Mt. Kailash & The 4 Great River Sources Trek. 2nd – 30th June 2019
” In the hundred ages of the gods I could not tell the glories of (the Himalaya)…..
there is no mountain like (the Himalaya) for in it are Kailas and Manasarovar.”
— Ramayana- An Hindu Epic
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Tough
Min 2 Pax
TIBET – A sacred land of myths and mysteries inhabited by the ever smiling people, has not only exerted a magnetic pull upon travelers for centuries but also spies, missionaries, scholars, geographers, mystics, soldiers and cranks, etc. Yet, only a few intrepid, serious and determined have been able to make it.
Tibet was opened to tourism in 1985. Before this, it avoided influence from the West and this country developed its unique culture and religion independently. Since Tibet was governed by the spiritual leaders, monasteries and religious institutions were the backbone of power so the importance and prestige were shown by the size and magnificent architecture of these buildings. Tibetan Buddhism contains many elements of their older religion,” Bon Po” which worshipped the sky, moon, sun, fire, soil and even evil spirits and this is why monasteries such as Tashilumpo in Shigatse contain thousands of unique statues, paintings (thangka), religious and historical books that to visit in detail would take weeks. The monasteries are crowded by pilgrims who often travel long distances to fulfill their vows and wishes and their emotions show that religion still holds a very important place in their daily lives.
- KAILASH (6741 m) is perhaps the most sacred of Holy Mountains in TIBET. Together with the two lakes of MANASAROVAR & RAKAS, the region is one of the few truly natural wonders of the world. Three of the orient’s greatest rivers; the BRAHMAPUTRA, the SUTLEJ, and the INDUS as well as the KARNALI, one of the biggest source of the GANGES all take their sources within a hundred kilometers of this ” SNOW-CAPPED JEWEL” which have attracted Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Bon-po’s from the four corners of Asia for centuries. MT. KAILASH – also known as TISE or KANG RIMPOCHE (Jewel of the snow), has since time immemorial been celebrated in many eastern cosmologies as MT MERU, the axis mundi (the center of the physical and metaphysical universe). For the Hindus, it represents the abode of Lord SHIVA and for the Buddhists, a terrestrial projection of the cosmic MANDALA of the FIVE DHYANI BUDDHAS & The Wheel of Life.
People believe that a single Kora or Parikrama washes away the sins of a lifetime and Buddhists believe that 108 circuits secure Nirvana in this life. On the trek, one may encounter Bon Pilgrims circling the route counter clockwise or the very devoted who continually prostrate themselves along the whole 32.5 miles loop. There is also the ‘inner Kora’ that passes two lakes to the south of Mt. Kailash. Tradition dictates that only those who have made 13 circumambulations of Kailash may follow this inner route. The mouth of the four great rivers are within 100 kms of the mountain – the Indus, the Brahamaputra, the Sutlej and the Karnali, a major tributary of the Ganges. The Mt. Kailash circuit is 32.5 miles of strenuous trails which crosses the Dolma La. This pass is the route’s highest point at 18,525 ft. At a large boulder is a collection of offerings where pilgrims traditionally deposit one item and take another.
Although the journey entails long rides by land cruisers over Tibet’s great western plateau through a region inhabited by few wild animals, holy lakes and the occasional nomad, this tour involving treks with yaks/horses in the remotest part around Mt. Kailash offers the most fascinating experience on the ROOF OF THE WORLD.
TIBET- extremely remote and isolated by the most formidable Himalayan ranges is a fascinating world of timeless splendor, unique tradition and breathtaking scenery.
Full name: Tibet Autonomous Region of China
Area: 1.2 m. sq. km
Population: 3 million
In Exile: 300,000
Capital city: Lhasa (Population 200,000)
People: Tibetan & Chinese
Language: Tibeto Burmese, Tibetan and Chinese
Religion: 90% Buddhist, 1% Muslim, 3% bon, 6% others
Government: Occupied by China in 1949/1950
Currency: Yuan (Y 6.13 = US$ 1.00 approximately)
Geography: Tibet has border with India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Burma
Climate: Spring (May to June) – Best weather condition, May to mid-September Winter – (October to April)
What to wear: Light weight clothing is recommended for May to June. Warm garments are required from September to April. An umbrella or a raincoat is a must for the summer season.
Voltage: Standard voltage, 220 volts.
- Arrival and departure transfers from Airport/Hotel/Airport pre and post Tibet Tour,
- 3 nights stay at Hotel Yak & Yeti (5 star) in Kathmandu on twin-sharing basis with breakfast
- Welcome Dinner at a typical Nepali restaurant for Nepali Cuisine
- Kathmandu / Sundarijal drive in a mini bus pre trek
- 6 nights / 7 days Helambhu & Gosaikund Lake trek inclusive of twin-sharing accommodations with breakfast + dinner at local lodges / Guest houses with common bathrooms. (Attached bathrooms are only available in Sing Gompa and Syabrubesi)
- Lunch will be provided at local lodges / guest houses on enroute stopovers.
- Langtang National Park entrance fees of USD 30.00 per person
- TIMS Card of USD 13.00 per person
- Shivapuri National Park entrance fees of USD 6..00 per person
- Visa fee and documentation for Tibet. US Nationals have to pay extra USD 85.00 in Cash in Kathmandu.
