Mt. Kailash (Gang Rinpoche / Kang Rinpoche) Travel Guide, Ngari, Tibet
Located in Purang County of Ngari Region, Mt. Kailash is the highest peak of Gangdise Mountain, with an altitude of 6,638m.
Mt. Kailash, "Gang Rinpoche or Kang Rinpoche" in Tibetan, has been deemed a holy mountain for over 3000 years. Mt. Kailash is the place where the religion of Bon is originated. To Hindus, Mt. Kailash is worshipped as the home of Shiva, the god with highest supernatural power and the highest rank among the 3 gods of Hinduism. Pilgrims from India, Nepal and Bhutan as well as those from around Tibetan areas come here to pay homage to the mountain every year, making Mt. Kailash one of the most important religious mountains in Tibet.
On the south face of Mt. Kailash, there is a vertical cleft and a horizontal rock shelf that forms a Buddhist swastika symbol, which is holy to both the Buddhist and Bon religions.
Many Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims circumambulate Mt. Kailash as one of the holiest acts of their religion. This strenuous and difficult hike (known as a kora) takes around 3 days. There are two monasteries, the Drirapuk and the Zutrulpuk, along the path.
The four great rivers, named after the four supernatural animals in paradise - the horse, lion, elephant and peacock, orginated from Mt. Kailash and flow to four directions. The Indus runs towards the north conferred the courage of a lion. The Ganges flows toward the south and grants the beauty of a peacock. The Brahmaputra flows towards the east and grants the speed of a horse.The Sutlej runs to the west and confers the strength of an elephant.
Best time to visit
Any time is ok for the Mt. Kailash kora. However, April 15 is the day when Buddha Sakyamuni was born, the day he became the Buddha, and also the day when he passed away and reached the state of nirvana.
On that day, a ceremony of replacing the Mani flag is held at the entrance of the Sacred Mountain. The Tibetan Buddhists believe that the circumambulation on this day will accumulate more virtues for them.
If you don't charter a vehicle from Lhasa, the best way to get to Mt. Kailash is to hitchhike all the way to Darchen(Ta'erqin). Sometimes it is only possible to cover one part of the distance, and then you have to hitchhike another vehicle to continue with your trip. Vehicle from the north are mainly trucks running to/from Shiquanhe Town.
It is 330km from Shiquanhe to the Sacred Mountain, it takes 1.5 days to reach the mountain at Darchen. If the trucks don't reach Darchen, you can get off at the Bage check point, 7KM south of Darchen and walk to arrive.
Dacheng is the last stop to stock up on supplies and you can hire a few porters and yaks before trekking to the holy mountain.
The Gangdise Hotel - Y25~60. Backpackers can set up their own tents in the yard of the hotel if they get the permission from the hotel.Y15-20/head. It costs Y10/day to deposit the baggage at the hotel.
The Holy Mountain Guesthouse: Y25~100
Dajin Hotel: Y60. Electricity is generated by their own machine at night.
Neither Gangdise Hotel nor Darchen Hotel has dining hall, and they do not offer food service.
The tent restaurants around the hotels also offer accommodation. Y20/bed. It's advisable to have tea and dinner at the same restaurant as it may be cheaper. You can also buy some vegetables and other raw food at the restaurant, borrow furnaces and cook food by yourself.
There are some Chinese restaurants around, offering pricy food.