATHMANDU
We take a last memorable look at the Potala Palace before being transported to airport for the flight back to Kathmandu. Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner
Day 18 Fly back HOME or extend your HOLIDAYS
If you prefer to stay longer, you can consult us for short tours such as game drive at National parks, rafting, mountain biking, India or Bhutan tours etc. Meals: Breakfast