- 18 nights / 19 days tour of western and Central Tibet with
- 15 nights /16 days trek excursion to Mt Kailash and the 4 Great River Source inclusive of 2 nights stay at the Guest house in Saga, 1 night stay at the guest house/ Hotel in Darchen and 12 nights stay in Camps in 2-person “A” or Dome tents inclusive of breakfast + lunch + dinner prepared by the Trek team from Nepal comprising of a Cook + Kitchen helper + Sherpa for 6/7 persons & an additional Sherpa for 8/10 persons who will help to set up camp, prepare meals, gather water, pack and load and unload luggage on to trucks and Yaks
- 3 nights / 4 days Central Tibet tour with 1 night’s stay at a four-star hotel in Shigatse and 2 nights stay at the five-star Hotel Shangri-la in Lhasa with daily breakfast and on twin sharing basis (1 dinner will be at the Hotel Shangri-la and the other lunch and dinner will be in local restaurants).
- All drives in Landcruisers (6/7 pax – 2 Landcruisers & 8/10 Pax in 3 Landcruisers) from Raswagadi (Nepal / Tibet Broder) to Mt. Kailash to Lhasa with applicable overnight vehicle retention charges.
- 1 twin cab mini-truck from Raswagadi / Mt. Kailash / Raswagadi to transport trekking/camping gear + food supplies and Sherpa support staff.
- Tibet travel permit fee and a special permit to trek around for Mt. Kailash.
- Sightseeing tour of Tashilumpo Monastery in Shigatse and sightseeing tour of Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple + Bakhor Bazaar in Lhasa inclusive of entrance tickets and accompanied by a knowledgeable English speaking guide.
- Airfare for sector Lhasa / Kathmandu of USD 400.00 per person (subject to change)
- Services of a knowledgeable Tibetan Guide from Lhasa Agency to accompany the group throughout the trip.
- Services of Yaks and Yak men to transport luggage and camping gears during the trek around Mt. Kailash & side trip to Sengge Khabab (Source of Indus) (4 nights / 5 days).
- Services of Horses + support crew to transport luggage and camping gears during the trek to the Source of the Karnali (1 night / 2 days).
- Services of Horses / Yaks + support crew to transport luggage and camping gears during the trek to the Tamchok Khabab (Source of the Brahmaputra) (2 night / 3 days).
- Support of a High Altitude Portable Chamber (Gammow bag) to be used in case of emergencies.
- Oxygen canisters (Chinese make) in all vehicles.
- Comprehensive medical kit.
- Services of a knowledgeable and well experienced Trip leader from Sacred Summits (P) Ltd. to accompany the group inclusive of his Tibet Visa fees, Airfares (Lhasa/ Kathmandu) and daily allowance.
- Services of a Cook + 2 Support staff (for 6/7 persons) & Cook + 3 Support Staff (for 8/10 Persons) from Nepal including their Tibet Visa Fees and daily wages.
- Cost to hire a mini-bus for the transport of Sherpa crew and camping gear and food provision from Kathmandu / Raswagadi / Kathmandu pre- and post-Tibet Tour.
- Porter costs to transport trek equipment + food provisions across the friendship bridge from Nepal / Tibet and from Tibet / Nepal pre and post Tibet Tour.
- Farewell Dinner at the Rum Doodle Restaurant in Kathmandu
- Government Taxes and tolls and entrance fees where applicable
- Nepal entry and re-entry visa fees
- International airfares and airport tax on departure
- Meals at the Hotel in Kathmandu apart from breakfast
- Personal medication
- Personal and travel insurance to safeguard against delays and cancellation of flights / change of program etc.
- Evacuation charges (if applicable)
- Hire of Yaks/horses or porters during the Kora/Parikrama for personal use approx USD 50.00 per porter per day
- photography charge at the Monasteries during sightseeing tours (if applicable)
- Expenses of personal nature such as drinks, laundry etc.
- Tips to support staff including Sherpa support crew from Nepal, guide and drivers from Tibet, Hotel staff, Yak and yak-men, horse and horsemen etc.
- Sightseeing tours and excursions and visits to monasteries other than as stated above.
- Donation at Monasteries (if applicable)
- Costs incurred due to landslides, strikes, snowfall are other situations which are beyond the control of Sacred Summits (P) Ltd. and their associates.
- Some of the sites proposed to be visited in Tibet are not on the regular pilgrim/tourist route. Special permissions will be required. The route may vary based on permits received or weather conditions.
2nd June 2019
Upon arrival, meet and transfer to the hotel Yak & Yeti.
(NOTE: All participants will need to hand over Original Passports and 2 passport size photographs and required to fill up a form and sign them.
Rest of the day is FREE
EVE: Welcome Dinner and a Nepali Restaurant
Overnight at the Hotel Yak & Yeti.
3rd June 2019
KATHMANDU – TIBET VISA DAY AND TREK PREPARATION
NOTE: TIBET VISA APPLICATION WILL BE FILED AT CHINESE
EMBASSY IN KATHMANDU. IT TAKES 3 WORKING DAYS.
16:00 Hrs: Meeting at the Hotel Lobby for trek briefing.
17:00 Hrs: Visit Thamel for last minute shopping for trekking equipment.
