Mt. Kailash, 6,740 m. is situated to the north of the Himalayan barrier, wholly within Tibet. It is the perfect mountain in so many ways and stands serene with its awesome beauty / four great faces look out to this world and the one beyond. It is the spiritual centre for four great religions: Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Jain religion and the pre-Buddhist animistic religion – Bonpo.
To Tibetans it is known as Khang Rimpoche (Precious Jewel of Snow) and they see it as the navel of the world. It is said that a stream from the mountain pours into a nearby lake and from here rivers flow in the four cardinal directions. The River of the Lion Mouth to the North, the River of the Horse Mouth to the east, the River of the Peacock Mouth to the south and the River of the Elephant Mouth to the west. Strangely enough coincidence maybe or just perhaps a little more mysterious than that?. Four major rivers do indeed originate near Kailash, the Indus, the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra), the Karnali and the Sutlej. Tibetans believe that it is the residence of Demchog, a fierce looking tantric deity who lives there with his consort, Dorje Phagmo. For the Tibetans also it is a particularly special place where the poet saint Milarepa, spent several years here meditating in a cave.
For the Hindus Mount Kailash is the earthly manifestation of Mt. Meru, their spritual centre of the universe, described as a fanatastic ‘world pillar’ 84,000 miles high and around which all else revolves.Its roots are firmly rooted in the lowest hell and its summit rises so high to kiss the heavens. On the top their most revered God, Shiva, and his consort Parvati live.
For the Jains, an Indian religious group, Kailash is the site where their first prophet achieved enlightenment. For the older, more ancient religion of Bon, it is the site where its founder Shanrab is said to have descended from heaven. It was formerly the spiritual centre of Zhang Zung, the ancient Bon Empire that once included all of western Tibet. Bon people walk around the mountain in a counter clockwise manner, unlike the other religions.
Over the centuries pilgrims have constantly journeyed immense distances to achieve enlightement or cleanse themselves of sin, braving enourmous distances, particularly harsh weather and bandit attacks.
Although the main focus of this trek is Mount Kailash in Tibet, the journey through Nepal’s border with Tibet at Zhangmu, Saga and Paryang to Darchen is culturally and scenically rewarding.
The Simikot Kailash trekking trail is one of the most popular trekking routes in Tibet, however compared to Nepal there are very few people on this trail .The trek offers superb Himalayan scenery and beautiful landscapes, all so neatly blended in with the warm hospitality and traditional culture of some wonderful high desert like people.The trek commences in the Humla region of Nepal, near to the Tibetan border with the trekking part of this tour finishing at Holy Lake Manasarovar and then completing a chora around the sacred mountain Mt Kailash. You travel through some magnificent mountain scenary, past old villages along rivers and across the Nara Lagna Pass. From the high pass at 4585mtrs the vast Tibetan plateau spreads out like a giant golden blanket in the distance.
The journey to the Nepal Tibet border takes five days, the border only being marked with a stone.The first village we reach is Sher on the Tibetan side where a vehicle is waiting to drive the group to Taklakot. Geographically Taklakot is directly south of Holy Mount Kailash. On the way to the holy mountain we walk the western shore of Lake Mansarovar and make camp.There are many beautiful landscapes in the Himalayas but there are few that can match the view from Gosul Gompa across the lake and the surrounding mountains. Take time to relax and soak it all in as it wont be there for you in the same way tomorrow. The following day together with many other pilgrims commence the trek around Kailash, the trail across the Dolma La (5600m) is thronged with countless prayer flags. The trek itself takes three days to circumambulate the snow-covered Kailash 6714m. In true Tibetan tradition the pilgrimage finishes at Tirthapuri – one of the most important pilgrim destinations along with Kailash and Lake Manosarovar.