Mt. Kailash (6714m) is the most sacred mountain in Asia. Nearby are
the sources for four of South Asia's greatest rivers and at the
mountain's base is the highest body of fresh water in the world-- Lake
Manasarovar. To reach the holy mountain we trek through the recently
opened district of Humla, Nepal's highest and most remote region.
The upper Humla Karnali valley is inhabited by Bhotias, Tibetans
who continue their traditional grain/salt trade with Tibet. At the
Tibetan border we drive to Taklakot with time to visit the Bazaar,
then on to Lake Manasarovar. The Kailash kora, or circuit, begins
from the small settlement of Darchen where we mix with pilgrims
for the four day trek around the mountain. Many of these people
have walked days or even weeks to reach Kailas, stretching out their
length on hands and knees the entire way.
We have scheduled an extra day at Diraphuk for acclimatization
and to explore the magnificent north face and glacier of Kailash,
the Dolma La (5636m). A high pass festooned with prayer flags, it
is the spiritual and physical high point of the circuit, or kora,
which we cross before returning to Darchen. We then drive the spectacular
northern route across the Tibetan Plateau where we may see the black
tents of nomads (drokpas), wild horses and antelope. Mt. Kailas
is an important pilgrimage for Hindu, Buddhist, and the Bon-Po,
the ancient pre-Buddhist religion.
Finally we reach Lhasa for two
days guided sight-seeing of the fabled Potala Palace and Jokhang
Temple. We return to Kathmandu by a spectacular flight over the
Himalayas. This trek combining the remoteness of Humla, the spectacle
of Tibet and the religious intensity of Kailas and the Jokhang Temple,
is a powerful physical and emotional experience.
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