Overnight at the Hotel Yak & Yeti
4th June 2019
KATHMANDU / SUNDARIJAL (1350m) / CHISOPANI (2141m)
07:30 Hrs – Drive Kathmandu / Sundarijal (1 Hour). The reservoir here supplies most of Kathmandu Valley’s drinking water. Upon arrival, disembark from the vehicles and immediately commence the trek with a steep incline on stone steps passing shops and huge pipelines as we steadily climb to arrive at the ridge. From here there is a small flat stretch providing respite from the initial hard climb. The route climbs further up to the crest of the ridge and then on to the army camp. The vegetation changes providing shade from thick foliage besides the main trail. There is more climbing to be done until we arrive at the deserted village of Buriong Bhanjyang. Walk along the ridge for another 20 minutes and then finally descend to Chisopani Danda, with magnificent views of the Northern Himalayas that demarcates the northern limits of the Kathmandu Valley.
Overnight Camp at Lodge in Chisopani.
5th June 2019
KUTUMSANG (2492 m./8101 ft.)
From Chisopani, descend for about an hour on the other side of the valley to Pati Bhanjyang to find oneself in the middle of a densely populated Tamang Village. Agriculture is the main source of income and we see many terraced fields with crops such as millet and lot of fruit trees giving the terraced Nepalese landscape an attractive appearance. The red brown Tamang houses with their shady verandas are typical of this region.
The higher we climb up the valley there are more noticeable changes in the settlements and human physiognomy. We now start to find a mixture of Tamang and Sherpa people living side by side. In good weather we get a splendid view of the mountains as we steadily climb past the Tamang village of Chipling (2170m) which is reached in about 2 hours. From here, we start to climb further on a rocky path until we arrive at the hamlet of Bettini at 2521 metres and then a 30 minute walk on the ridge trail brings us to another Tamang village Gul Bhanjyang (2141m). The trek to our campsite at the Sherpa settlement of Kutumsang (2492 m./8101 ft.) is another climb for another 1½ hours but it is a pleasant walk through forests. There is a National Park Office here and the National Park entrance tickets are checked/ purchased here.
6th June 2019
GHOPTE (3430 m./11700 ft.) VIA THAREPATI (3630 m./8500 ft.).
A longish day of trekking so early start is essential. From Kutumsang, there is no further permanent settlement until Melamchi Gaon. Since we head on to Gosaikund we bypass the village and head on to Thare Pati, the starting point for a tour of the Gosaikund Region, which consists of half derelict stables (goth) and several seasonal cabins for individual trekkers operated by Sherpa people providing basic accommodation and food. The going is quite tough as we climb sometimes quite steeply and sometimes along a scree covered slope till our arrival at the village Mane Goth with a few bhattis. From here it is an easy hour’s walk through rhododendron and oak forests to our campsite at Thare Pati.
The trail proceeds behind Tharepati initially at the same altitude past several streams that feed the Tadi Khola. We continue to climb a little till Ghopte, whose name is taken from the several overhanging (gopte) which provide shelter or campsite to trekkers. It is about 2 ½ hours of walking from Tharepati. Note: The distance and time taken from Tharepati to Gosaikund is long and can scarcely be reached in a single day. So it is necessary to reach Ghopte to make the crossing over the Laurebina pass (4609 m) a little shorter the next day.
Dinner and Overnight at the Lodge
7th June 2019
GOSAIKUND (4312 m)
Another early start. The trail up to the Laurebina Pass (4609m) is not difficult, however it rises in altitude by more than a 1000 meters making walking slow with some difficulty in breathing because of low oxygen. After crossing over the pass, there is a breathtaking view of a portion of the Gosaikund Lakes (i.e. Surja Kund, Saraswati Kund and Bhairav Kund) and the panorama of the Ganesh Himal and the Langtang Mountain range. The Gosaikund Lekh is a relatively easy way to pass between the upper Helambhu and the Langtang Valley. It is also a destination for those trekkers who want to experience the mountain world around the holy lakes of Gosaikund. The Laurebina Pass, at the height of 4,609 meters, is at somewhat modest altitude for the Himalaya and presents no technical difficulties.
Later head down to a few pilgrims huts that serve as tea houses and provide meals and accommodations to trekkers on the banks of the Gosaikund Lake. On the way there are many smaller lakes but the most significant one is the Surja Kund, as it is the largest as well as closest to the trail just below the Laurebina pass.
Dinner and Overnight at the Lodge.
8th June 2019
SING GOMPA (3350m)
AM: Free to explore the surroundings. There are some caves which the pilgrims use as shelters during festivals. A huge white rock, engraved with a stylized trident, emerges dramatically from the centre of the lake. According to legend, when Divine Shiva threw his trident (Trishul) here, the glacier melted giving birth to the Trishuli river.
Later, follow the ridge trail gently descending for an hour and then the path gently descends until passing the Bhairav Kund (4,150m). It is then followed by Saraswati Kund (4,000m) below the trail. After leaving the last lake, we set out on a ridge and then it is relatively easy walking till our arrival at the Sing Gompa Village.
Dinner and Overnight at the Lodge.
9th June 2019
SYABRUBESI (1300 M)
Leave the main trail to Dhunche and head on straight out of Sing Gompa walking through forested trails and passing small scattered villages. Arrive at Thulo Syabru, a small settlement with a cluster of houses built along the hillside. It is a good place to stop for lunch.
