Kailash Kora: A complete Mt. Kailash trekking guide

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Mt. Kailash Kora is a must when you do Kailash pilgrimage tour or Kailash adventure tour. Mt. Kailash Kora is a Tibetan word which directly means circumambulate or go around a monastery, temple or a sacred mountain or holy lake.

MountKailash is considered as Mt. Meru, which is believed to be the earthly representation of the navel of the world, is situated in the Himalayan region of Tibet. The mountain is described as towering over its environment and being symmetrical in it’s regular shape, like a crystal.

Although we know that the altitude of the summit of Mount Kailash is not the highest on earth. The altitude of Mt Kailash is 6740m ( 221078ft), nothing special in a geographical region with the highest mountain range on earth, the Himalaya. Together with its northwest extension, the Karakorum, it includes all 14 peaks of the earth above 8000m ( 26247ft ).

There are also many mountains more than 7000m ( 22966ft ) in altitude, even in close vicinity of each other . Mt. Kailash is situated a little north of the likewise holy lake Mansarovar and directly south of this lake rises Mt Gurla Madhata ( Tibetan Nemo Nanyin ) to an altitude of 7694m ( 25243ft ) which is the third highest mountain of Tibet after Mt. Shishapangma 8027m ( 26396ft) and Mt Namchak Barwa, 7756m ( 25446ft ).

Not only is Gurla Mandhata 1158m ( 3798ft ) higher than Mt. Kailash, it is also extraordinary shape, standing way above all the mountains in it’s vicinity. However, Mt. Kailash is still believed to be the holiest of mountains and become very popular as it is believed to contact and actually bear the heavens, which sit on top of it. This is a real hub of the earth, which connects the earth to the universe. Besides, it has lots of religious stories and myths that attract the travelers and pilgrims to come to Kailash and do Mount Kailash Kora.

The exact position of Mount Kailash is situated in the far west of the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, PRC. This position is about 100Km ( 63mi ) north of the northwestern edge of the border between Nepal and India and the PRC. Actually, the linear distance to the Tibetan capital Lhasa is 1280Km ( 800mi ), where’s to the Indian Capital New Delhi it is only 980Km ( 612mi ), and to the Nepalese capital Kathmandu is not more than 540Km ( 337mi ).

As a holy Mountain, Mt. Kailash is an object of religious adoration for the main religions of the old Indian and Tibetan cultural region, the Buddhist, Hindus, Bonpo ( the original religion of Tibet prior to Tibetan Buddhism ) and Jains. The largest numbers of followers of to those religions are those for Hinduism, three times more than for Buddhism, altogether around 1.38 billon people so Mt. Kailash is a very important holy site for those religious followers and it is a must for them to do a Mt. Kailash Kora during their Kailash Pilgrimage tour.

For Hindus Mt. Kailash, Kailash Parbat, represents Mount Meru, which by legend is the upholding pillar of the world’s 84000 miles high, where Lord Shiva resides with his consort Parvati. The word ‘’ Kailash “presumably comes from the ancient Indian language Sanskrit and was adopted by the British colonial power. Very likely, in the western world, we owe our knowledge of Mt. Kailash as a holy mountain to this fact. Other holy mountains and other holy sites in Tibet are much less known in the western world. For Hindus, if you have financial basis, Mt. Kailash is the holiest sites that they have to visit once in a life time and Hindus believe trekking around Mount Kailash is another big blessing for their lives. 

Adherents of the pre-Buddhist Bon-religion, the Bonpo, in Tibet were probably the first who lived in this remote landscape and really experienced the holy mountain, which they called Yungdrung Gutseg. Also the name Gang Tise is widely used; however it describes not only the holy mountain but this part of the trans Himalayan chain. For the Bonpo ,the holy mountain is dwells and their founder Tonpa Shenrap descended from the heavens. Among those religions, Bonpo do Mt. Kailash Kora anti-clockwise direction while the other religions are doing Mt. Kailash Kora clockwise direction.

Very interestingly, in the Jain religion, the mountain is called “ Ashtapada”, where Rishabha, their Adinath ( First Lord ), the first of their twenty –four Tirthankaras ( Enlightened Beings ) achieved enlightenment and entered Nirvana, the state of release from all suffering.

