May to

About the Route


If ever there was a place to get in touch with your inner peace and spirituality, it’s Mount Kailash, a distinctive mountain in western Tibet that’s sacred to Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists alike. Hindus believe the mountain to be the ‘abode of Lord Shiva,’ while Buddhists believe it to be home to the deity Demchok. But that’s just the start of Mount Kailash’s spiritual significance. To visit is to gain a deeper appreciation for the religions followed by billions of people around the world.

“A field of brilliant prayer flags, attached to one another by strings, lay on the rocks, flying in all directions.”

- Bhakti Mathur

It would be disrespectful, not to mention illegal, to climb to the summit Mount Kailash. Instead, visitors circumnavigate the mountain, starting from the small town of Darchen, which is reachable via Lhasa. The rocky trail is entirely at high altitude, starting at 15,100 feet and rising as high as 18,500 feet. There’s also strong winds, occasional snowfall, and freezing temperatures to contend with, so it is not a hike for the faint of heart. But the views of turquoise lakes, monasteries, and surrounding Himalayas will keep you going, while colorful prayer flags and prostrating pilgrims will remind you of why you are there.

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