Descend steeply on stone steps through the village and then later through a narrow trail to the valley floor. From here it is a relatively easy and pleasant walking all the way to the settlement of Syabrubesi. Upon arrival, check into the Lodge. Meet the Sherpa team and camping gear and collect passports and Tibet Visa.
Dinner and Overnight at the Lodge.
10th June 2019
SYABRUBESI / RASWAGADI / KERUNG (2700m)/ SAGA (4500 m)
After early breakfast, meet waiting vehicles for the drive approx. 20 Km to Raswagadi – Nepal / Tibet border and complete Nepali Immigration formalities. Then cross the bridge for Chinese Immigration.
Here we will be met by our Guide from Tibet. After completion of border formalities, load up the gear + camping equipment on the waiting truck for the Trek Team and board the Land Cruiser and drive for another 24 kilometer to Kerung town.
Kerung, one of the frontier counties of Tibet Autonomous Region, lies in the southwest of Tibet and the southwest of Shigatse prefecture, which covers 9,126 km2 with a population of ten thousand. Kerung means happy village in Tibetan. Kerung Town is one of the important towns in Kerung County, with a sea level of 2,700 meters. Pagba Monastery, Chagar Monastery and Qiangzhen Monastery are the main monasteries of Kerung. Kerung Jiangcun Nature Reserve is the famous beauty spot. Up to 1960 one of the main trade routes between Nepal and Tibet passed through this region. Easily accessible from Nepal, it was used several times as an entrance gate for military actions from the site of Nepal against Tibet.
Upon arrival check in to the restaurant for lunch.
Note: While lunch is being prepared, our guide will obtain further permits for us to travel to the western part of Tibet.
After lunch, drive from Kerung through the beautiful Tibetan landscape to Saga (4500m) (Approx. 170 Km). Firstly, we enter a valley and the climb to a pass and then again descend into another valley one after another and each one more scenic than the next. Finally after about 3 ½ hours, we get a glimpse of the mighty Brahmaputra river or locally known as “Tsang Po” and drive along its banks for a while and take the bridge (newly constructed. In the earlier years, all passengers and vehicles had to be ferried across) to arrive at the hustle and bustle of the Saga town.
Upon arrival check in to the guest house. Rest of the day is free to relax or explore around the town.
Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel / Guest House.
11th June 2019
DRIVE SAGA - LAKE MANASAROVAR (425 KMS) – 4590 M
Drive to Lake Manasarovar (8-9 Hrs). This 450 kilometer journey is long but the landscape is interesting. The road passes through a few high mountain passes and sand dunes that is made from the shifting of the sands from the Gobi desert. The blue sky matches the beauty of the lakes. Groups of wild Ass “Kiyang” and antelopes, the Tibetan Wolf as well as hares and marmots are seen roaming in this vast open plains.
Upon arrive at Hor Qu, a bustling settlement on the eastern part of the Lake Manasarovar, we buy tickets and board the bus for the KORA around the Lake Manasarovar. There are many monasteries along the route but the 3 main monasteries are the Seralung Gompa, the Trugo Gompa and the Gossul Gompa.
Later, the vehicle will stop at the edge of the waters of Lake Manasarovar near Chiu “Bird” Monastery. Walk to the campsite along the lake.
Dinner and overnight at Camp at Lake Manasarovar
12th June 2019
FREE DAY AT LAKE MANASAROVAR – 4590 M
A day well spent by taking a holy dip in the sacred waters of Lake Manasarovar. Then visit the Chiu “Bird” Monastery and the hot springs for a bath.
(Hindus believe Lake Manasarovar was created by Brahma as a reflection of the depth of his soul-manas and represents the female energy of Yoni of the Universe, while Mt. Kailash symbolizes the male energy of the Lingam. At 15060 ft. Lake Manasarovar is considered one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world. Holy to Buddhists alike, it was once surrounded by 8 monasteries. Buddhist believes that Queen Maya, Buddha’s mother was carried here by the gods and some of Mahatma Gandhi’s ash was carried here from India and scattered in the Lake.
Dinner and Overnight Camp at Lake Manasarovar.
13th June 2019
DRIVE TO KHARDUNG & TREK TO MAPCHA KHABAB
After breakfast, drive 84 kms in about two hours to Khardung (4145 m). Here meet horsemen and hire horses for the support and trek to the source of the Karnali (Mapcha Khabab). 4-5 hours
Dinner and overnight at Camp
14th June 2019
MAPCHA KHABAB/KHARDUNG TREK & DRIVE TO DARCHEN (4575M)
Walk down to the Peacock’s mouth, which is a very large volume of water gushing out of the hillside. Surrounding it is a mass of vegetation with different hues of colours of red, brown, blue, green etc thus giving it the name of the Peacock. At 3800 m, this is lower than the elevation of the other 3 river sources, and has more vegetation despite being arid.
After breakfast, we pack up and hike back to Khardung making a few river crossings along the way.
Upon arrival at Khardung, bid farewell to the horses and horsemen, and board Landcruisers for the 2 hour drive to Darchen. Enroute there are fantastic views of the Gurla Mandata Mountain peak (7496 m) and Raksas Tal, with Mt. Kailash visible in the distance on the other side of the lake.