Ashtapada is the eightfold path which symbolizes the eight steps on the path to enlightenment. Using the above coordinates with google earth, the satellite view of the mountain it’s northern and southern outliers looks as if the holy mountain has eight legs, very emblematic.

This aspect is something which also occurs in Buddhist mythology. There are mazing iconographic details present in the landscape of the holy mountain. Tibetan Buddhists call the mountain Gang Rinpoche, the Venerable Snow Mountain, which is also apostrophized as the Precious Snow Jewel. For Buddhists, Mt Kailash is the residence of Chakrasamvara ( Demchok in Tibetan ), meaning the circle of bliss which the cycle of rebirths is overcome, in union with his consort Vajravarahi ( Dorje Phagmo in Tibetan ), which is translated as diamond sow. Although this may seem a strange description of a goddess for Westerners, it is not for Buddhists, who regard Her as one of the highest deities on the Highest Yoga Tantra.

The Sikhs, adherents of another Indian religion, call the holy mountain Sumer Parbat, a name which refers to the old Indian scriptures. Although their first Guru Nanak Dev Ji visited Mt. Kailash during the third of his five holy journeys in 1514 to 1518, the holy mountain appears to be of less importance for them.   

Is it important to do Mt. Kailash Kora during Kailash tour?

No matter whether you are tourists or the followers of those above religions, Kailash Kora is a must to do during the Kailash tour. All the followers of those above religions try their best to do Mt. Kailash Kora no matter whether the trail is very difficult or very high for them to walk but at the same time it is important to check your health condition when you are in Dharchen which is located to the foot of Mt Kailash and it is the place where you have to stay overnight to prepare for the Mt. Kailash Kora. If you have high blood pressure, serious heart problem or severe high altitude problem, you are not recommended to do Mt. Kailash Kora. Even if you are with a group, consult your local Tibetan tour guide and you would be better to wait your group members in Dharchen while they are trekking around Kailash.

What do we need to prepare before doing Mt. Kailash Kora?

Once you are in Dharchen, you need to tell your Tibetan guide to help you order packed Yak or Yak men for carrying the luggage during Kailash Kora because there is no Jeep able road and vehicles are not allowed to drive around Kailash so it is better to hire animals to carry the luggage and food. You can take the necessary food and clothes with you and the things that are not very necessary can leave with the drivers in Dharchen.

Eventhough you are healthy, it is always better to bring some high altitude medicine or oxygen just incase you have difficulty with high altitude during the trek around Kailash. If your Tibetan travel agent is a professional tour company like Tibet Shambhala Adventure, no need to worry about medicine as Tibet Shambhala Adventure brings high altitude medicine, oxygen and Gamo bags with our Tibetan guide so you are secured to do trekking around Kailash.

How Many days do we need to complete a Mt. Kailash Kora?

In general, the tourists complete a Kailash Kora within two and half days while the Tibetans complete the Kailash Kora within a day. For tourists or the pilgrims from foreign countries including Indians, they need two and half days to complete Mt. Kailash Kora. They start the Kailash trek from Tarpoche ( Sershong in Tibetan ) and trek to Dhiraphuk monastery for the first night. From Dhiraphuk, you will get a great view of the north face of Mt Kailash. The second day of trekking around Kailash is from Dhiraphuk to Zutrulphuk monastery by crossing Drolma la pass and the third day of Kailash Kora is from Zutrulphuk to Dharchen.

How many hours do we need to walk each day of Mt. Kailash Kora and what you can see while trekking around Kailash?

Day 1 of Mt. Kailash Kora: Tarpoche to Dhiraphuk, 5050m( 16568ft )/ 4Km drive/18Km/6-7hrs walk.

The total distance of Kailash Kora is 52km and the first day from Dharchen to Dhiraphuk is around 22Km distance and second day from Dhiraphuk to Zutrulphuk is around 17Km and the third day from Zutrulphuk to Dharchen is around 13km.

The first day of Kailash Kora can be started from Dharchen by walk or drive to Tarpoche which is around 4Km.

Most of the tourists take the Kailash scenic spot bus to Tarpoche and start the Kora from there. If you start the Kailash Kora from Tarpoche, in general, it takes around 6-7hrs but it also depends on how healthy and how fast you can walk in the high altitude so some people might walk faster than the mentioned time and some people might walk even slower than the mentioned time.

