Lhasa, the capital of Tibet (an autonomous region of China), is a beautiful city lying at an altitude of 3650 meters above the sea level. Lhasa proudly houses the ancient Potala Palace, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, Jokhang Temple and the Norbulunka. Lhasa Bazaar is a great place to visit if you want to explore the local people’s life and culture.
From Kathmandu, you will reach Lhasa on China Southwest Airlines after one hour flight across the snow capped Himalayas with superb views of the highest peak, Mt. Everest. The immigrations and custom formalities at the Gonggar Airport will be handled by our guide. After a two-hour drive to Lhasa (about 93 km) you will be transferred to a hotel for overnight stay. The following two days will be dedicated to sightseeing in the city and the Barkhor Bazaar.
On the way, you’ll get to view the beautiful settings of Tibetan Highlands and the Yarlung Tsangpo river valley. On reaching the holy Kailash Parbat, you will be taken to visit the sacred Mansarovar Lake lying about 15 meters below the Kailash. It takes three days to do the Kailash Kora (Kailash Circumambulation) and that would be the end of the tour. Then you will be driven back to the Friendship Bridge from where you will have a bus ride back to Kathmandu.
Kailash-The Mysterious Holy Peak
Mt. Kailash (6714m), which is considered to be the sacred abode of the gods and goddesses and the exact center of the entire universe, is the holiest mountain of all. The mountain is also famous for its unique four-faced shape like that of a handle of a millstone. The cleft on its southern side intersected by a series of rocks forms a sacred Buddhist symbol ‘Swastika’. Mt. Kailash is referred to as Kang Rinpoche (literally meaning ‘a sparkling mass of snow’) by the Tibetan locals. Believers relate this mountain to Mt. Meru of Hindu mythology. In ancient Hindu scriptures, Mt. Meru has been described as a mountain, lying in the Himalayan range, with its four faces made of four different jewels (gold, crystal, ruby and lapis lazuli), where gods resided and from where four great rivers originated. Confirming its relation to Mt. Meru, Kailash is a mother to four great holy rivers, namely Karnali, Indus, Sutlej and Brahmaputra.
Kailash Parbat is considered divine by the devotees of four different religions-Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Bonpo, with a belief that the gods or founders of these religions had once meditated or resided in the holy mountain. Thus the devout followers of all these religions flock to the mountain to pay homage to the gods residing on its top.
Mansarovar Lake15 meters below the holy Kailash Parbat lies the most sacred Lake of Hindus-Mansarovar. Mansarovar, literally meaning ‘the consciousness of mind’, is situated at an elevation of 4580 meters. Mansarovar Lake is so large that it takes at least three days to just go round its peripheries. Mansarovar also holds an important religious space among the followers of Buddhism other than the Hindus. One dip into the cold water of this holy Lake is believed, by Hindus, to relinquish the soul of all its sins thus carving a straight path to heaven after death. Ancient Hindu scriptures indicate this Lake as a must-visit place for those who want to attain salvation – the highest level of spiritual achievement in Hinduism. Many others also come to take a bath in the Lake with a belief that it will keep them youthful and strong forever.