Upon arrival, check into the Hotel / Guest House
Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at the Hotel / Guest House.
15th June 2019
DARCHEN TO TARBOCHE DRIVE & TREK TO DHIRA PHUK (4820M)
Drive to the bus parking lot and later board the bus for the 1 ½ hour drive to Tarboche at 4730 M. It is a marker with a tall pole adorned with prayer flags. The flagpole is replaced every year during Saka Dawa (full moon) at the time of the birth of Buddha, which generally falls in May.
A bus station is set up here to transport tourists and pilgrims. Upon arrival, meet the waiting Yaks. After sorting out the loads, proceed on the circumambulation / Kora of Mt. Kailash.
The Kora or circumambulation of Mt. Kailash (6714 m /22,028 feet) is an important pilgrimage for multiple religions. To Hindus, Kailash is the abode of Shiva, Tibetans call it Kang Rimpoche; Jains worship it as Mt. Asthapada, the peak from which the religion’s founder, Rishabanatha achieved spiritual liberation. Followers of Bon-Po, the ancient pre – Buddhist shamanistic religion of Tibet revere Kailash as the soul of Tibet. The circumambulation is known as Parikrama by Hindus and Jains; and the Kora by Buddhists. Tibetans often make the 52 km circuit in a single day. Due to the road between Darchen and Tarboche, it is now possible for other pilgrims and tourists to do this journey in 3 days.
The normal pilgrim route stays on the east bank of the Lha Chu but for better views of Kailash and generally better campsites, cross the west bank trail across a scree slopes to arrive at a good camping ground at Damding Donkhang (4890 m) a grassy spot that offers good views of the West face of Mt. Kailash.
It is also known as the Valley of yaks as one can see hundreds of yaks grazing on the meadows. However we continue on further crossing the side streams Belung Chu and Dunglung Chu on rocks as the North face of Kailash comes in view.
On the opposite side of the Lha Chu you can see several groups of nomads tending herds of goats and yaks. Pass their tents carefully as most Tibetans keep ferocious Tibetan mastiff dogs. As one reaches the Gompa and the frugal guest house at Dhira Phuk, you are rewarded with a fine view of the north face of Mt. Kailash. The three lower hills in front of Mt. Kailash from this vantage point are Manjushree, Avalokitesvara and Vajrapani representing wisdom, kindness and power. The Dhira Phuk Gompa was rebuilt in 1985.
Dinner and Overnight camp at Dhira Phuk. Trek Duration 4 ½ – 5 Hours.
16th June 2019
TREK OVER THE DOLMA – LA (5600 M) TO SABJE DRATOK (4790M).
A long tough day. Start trek from Dhira Phuk and immediately cross the Lha Chu on a wooden bridge. If one continues to trek up the Lha Chu, they would eventually reach the true source of the Indus. The Kora route makes a serious climb on to a moraine eventually meeting the trail from the east bank. The trail now climbs more gently to a meadow full of fat marmots (phiya) at 5212 meters. This is a good campsite that will make the pass crossing easier than to have camped at Dhira Phuk but it is dangerous to Camp at higher altitudes because of acclimatization problems. The snow covered pass to the right, the Khado Sanglam is protected by a lion faced Dakini goddess. Pilgrims may cross this difficult pass only on their auspicious 13th circuit of the mountain.
Climb past piles of clothing at Shiva-tsal (5330m) where Tibetans leave an article of clothing or a drop of blood as part of leaving their past life behind them. Continue past thousands of small rock cairns to a large cairn at 5390 meters passing the Dikpa Karnak, sin testing stone. It is said that those without sin can squeeze through the narrow hole between the boulders while a sinner, no matter how small, cannot pass through. The trail now leads across a boulder field and climbs through large rocks to a tiny stream. Climb onto a ridge and continue gently on to the Dolma La at 5630 meters.
A big boulder on the pass representing the goddess Dolma (better known by her Sanskrit name Tara) is festooned with prayer flags and streamers. It is traditional to leave and take something as part of the collection of coins, prayer flags, teeth and other offerings attached to the rock. This is the physical and spiritual high point of the Kora. As one leaves the high pass Tibetans chant….
“Ki Ki So So La SoloThe
Ki Ki So So La Gyalo
The trail from the west side of the pass is steep and rocky at first and then begins a series of switchbacks as it passes Gauri Kund, the lake of mercy at 5450 meters. Many more switchbacks and steep descents leads to the valley and then further descend for about an hour to arrive alongside the Lham Chhukhir at 5150 meters, the evenings campsite on the bank of a river near Shabje Drakthok. Shabje Drakthok has foot prints on a huge rock which pilgrims believe belong to Lord Buddha.
Dinner and Overnight at the Camp.
17th June 2019
SABJE DRATOK TO MEADOW CAMP (5335M) BASE OF TOPCHEN LA
Trek from Shabje Drathok along the river. Even though the trail is better and less marshy on the other side, it is better to stay west of the river, which is actually the main route as it becomes too large below to cross back. Follow the river continuously as the trail makes an uninteresting descent of the valley. When crossing the stream of the Khado-sanglam, arrive at another Chaksal Gang, the third prostration point, which is the last view of the east face of Mt. Kailash during the circumambulation.
Close by here, we leave the main pilgrim trail to Darchen and set out on another part of our journey. Keep to the trail along left side and along the base of the hill. As we arrive at the crossing, turn left and set out for Topchen La.