Tarpoche is the place where there is a giant prayer flag pole and it is the first prostration point to Mt. Kailash. There are many beautiful and colorful prayer flags surrounding Tarpoche. They are rectangular pieces of fabric ranging from the size of a postcard to a very large size and usually in series of the five colors blue, white, red, green and yellow for the five elements sky/space, air, fire, water and earth respectively.

In Tibet, they are called “ Lungta” ( wind horse ), with a horse or other sacred symbol and prayers printed on them, to be blown by the wind all over the world.

Every year, during Saga Dawa festival, thousands of pilgrims and tourists gather at Tarpoche and there is also a very important religious ceremony, held by the local monks around Mt. Kailash region. The prayer flag of the Giant prayer flags are replaced by new ones and offered lots of prayer flags and raised in the hills by the local pilgrims and tourists as well.

During the Mt. Kailash Kora, after walking from Tarpoche, you can see Choku Gompa on the left side of the valley, located on the hill at 4875m( 15994ft ), the first of the five monasteries ( Gompas in Tibetan ) on the Kailash Kora. It is a climb of more than 100m ( 328ft ) to get here but the magnificent view of Mt Kailash compensates one for the effort to climb here. There are two most sacred and important objects inside the monastery, a white conch shell and a big teapot Naropa. Naropa was one of the most famous Pandits in India, more than thousand years back.

Above the monastery, climbing up the steep rugged rocks of Mt. Nyan-ri, there are two famous caves to be found, one in which Mila Repa used to meditate. Mila Repa was a very famous Tibetan Yogi in the 11th century who achieved the enlightenment once in his life time and he is also one of the founders of Kagyupa sect in Tibetan Buddhism as well as the founder of Sekar Gutok in Lhodark county near the border between Bhutan and Tibet. Another cave is called Langchen Bephuk, the Elephant Cave, is said that Padamasambhava or ( Guru Rinpoche in Tibetan ) use to meditate in the cave and is said to have buried sacred texts to be rediscovered after centuries.

In the slopes on the other side of the valley, above some old decaying Chortens, there is another cave where the Bon Shaman Naro Bonchung resided when Mila Repa arrived and claimed the Mt Kailash area as a Buddhist pilgrimage site. While continuing Mt. Kailash Kora along close to the sheer cliffs of the Kailash massif, the mountains on the other west site of the valley are called Palaces of Tara, Amitayus and Vijaya and the last one to the north is named after King Gesar of Ling.

There is a long thin waterfall from the vertical cliffs, called the tail of King Gesar’s horse, which can be fanned out by the wind really looking like a horse’s tail. Gesar. Gesar is a legendary Tibetan king, whose heroic deeds are told in a great central –Asian Epos. The cliffs on the east, the Kailash side of the valley appear even more inaccessible with vertical faces of up to 1000m ( 3281ft ) height. One is called Gompo Beng, after the demon, who was converted and became a Dharma protector. The next object that you can see is Guru Rinpoche’s Torma which stands like a guardian at the entrance of a narrow valley cut into the cliffs. Torma is a Tibetan word which is a ritual offering made from flour and butter, usually in conical shape like a sugar cone.

This is the western gate of Mt Kailash , the sheer summit of which is seen above the cliffs. The western face of the mountain is believed to be of ruby. Close by is the second Chaktsal Gang, the second prostration point to Mt.kailash during Kora, indicated by a cairn and prayer flags, where the pilgrims perform prostrations towards the holy mountain. After only a short distance, when the edge of Mt Kailash’s northern face comes into sight, there are some tents where Tibetans sell tea and cookies. This place, about 6Km ( 3.7 mi ) from the Chuku bridge , is called Tamdrin Donkhang at 4882m (16017 ft), the guest house of the protector deity Tamdrin ( Hayagriva in Sanskrit ), a wrathful form of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Here also is one of the Buddha’s footprint, when he nailed down Mt. Kailash as a protection against being carried away by Gompo Beng, a marked impression in the side of a rock decorated with prayer flags.

