The mysterious Mount Kailash and the beautiful Lake Manasarovar are deeply spiritual locations that attract visitors from around the world. Whether for devotion or tourism, a Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is a way to see and experience the ancient cultures of the region. What is a Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, and how can you take part? Check out this ultimate guide for 2024 and find out what you need to know.
What is Kailash Manasarovar Yatra?
The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is a pilgrimage to the sacred Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar in remote southwestern Tibet. Mount Kailash with its unique pyramid-like shape is held sacred by followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and the Bon religion. The legends around the mountain hold it as the home of the gods and place where the heaven and Earth meet.
The sacred Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar
Lake Manasarovar, located near Mount Kailash, is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world. It is believed that going in the holy waters purifies people from sins, and brings spiritual merit.
The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is undertaken by pilgrims from Tibet, India and other parts of the world. It involves a trek around the mountain, and a visit to the lake. It is a journey of deep religious significance and is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform the act of spiritual devotion for many people.
Is Kailash Manasarovar Yatra Difficult? Yes but No Age Limit
The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is a physically demanding trek due to the altitude and the terrain. At the highest point of the trek, Dolma La Pass (5,630 meters), icy conditions persist all year, and trekkers have to navigate sometimes uneven paths with loose rocks along the way. Trekking in the high altitudes between 4,675 m in Darchen to 5,630 m at Dolma La Pass can be quickly tiring. Plus, with limited facilities along the route, trekkers have to carry everything they need with them.
Dolma La Pass of the Mount Kailash Kora Route
Despite the challenges, it is possible to safely complete the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra with a moderate fitness level, and there is no age limit to do it. Our oldest client to complete the trek around Mount Kailash was 82 years old. Before traveling to Tibet, it is recommended to have a physical checkup by your doctor to check your overall physical condition. Regular cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercise before you travel is also a good idea.
When is the Best Time for Kailash Manasarovar Yatra? April to October
April to June, and September to October are considered the best times to visit Mount Kailash. The clear skies and very low chances of rain make for high visibility of the awesome scenery. Daytime temperatures are comfortable and while the nights can be cold, it is easily possible to keep warm. July and August are also suitable, but rain during these months can sometimes limit visibility.
For a special cultural experience, a Kailash Manasarovar Yatra during Saga Dawa Festival is unmatched. Saga Dawa commemorates the life event of Buddha, and takes place during the fourth month of the Tibetan Calendar. It is the most auspicious time to visit Mount Kailash. The festival’s main event is the full moon day. This year, it falls on May 23rd, and it is a unique time to be at Mount Kailash to celebrate the festival together with other pilgrims.
Locals gather together to celebrate the Saga Dawa Festival at Mount Kailash.
What are the Highlights of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra? More than Spiritual Meaning
The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is known primarily for its spiritual significance. Pilgrims undertake the journey to show devotion to the sacred region, free themselves from sins, and move closer towards enlightenment. Besides the spiritual rewards, the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra has other highlights.
The Mount Kailash Kora is the route around the mountain. Completing the 52 km trek is both a physical accomplishment and an amazing natural experience. The Yatra also includes a visit to Lake Manasarovar, another beautiful natural wonder. Its clear blue waters near the shore change to an emerald green near the center, creating a striking vision on the desolate plateau.
Mount Kailash is surrounded by five monasteries that provide another highlight. The mystic temples are decorated with murals, thangkas, and other Tibetan cultural objects. Each monastery has its legends, rewarding visitors with stories of the history of the region.
What are the Routes for Kailash Manasarovar Yatra? 16-day Lhasa Kailash Pilgrimage Most Recommended
The routes for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra usually start in Lhasa. That gives travelers a chance to acclimate to the high altitude, immerse themselves in Tibetan daily life, and visit the UNESCO World Heritages Sites of Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple.
Fascinating sites like the ancient city of Gyantse and beautiful Yamdrok Lake lie on the route from Lhasa to Mount Kailash. The journey includes an overnight stay at Everest Base Camp to take in the sight of Mount Everest at sunset and sunrise.
The beautiful Yamdrok Lake lies on t he route from Lhasa to Mount Kailash.
Our most recommended tour is the 16 Days Mount Kailash Pilgrimage Small Group Tour during Saga Dawa Festival. The tour is specially designed to give the rare experience of a 4-day Kailash Kora during the most auspicious time to visit. The longer trek adds an extra day to approach the mountain, and attempt to touch its rugged surface.
Another special tour is our 17 Days Kailash Manasarovar Full Moon Tour & Guge Kingdom Exploration. This monthly tour is timed so that you will arrive at Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar on the full moon dates. It also includes exploring the ruins of the ancient Guge Kingdom. The Guge Kingdom vanished 400 years ago, but you can still see its ancient forts with unique carvings, statues and paintings.
Exploring the Guge Kingdom
How Much Does Kailash Manasarovar Yatra Cost? Not Cheap but Affordable
The cost of a Kailash Manasarovar Yatra varies depending on the tour length, options you choose and time of year. It is not a cheap trip, but is an affordable one.
On average, the tour costs between 130-150 USD per day. It is a long travel route that passes through a large part of Tibet. During peak or shoulder season, the price can be a little higher at around 180 USD per day. The hotels you choose for the stays in Lhasa and Shigatse have a significant impact on the overall price. Those cities have accommodation options that range from clean and comfortable 3-star hotels all the way up to luxury 5-star hotels.
The tour prices include all local transfers, accommodation and attraction fees, an expert tour guide, and the cost of all permits needed to visit Mount Kailash.
What Permits are Needed for Kailash Manasarovar Yatra? More than Tibet Travel Permit
The Tibet Travel Permit is needed for all visitors to Tibet, but additional permits are needed for the full Kailash Manasarovar Yatra. An Alien’s Travel permit is needed to visit Shigatse, Nyingchi, and the Mount Kailash Region. A Military Area Entry Permit and Foreign Affairs Permit are needed for visiting sensitive areas in Tibet, including the Mount Kailash region.
All international tourists to Tibet need a Tibet Travel Permit.
We will handle the processing of these permits for you, and the cost is included in the tour package. The Tibet Travel Permit is applied for before you arrive in Tibet, and your guide will apply for the other permits on your behalf, after your arrival in Lhasa.
What to Pack for Kailash Manasarovar Yatra? Avoid Too Heavy Luggage
It’s best to pack smart for the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra. You need to bring the essentials while avoiding bringing heavy luggage. For clothing, you need layers in order to adjust for the temperature changes during the day. Pack thermal underlayers, a down or fleece jacket, and rain/windproof outer shell. Good quality, waterproof hiking boots and hiking socks are also essential for the long trek.
Be ready for long periods outdoors with good sun protection. A wide brimmed hat, sunglasses, lip balm and sunscreen will protect you. A first aid with bandages, blister treatment, altitude sickness medicine, and painkillers is strongly advised.
The Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is an unforgettable and rewarding journey. With the right knowledge and preparation, almost anyone can undertake the epic journey through Tibet to the sacred lake and mountain. This year, unique opportunities are available to visit during the Saga Dawa festival for an enriched experience. Tours are already starting to fill up, so contact us right away for the journey of a lifetime.