Dinner and Overnight at Meadow Camp (5335m) below Tocphen La.
18th June 2019
CROSS TOPCHEN LA (5685 M) AND TREK TOWARDS SOURCE OF INDUS
At 5685 m, The Topchen La is a large and powerful pass. It should take us a steady 3 – 3 ½ hours of climbing to get to the pass from our camp site.
From here descend to valley floor and head towards Rakma Gyam Valley to make camp near a riverside meadow.
Dinner and Overnight Camp at a riverside meadow.
19th June 2019
ARRIVE AT SENGGE KHABAB (SOURCE OF INDUS
It is a hard but pleasant morning’s walk to the source of the Indus. Continue heading east and then drop down from the river embankment to meet the mighty Indus (but much less in volume) at 5030 m. During this stretch, the Indus valley is broad around here. There are river crossings and shoes need to be taken off. Later head out to the source of the Indus marked by an array of chortens / stupas and prayer flags.
Dinner and Overnight at Camp
20th June 2019
DRIVE SENGGE KHABAB TO CHUMIK THANGDROL (LANGCHEN KHABAB – SOURCE OF SUTLEJ)
Offer prayers in the morning at the source on the Indus. This is a time for reflection.
11:00 hrs, Board the waiting vehicles for a 3 hour drive to Hor Qu, a settlement located at the eastern border of Lake Manasarovar. Its is a flourishing town with lodges/ guesthouses, restaurants and pool tables catering to pilgrims and local business travellers. Here, we confirm Yak / Horse support for our trek to the source of the Brahmaputra and visit one of the local tea shops for some local tea / cold drinks. Then set out on a bumpy and dusty dirt track for about 1 ½ hours to reach Chumik Thongdrol, to set up our camp near the source of the Elephant (Sutlej) river (Langchen Khabab).
Dinner and overnight at Camp.
21st June 2019
TREK TO TSAKA – 8 Hours
Our trek from Chumik Thongdrol to Tsaka is equipped with more adventures. Cross a small pass on the way. However, it is a long days walk to Tsaka to make camp by the side of a lake.
Dinner and Overnight at Camp.
22nd June 2019
TREK TO RAPGYEL
The trek from Tsaka to Rabgyel is a bit shorter that the day before but it does take about 7 hours or so.
Dinner and Overnight at Camp
23rd June 2019
TREK TO TSOBDRAK (4 Hours)
A leisurely wake up. Our destination for today is Tsobdrak. Since it is a much shorter day, about 4 hours of trekking, we can move at a leisurely pace taking the time to enjoy the sights and sounds. Tsobdrak is a prime location for the nomads in high summer and one can bear witness to one of the most isolated Tibetan nomadic lives.
Dinner and Overnight at Camp
24th June 2019
DAY EXCURSION TO TAMCHOK KHABAB (SOURCE OF BRAHMAPUTRA) – 4 hours round trip
The trek to the source of Brahmaputra and return to camp the same day takes about 4 hours. A few hours can easily be spent looking around the source of the mighty Brahmaputra. There are no camping sites near the source and the only convenient camping location is at Tsobdrak. The Brahmaputra source or Tamchok Khabab as Tibetans call it means the Horse’s Mouth. This source is by far the most dramatic. At the head of the valley, above the great ice floes, are two pointed peaks, resembling a horse’s ears that guard either side of the Chema Yungdrung Glacier. Tamchok means Horse’s ears.
NOTE 1: Unlike the other 3 river sources, Tamchok Khabab does not have an obvious spring with water issuing forth. The source of the springs are usually dry and only flow ocassionally during the rainy season.
NOTE 2: With the river and valley named after the “Left Handed” Bon Po Swastika (Yundrung) and the temple called Bonpo Ne’, it is obvious that yet another ancient Bonpo site in the Kailash region has been acquired by the Buddhists. Later trek back to Tsobdrak.
Dinner and Overnight at Camp.
25th June 2019
DRIVE TO MAYUM LA – SAGA VIA DZONGBA
After breakfast, pack up our camping gear and then board the waiting
jeeps for the 8/9 hour return drive to Saga.
Initially we set out on a graveled bumpy road for about 3 hours over the Thun La to arrive at Mayum La at 5151 m. Here, meet up with the main highway and then turn eastwards towards Lhasa and drive for another 5-6 hours on a metaled highway all the way to Saga.
Dinner and overnight at Lodge.
26th June 2019
DRIVE TO SHIGATSE (415 KMS)
After breakfast, bid farewell to the trek crew who will head back to Kerung.
Board waiting jeeps for the 7/8 hour drive to Shigatse.
Shigatse – the 2nd largest city in Tibet is “A Granary of Tibet” and is the famous cultural city with a history of more than 500 years, 3,800m above sea level. It has been a place in which Panchen lamas of various historical stages were authenticated. Time permitting, explore the local flea market for souvenirs. Upon arrival, check into the Hotel.
Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel.
27th June 2019
SHIGATSE SIGHTSEEING & DRIVE TO LHASA VIA YAMDROK
Early morning breakfast and visit the Tashilumpo Monastery.