After Tamdrin tea house, the Kora path turns in a large curve from a northern to an eastern direction. There is a bridge to the other site of the Lha chu and a path, even a track for a jeep, leading to the Dhiraphuk monastery ( Gompa in Tibetan ) at the altitude of 5050m ( 16568ft ), which was built around a cave with an indentation of a Yak horn. From this Gompa, the view of the north face of Mt Kailash, believed to be made of emerald, is outstanding. There are several guest houses for Indian pilgrims, close to the Gompa, reached at the entrance of the Gangjam Chu valley with a direct view to the spectacular north face of Mt. Kailash. The best and cleanest guest house is on the other side of the Drolma Lha chu valley which is the opposite of Dhiraphuk Gompa. Dhiraphuk Gompa is the second monastery ( Gompas ) on the Kailash Kora and the third prostration point to Mt. Kailash during Kora is from Dhira Phuk Gompa.

Why the monastery is called as Dhiraphuk?

When Gyelwa Gotsangpa, a monk resident of Gossul Gompa at lake Mansarovar tried to explore the pilgrim path around Mt. Kailash in the years 1213-1217, he was surprised by a thunderstorm and had no protection from it. There appeared a dri, a female Yak, walking to a cave, and Gotsangpa followed her and found shelter. The dri made the indentation in the rock with her horn and disappeared. She was an emanation of the Lion-faced Dakini ( Senge Khandroma in Tibetan ) who protects a pass of the Inner Kailash Kora.

When Gyelwa Gotsangpa continued his exploration of the Kailash pilgrimage path, he did not know which of the high passes he could tackle. A pack of 21 wolves appeared and ran up the valley towards the Drolma La. Gotsangpa followed them and found the path to the Drolma La. The wolves, however disappeared into the Drolma Rock. They were emanations of the 21 Taras. 

Is it worthy to spend two nights at Dhiraphuk Gompa?

If you had enough time, it is highly recommended to spend two nights in Dhiraphuk because on the first day, you trek to Dhiraphuk from Tarpoche and the second day, you can trek to the base of the north face of Mt Kailash. The north face of Mt.Kailash is called Charansparsh by Indians and many of the pilgrims and tourists also call Inner Kora but this might be wrong because inner Kora is either the trail through Kangdro Sanglam or the trail in side of Gyangdark monastery, located above Dharchen.

The entire distance of the trekking to the north face of Kailash from Dhiraphuk is around 4km distance which will take you around 4 hours and the average elevation is above 5000m. On the way during your trek to the north face of Mt. Kailash, you can see beautiful flowers and small plants. Most of those flowers and plants can be used for making Tibetan traditional medicine. Some of the plants and flowers are very beautiful.

You can reach very close to the north face of Mt. Kailash and you can even touch the Mt. Kailash so it’s also called touch Kailash. The scenery around is extremely beautiful with a great view of Mt Kailash. Many tourists and pilgrims believe that you can achieve a great blessing if you can touch the Kailash but without taking this one day trek, you don’t get a chance to touch the Kailash so it is recommend to spend two nights in Dhirpahuk and have a day excursion to touch the foot of the Kailash.

Spending more days at Dhira Phuk Gompa is another interesting to explore more around the north face of Mt. Kailash.

If you spend more days around Dhira Phuk Gompa, there is a chance to explore more around the north face of Mt. Kailash. Not only trekking to the north face of Mt. Kailash to touch the north face of Mt. Kailash and get a deep blessing from Kailash but can also trek further to the right hand side of the north face of Mt. Kailash where the three beautiful mountain peaks, called as Rigsum Gompo in Tibetan are located. The mountain of Rigsum Gompo are the symbols of the Manjushri, Vajarapani and Avalokteshvara.

It is a very beautiful day trek from Dhira Phuk Gompa to Rigsum Gompo mountain and one of the most beautiful mountain peak next to Mt. Kailash is the Manjushri. You can trek almost all the way to the peak of the Manjushri and will get a surprising and extremely beautiful view of Mt. Kailash and the entire valley of Mt. Kailash Kora between Tarpoche and Dhira Phuk Gompa. If you had enough time, you could spend between three to four days around Dhira Phuk to explore those beautiful mountains and the north face of Mt. Kailash.

Day 2 of Kailash Kora: Dhiraphuk to Zutrulphuk, 4835m ( 15863ft )/ 17Km/7-8 hrs.

