Mount Kailash kora is a tradition going back thousands of years. Nowadays not only Tibetans, but also Hindus and Buddhists from India to Japan are joined by Western and Chinese travelers visiting Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar, which are sacred in four religions and it’s believed that the pilgrimage to this area on foot is a holy ritual bringing good fortune.
Walking the path around Mount Kailash is called the kora and it's one of the most demanding and challenging treks for pilgrims in the world. There are two routes for Mount Kailash kora, the inner and outer kora. The inner kora is the harder route and it leads directly into the south face of Mount Kailash. Both koras start from Darchen, which is a village at 4675 meters of altitude. The highest point of the kora, Drolma La Pass, is at 5630 meters of altitude.
Hindus and Buddhists make the peregrination clockwise as the Jains and Bönpo circumambulate Mount Kailash in a counterclockwise direction. Some pilgrims think that the entire kora around the mountain should be done in one day. It’s told that the secret breathing technique called Lung-gom, which is practiced by very few people, gives the power to circumambulate the mountain in only one day. For most of the people it takes about two or three days to complete the kora, especially westerners trekking with travel agencies usually have a schedule of three days trekking.
The most devoted pilgrims will perform body-length prostrations over the entire length of the kora, which includes bending down, kneeling, prostrating full-length, making a mark with the fingers, rising to knees, praying and then crawling forward on hands and knees to the mark made by the fingers before repeating the process. The circumambulation of Mount Kailash takes from two to four weeks following this regimen.
Buddhists have the ultimate goal of circumambulating Mount Kailash 108 times, after which you are believed to get instant enlightenment. The best time to circumambulate Mount Kailash according to the Tibetan calendar is the year of horse, when every round is worth of 12 rounds in any other years. The reason for this might be the fact that the alleged birth year of Buddha Sakyamuni was the year of horse.
The best time going to Mount Kailash is between May and October when it’s warmer. The most exciting period at Mount Kailash is the 15th day of the forth month in Tibetan calendar (generally in May and June), which is the date of the most important annual festival of Tibet, the Saga Dawa. That day happens to be also the birthday of Buddha Sakyamuni. During Saga Dawa the area around Mount Kailash is flooded with Tibetans from all over Tibet. Many of them arrive already two or three weeks before the 15th day of the 4th month (lunar year). It’s a great time to do a Tibet Mount Kailash trekking tour then.
The Hindus of India organize yearly the famous ”Kailash Manasarovar Yatra” pilgrimage, when they arrive to Mount Kailash to complete the kora and take the ceremonial baths in Lake Manasarovar. Most of the Indians arrive in June and July, so if you arrive to Mount Kailash at this time you should book your accommodations 1 month in advance.
Note: Snow might be encountered on the Drolma-la at any time of year and the temperature will often drop well below freezing at night. Strong wind, intensive ultraviolet radiation, and low temperature of Drolma-la will make yatra very difficult, so you’d better pass it as soon as possible.
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Who is the tour organizer? Are the guides tibetan and English speakers?
Dear Mr. Ba***,
Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. We are the tour organizer, and we have two offices, one is located in Lhasa as operating office, and one is located in Chengdu as sales office, but we are the same company. And also all of our guides are local Tibetan English speaking guide.
Please kindly let me know when you would like to take the tour? And How many people in your group? And where you will be before and after Tibet tour? After I get the details, I will forward you more details about the tour. Best regards.
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