The Tashilumpo Monastery was founded in 1447 by Gendun Drup, the first Dalai Lama and is the seat of the Panchen Lama who is second to the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhist Hierarchy. The 5th Dalai Lama declared that his teacher, then the Abbot of Tashilhumpo, was a manifestation of the Buddha Amitabha and the Panchen Rinpochhe. Tashilhumpo has one of the world’s largest statues – a 9 storey gilded bronze statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha.
Later drive 260 kilometers to Lhasa via Lake Yamdrok. Set out from Shigatse for Gyantse (90 kms) and then continue on to Nagartse (100 kms from Gyantse ) near Lake Yamdrok passing the Simi La (4200 m) and driving on a trail with fantastic views of the turquoise blue waters. This man made lake was caused by the dam for a hydro project. Later we ascend and cross the Karo La at 5010 m and then descend to Nagartse, a small village near the Yamdrok lake for lunch.
Then travel along the picturesque trail of the colorful Lake Yamdrok, the Tibetan lifeline of the river Brahma Putra (Yarlung Tsangpo).
Yamdrok Tso or Turquoise Lake is a lake of a glaring blue that radiates a near mystical charm. It is about 240kms in circumference and is more like an Island sea. There are Yak herders around and the lake itself supports a population of scale less fish in its non-saline waters.
Later, ascend to Kamba La (4,794m) and have an opportunity to meet the yak herders with their finely decorated yaks and Tibetan mastiffs. A great photo opportunity and one can take pictures on a yak or with a bunch of decorated Tibetan mastiffs for a nominal fee.
From here we descend to the main road head before embarking on the finale – a grand entrance to Lhasa City. Upon arrival, check into the Shangri-la Hotel.
Buffet Dinner and Overnight at the Hotel Shangri-la
28th June 2019
SIGHTSEEING TOUR IN LHASA
AM: After breakfast meet the guide and proceed for the sightseeing tour of the Jokhang Temple, the most sacred and important temple in Tibet of the Gelugpa School of Buddhism. They accept worshipers from all sects of Buddhism. The temple’s architectural style is a mixture of Indian Vihara, Tibetan and Nepalese style.
The Jokhang monastery was founded during the reign of King Songtsen Gampo. According to tradition, the temple was built for the king’s two brides: Princess Wen Cheng of the Chinese Tang dynasty and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal. Both are said to have brought important Buddhist statues and images from China and Nepal to Tibet, which were housed here, as part of their dowries.
After the sightseeing tour, make a Kora around the famous Bakhor Bazaar, the heart of Lhasa.
PM: In the afternoon tour of Potala Palace, which was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama who fled to India during the Chinese invasion in 1959. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site.
The palace is named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara. The 5th Dalai Lama started its construction in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel (died 1646), pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. After the tour return to hotel and rest of the day is free.
EVE: Farewell Dinner at a Local restaurant.
Overnight at the Hotel Shangri-la
29th June 2019
LHASA – KATHMANDU
Early morning transfer to airport (1 ½ hours drive) and fly to Kathmandu.
Upon arrival. Met by representatives and check into the Hotel.
The rest of the day is FREE
Farewell Dinner at the Rumdoodle restaurant
Overnight at the Hotel Yak & Yeti.
30th June 2019
Day free until departure transfer to airport for onward flight
AFTER ARRIVAL IN KATHMANDU
- TREK BRIEFING:
On your arrival in Kathmandu, we will arrange to meet for a pre-trek briefing. Full information on all aspects of your trek, questions and doubts will be discussed. On trek your Sherpa leader (sirdar) will give you more details about the route, villages, people and other information regarding the trek.
Please bear in mind the domestic airline baggage weight restrictions when packing. In this matter we request you to try and limit your baggage to around 15 kgs. (about 35 lbs.). You may leave behind part of your luggage in your hotel or our locker room before the trek, in Kathmandu. All baggage are to be clearly marked and locked. Kindly refrain from carrying or wearing valuables on the trek. You may leave them behind at the safety deposit box at your hotel or with us.
- HOW TO PACK:
Your clothes and equipment should fall into the following 4 categories:
- What you are going to leave behind in Kathmandu.
- What you are going to wear on the trail.
- What you are going to carry in your day pack.
- What you would like the porters to carry for you.
Excess clothes and luggage can be stored in your hotel’s storeroom, and valuables in the safety deposit box. Please label your luggage and make sure to take a receipt from the front desk of your hotel for all the things you would like to leave behind while you are away.
- FOOD AND DRINKS:
On the trek the food will consist of the food available at the lodges. Menu will be available at the lodges and the guest will have a choice of the food they like. The water provided is pressure boiled. Water bottles may be filled at night so that you have cool water to drink the following day. Mineral water in bottles can be bought on many trek routes at an additional cost.
- YOUR STAFF ON THE TRIP:
Will consist of one English speaking Sirdar or Escort who will be wholly responsible for the execution of the trip once it hits the trail. Sherpa(s) and reliable porter(s) will assist him and the numbers vary according to the size of the group.
- WE WILL PROVIDE:
For persons who purchase the whole vacation package from us, we will also provide pick-up and drop at Kathmandu Airport, domestic surface / air transport, welcome drink and hotel in Kathmandu with American breakfast. The price of the trip does not include the hire of sleeping bags and down parkas, personal expenses like laundry and bar bills, tips and gratuities (Tips to staff).