The climbing path starting below Dhiraphuk Gompa zigzags up to a plateau at the altitude of 5200m ( 17060ft ), passing the entrance of the Polung Chu valley, which runs parallel to Gangjam Chu valley towards Mt. Kailash, another view to the northeast corner of the mountain opens. The third valley to the east, about 3km (2 mi ) distance from Dhiraphuk Gompa, leads to the Khandro Sanglam la,5675m (18619 ft) the pass of the lion –faced Dakni belonging to the inner Kora.

Again the path gains altitude in a zigzag to the next plateau and reach a sky burial called Silvatsal ( Cool Grove ), named according to one of the eight great Charnel grounds ( Sky burial in Tibet ) in the Hindu culture. In the pilgrims’ meditation, this is the place of the death and Tibetans believe if you lie down on the ground of this sky burial and meditate as if you are dead and imagine all the sufferings that one face when one will stay in the intermediate state ( Bardo in Tibetan ) the state of up to 49 days between death and rebirth after someone dies.

After the sky burial, there are still around 3Km ( 2mi ) to reach Drolma la pass, the path leads to the next plateau of 5400m ( 17717ft ) where there are two rocks forming a small tunnel are called the “ Sin-testing stone”. Tibetan pilgrims try to crawl through this tunnel, carefully watched by their fellow pilgrims. This is much fun and if one can crawl through the tunnel between the two rocks, it is believed that the person does not have sin but if one gets stuck in the tunnel, it is believed that his Karma is loaded with many sins.

The path then climbs the last ascent to the Droma La pass at 5660m ( 18570 ft). Shortly before the pass, there is a big rock next to the path, the Drolma Rock which is much worshipped by the Tibetan pilgrims and smeared with butter, on which money is stuck and decorated with prayer flags. This part of the Kailash Kora trail is the most difficult part as in the one hand, the altitude is already very high and in the other hand, the path is very steep and difficult to walk through the boulders and small rocks.

After spending 2-3 hours steep climb, finally reach to the top of the Drolma La pass, almost throughout the year, there is snow on the top of the pass and you walk over the snow when you reach the top and the pass is covered all over with thick layers of prayer flags and is the place of rebirth for pilgrims. At this altitude, it is not only the spiritual culmination but also physically the highest point they reach. All exhaustion is overcome with the happiness and pride at having reached this summit of their pilgrimage.

Although the Kailash is not seen from the top of the Drolma La pass, many Tibetan pilgrims perform prostrations in the direction of the mountain. Others place a picture among the prayer flags of beloved ones or those who died recently or they sit down and whisper prayers. 

If you don’t have a serious altitude problem, it is recommend to spend some time on the top of the Drolma La pass and enjoy the moment of the success of the most difficult part of Mt. Kailash Kora and then start the descent from the windy pass.

Among boulders, the path steeply zigzags down from the pass. To the right side of the trail, there is the Gaurikund ( Thugje Chenpo Tso in Tibetan ), a glacial lake at the altitude of 5567m ( 18264ft ), both Tibetans and Hindus believe it is a very sacred lake. High above the path on the right side there is a cliff at the side of Mt. Sharma Ri which pilgrims call the Ax of Karma. The descent continues steeply and if there is snow on the path, it is extremely slippery.

After around 3Km ( 2mi ) steep down, finally reach Lham Chu valley, in which the Kora covers the east side of Mt. Kailash and there is a Tibetan campsite at the altitude of 5235m ( 17175ft ). Here you can get tea, water and some cookies. There is a footprint of Milarepa nearby but without a local guide who can show you the cave, it is difficult to find. If someone is really tired and have altitude problem, from here you can call a jeep from Dharchen for emergency cases only. After around 2Km ( 1.5 mi ) walk down the valley, the third prostration point of Mt Kailash is reached, where the east face of Mt. Kailash, made of Lapis Lazuli, looms over the hills. This is the exit point of the path at 5118m ( 16791ft ) where people come through the Khangdro Sanglam La pass.

Although it is easy walking in the slightly descending Lhamchu valley, the next 6Km ( 3.7 mi ) seem to stretch longer and longer, until the Topchen Chu joins the Lham chu from the east, and the river is now called Dzong Chu. After another 1.5Km ( 1mi ) the Zutrul Phuk Gompa at 4835m ( 15863ft ) is reached. Zutrul Phuk is the third Gompa on the Kailash Kora.

Zutrul Phuk designates the cave of miracles performed by Milarepa during the competition with Naro Bonchung. The two competitors were running the Kora, Milarepa in clockwise direction, Naro Bonchung counterclockwise, as the Bonpo do. When they met at this place, heavy rain forced them to look for a shelter. The rock plate Milarepa split with his hand to use as a roof was too heavy for Naro Bonchung, so Milarepa had to hold it himself with his head and one hand while putting other rocks under it as support. Then he temped it with his feet from the top of the plate. The plate with Milarepa’s hand imprint on the lower side and his foot imprint on top of it can be seen at Zutrul Phuk Gompa, the monastery built around this miraculous cave ( Tibetan Zutrul means miracle )

Day 3 of Mt. Kailash Kora: Zutrul Phuk Gompa to Zongdo

At Zutrul Phuk Gompa, a path starts which leads up the hills behind the Gompa into the Gedhun Lha Chu or ( Ganden Lha Chu ) valley via Gevo La and Shapje La to the Gyangdark Gompa. The conventional Kora crosses the Gedhun Lha Chu, a river named “the urine of Mt. Kailash” a short distance beyond the Zutrul Phuk Gompa.

For the next 6.5 ( 4 mi ) the Mt. Kailash Kora leads in a southwest direction along the Dzong Chu until the valley opens into the Barka plain at the fourth prostration point to Mt. Kailash. During today’s easy walk down the valley, there are more footprints and other sacred points marked with prayer flags. At the last part of this walk, there is a flat area close to the Dzong Chu, the Dakini Dancing Ground. Above the path is Trangser Trangmar, slope with golden and red sand, where King Gesar shot a Drong ( a wild Yak ) and the blood stained the golden sand red. There are also sands of other colors, malachite green and black, brown and ochre. All the tourists or pilgrims often prefer to complete the Mt. Kailash Kora at Dzongdo and take scenic spot buses back to Dharchen at the distance of 3.5Km ( 2mi ).  

How can you trek to Nandi Kora?

Apart from normal Kailash Kora, there is a couple of different Kailash Kora and among them, Nandi is one of them. At Mt. Kailash, there is a so-called inner Kora, which however does not lead around the holy Mountain but around an outlier in the southeast, the Nandi ( Neten Yelakzung in Tibetan ) at the altitude of 6000m ( 19685ft ). The Buddhist understands it as the landing place of the Buddha with the 500 Arhats, where it is sacred to the Hindus, who understand this mountain as a bull ( Nandi in Sanskrit ), the riding animal of God Shiva. Therefore, this path is more appropriately named Nandi Kora, instead of “inner Kora of Mt. Kailash”. It leads into the south face of Mt.Kailash , where there are the thirteen Chortens ( Serdung Chuksum in Tibetan ) and over the adjacent pass Charok Phurdod La pass at 5806m ( 19049ft ) between Mt.Kailash and Nandi.

How and when you can trek across Khandro Sanglam, known as inner Kora?

An alternative to the Drolma la, the pass of Tara is the path over a steep glacial slope to the Khandro Sanglam ( A short cut and secret path of Dakini ). Dakini is a sky-walking deity. Dakini is one of the female deities which are known as important helpers or consorts in Tantric Buddhism. The lion-faced Dakini is an especially powerful leading Dakini. This secret Dakini path does not lead all around Mt. Kailash, it only covers part of the distance of circumambulation of Kailash. It is treated as very special path, not open to the general pilgrim. Understanding the more or less, circular normal Kailash Kora as the Mandala of Mt. Kailash, these paths lead inside into the Mandala, which is understood as the residence of the deity, to which the holy site Mt, Kailash is assigned. From this it becomes obvious that the pilgrim must collect considerably more merits before being allowed to walk the tracks of these paths of the Inner Kora.

The pilgrims or tourists are only allowed to walk over Khandro Sanglam as long as one did 12 times of Mt. Kailash Kora already. Once someone does twelve times walk around Mt. Kailash Kora, one has the merits or right to walk over the trail of Khandro Sanglam.