- A TYPICAL DAY:
A normal day on trek would start at about 6:00 am with a wake up call and a cup of steaming tea or coffee served in your room, followed by a bowl of hot water for washing – also delivered outside your room. Breakfast will have to be ordered before one goes to bed and the breakfast will be served at the dining room (common) and we advise guests to pack their bags and leave it outside their room so that the Sherpa boys can load them on the porters baskets.
The morning part of the trip would begin after breakfast and last about three to four hours when a stop for lunch would be made. The afternoon part of the trip will be another two to three hours to camp Relax through the evening until dinner time. After dinner you have the choice of sharing yarns with your colleagues or fellow trekkers.
- SANITATION AND PERSONAL HYGIENE:
A latrine, which is usually outside the lodge, is the most common type of toilet all through out the trek. The toilets are very basic and no flush or running water is available in the toilets. The streams and rivers, and at times hot springs along the trail helps. However, there are a few tea – house / lodges that currently have attached bathrooms. Arrangements will be made to include tea – houses with attached baths where possible / available.
- DAILY WEAR:
Your Sherpa or guide/escort can help you plan your daily wear before each day’s walk. Please carry an extra shirt or a T-shirt and a light jacket in your backpack. The mountain air is cold, so you can keep dry and warm after sweats and chills.
- WHAT TO CARRY DURING THE TREK:
Your daypack, preferably waterproof should be light, small and comfortable. All small personal items like toilet paper, water bottle, medicines, extra shirt, light warm wears, rain gear, gloves etc., that may be needed for the days trek should be packed. Your duffel will be carried by porters who may not be with you at all times.
- GENERAL MATTERS:
Your personal belongings will be looked after by our staff so please help them by not leaving them unattended in villages and other public places. The common dinning room has a fire place which is usually lit at round 5:00 pm.
We do not want to add to the large scale deforestation problem in the country. You will find the Nepalese people friendly, charming, inquisitive and quite ignorant about the west. We request you to maintain and follow the local customs.
Handouts by trekkers has led to increase begging especially among village children, affecting their independent-spirited nature. As dental hygiene is a big problem no chocolate and sweets for the children, please. The Sherpa or leader/Escort can advise you if you are keen to help locally.
- MONEY ON TREK:
You may want to buy drinks at wayside shops and souvenirs from the natives. Small change should be carried. As customary, we can help discuss in detail in the pre-trek briefing.
WHAT TO WEAR:
Light clothing are only for short treks up to seven days at altitudes up to 6000ft (1830m) during fall (autumn) from September to November and in spring between March to May. The other months at all altitudes will be cold and at most times the temperatures will be below zero.
You will need hiking boots with ankle support, sneakers for flat trails and flip-flops or chappals for use around the camp / guest house.
Shirts, T-shirts (4), blouse, etc., for day wear and a woolen shirt for evenings.
MEN: Shorts, cotton trousers, jeans, sweat-pant (recommended) etc.
LADIES: Shorts (not too short), long skirts are acceptable in well trekked areas,
jeans or trousers if preferred. Sweat pants are recommended.
Undergarments & Socks:
Thermal underwear and inner trouser for the above 7,000 ft. treks. Thick trek socks.
A light sweater, a windcheater or light lined/padded jacket and down jacket or parka for above 7000 ft. treks. Woolen thick cap and warm gloves.
Sun / Rain:
Rain gear or umbrella and a sun hat is essential. Global warming has led to freak weather conditions and it has become more and more difficult to predict weather conditions.
Note: Umbrellas are cheap and easily available in Kathmandu.
HOW TO PACK
In The Day Pack: In The Duffel Bag:
Sun glasses Towels
Moisturizing/Sun screen lotion Flash light
Prescribed medicines Spare batteries
Camera and spare film Toiletries
Binoculars-optional Washing soap
Reading Reference book/Note book Spare clothes all wrapped in plastic bags
For most treks from mid-November till mid-February and for those above 10,000 ft./3000m., in Spring and Autumn, anti-dazzle glasses or goggles with side attachments are recommended and High altitude food supplements (favorite snacks) if necessary.
Although Sacred Summits (P) Ltd. provides sleeping bags on request for a nominal fee, it is best to bring your own if you wish. You may have your sleeping bags checked during the pre-trek briefing to make sure that it is the right one for the trek you will be going on.
In the event of an accident or serious ailment on a trek, helicopter evacuation can be arranged. The helicopter fare with 10% service charge and the hospital/medical charge will have to be cleared before departing from Kathmandu. A risk, release and guarantee form has to be signed before leaving on a trek with us. It is advisable to leave behind approximately US$ 1000.00 for an emergency back up measure.
We strongly recommend you to take a comprehensive holiday insurance in your own country covering adventures involving some elements of risk. However there is now, a few insurance companies providing insurance to foreigners travelers visiting Nepal.
Trekking in the Nepal Himalayas by Stan Armington published by the Lonely Planets books provides you a comprehensive information on all matters regarding trekking in Nepal
The Trekking Peaks of Nepal by Bill O’Connor published by Crow Wood press in U.K. provides you with information on all matters regarding climbing peaks in Nepal.
Trekking in Nepal by Toru Nakano published by Allied Publishers gives you some insight into some important trekking areas in Nepal. A map of Nepal is enclosed in the book.