What if someone cannot do twelve times of normal Mt. Kailash Kora but really wants to walk over the pass of Khandro Sanglam? According to the Mt. Kailash Kora, it is believed that Mt. Kailash Kora is as the circular of the Mandala and crossing over the Khandro Sanglam is something like walking over the Mandala without opening the door of the Mandala so it is believed that pilgrims should complete twelve circumambulation of Mt.Kailash on the normal Kora and when the pilgrims do thirteen times of circumambulation of Mt. Kailash Kora, it is believed that the door of the Mandala is opened and you can walk across the pass of Khandro Sanglam because Khandro Sanglam is considered as the access into the Mandala.

If the tourists or pilgrims don’t have time of doing twelve times of Kailash Kora, one can take the opportunity of just doing one time Kailash Kora during horse Year. The elements given to the animal of the year define five cycles of twelve years, a way to count cycles of sixty years. The is another way of calculating the merits of the Kailash Kora in the horse year, whereas it is said to be worth twelve times the merits of the Kailash Kora, which means that a Kora in the horse year counts as if the Kora would have been performed in each year of the twelve year cycle so when one does a Kailash Kora in the horse year, one can walk over the Khandro Sanglam pass.

When is the best time to do Mt. Kailash Kora?

In General, the Mt. Kailash Kora can be done from the end of April until the end of October. During these period of the time, usually, there is neither heavy snow fall on the path of Mt. Kailash, nor heavy rainfall as well. There might have some snow on the trail of the Drolma La pass in around end of April and beginning of May or end of October but you could still do the Mt. Kailash Kora except it is a bit colder than usual time.

The best time to do Mt. Kailash Kora is between end of May until mid-July and from the end of August until mid-October. During this period of time, usually, there is neither snow nor rainfall so it is the best blue sky weather most of the time and it is highly recommend to visit Kailash by this time.

What do we need to bring for Kailash Kora?

Here are some suggestions of what to bring for the Kailash Kora, given by Tibet Shambhala Adventure according to our many years’ experience of organizing Kailash tours.

  1. Comfortable wind & water proof jacket
  2. Comfortable wind & water proof trekking pants
  3. Water proof rain coat
  4. Comfortable trekking shoes
  5. 2-3 pairs of high-quality wool trekking socks
  6. Pairs of trekking underwear
  7. One pair of thermal tops and bottoms
  8. Two good quality T-shirts
  9. One good winter coat or winter dawn jacket
  10. One thick fleece
  11. Gloves
  12. Sun Hat with a wide brim
  13. Skull cap
  14. Polarized sunglasses
  15. Trekking poles
  16. 30-50 Liter trekking backpack
  17. Sleeping bag rated between 10-15°C if you camp during Kailash Kora
  18. Micro spikes (optional) If there is no heavy snow around Kailash trek, not necessary to have
  19. Headlamp
  20. 1-liter water bottle similar to Nalgene water bottle
  21. Personal toiletries such as Sun cream Extreme SPF50+25ml,lip balm, small bottle of perfume, soap for washing hands, wet tissue(optional)
  22.  Small quick-drying towel
  23.  Blister &first aid kit:

Cold medicine,

Sore-through medicine

Headache medicine

High altitude medicine



Gau Yuan An- very good high-altitude medicine made in Tibet

Antibioaxy blister Pads,

Under wrap,

Wrist brace,

Knee brace,

Adhesive bandages

Medical Tape- Lightweight, breathable surgical tape for blisters and cuts. 

Nitrile Medical Gloves- To prevent cross-contamination in case you need to examine someone.

Antiseptic or Alcohol Wipes- – Cleaning wounds.

Butterfly Closure Strips (3)

Dressing/Gauze – Sterile non-stick absorbent; for larger wounds.

Triple Antibiotic Ointment – Sample size tube.

Hand Sanitizer – Repackaged in a mini dropper bottle

Antihistamine Tablets (3) – For bites and allergic reactions.

Duct tape-tiny roll. Handy for any and all repairs

Antiseptic Applications – burn treatment application

Small Utility Tool – Which has knife, scissors and tweezers; e.g. Swiss army classic knife

Sewing Needle – Use dental floss for thread.

Safety Pins (2) – For slings fashioned from clothing.

Tiny Whistle – Check the sternum strap of your backpack; chances are you have one without knowing.

Mt. Kailash Kora Map

Different sacred mountains around Mt. Kailash

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