Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour
Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour
Saga Dawa Festival is an important Tibetan Buddhist festival, held every year on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, to celebrate Sakyamuni s enlightenment. Each year people from all over Tibet gather here that day to attach their prayer flags they brought from home, to pray, and to help erect the huge flagpole on the Kailash Kora. The whole ceremony is led by a Tibetan Lama from the nearby monastery. Hours before the actual rising of the flagpole from the ground, people circumambulate the flagpole and pray and throw wind horses (little pieces of colored paper with Buddhist scriptures on them) into the air. They help to remove last years prayer flags and attach new ones. As a visitor, you are almost forced to follow them as they go around and around, time after time. Along the sides, on the slope of the nearby hills, a lot of people are sitting to watch the spectacle and there are musicians which play all the time on their horns and symbols. We can really feel a sudden great sense of happiness surrounding us. Saga Dawa festival held for a month at around Tarboche valley of Kailash region. The main day of the Saga Dawa festival in 2020 is on the 5th of June. Touch Kailash Travels and tours will manage your entire travel plan to explore the Saga Dawa festival 2020. Tour is covering Lhasa and other historical cities of Tibet. Tour starts from a scenic Himalayan flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa. Exploration of Lhasa city including Potala Palace and others during your one full day sightseeing. Drive towards west Tibet by crossing many other historical Tibetan cities and high passes from where high mountain views of Tibet and Nepal Himalayas are seen crystal clear. Our main destination Mount Kailash and Manasarovar reach via Kerung border of Nepal. Stay overnight at typical Tibetan mud houses and take your foods from local restaurants. Mount Kailash Parikrama is the adventure in this tour, which is 3 days of trekking by crossing 5613 meters Dolma La pass. You also have the option to take personal helper and pony at this part. Finally, explore the Saga Dawa Festival and drive back to Kathmandu via Kerung Boarder.
Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu (1,300m/4,264ft)
Upon your arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, our company representative will meet and welcome you to Nepal and then you'll be transferred to your confirmed hotel. Once you finish the check-in procedure, you can rest & relax at the hotel. Later you will be accompanied by the office staff for a short tour of Thamel to make you familiar with some good restaurants, ATM's, money changer and other necessary places you might need during your stay in Thamel.
Day 2: A full day sightseeing around Kathmandu valley, the capital city
The very next morning, after breakfast you will leave for a full day sightseeing tour around Kathmandu valley. You can visit the sacred Pashupatinath Temple and Swyambhunath, very ancient and essentially enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The biggest Buddhist Stupa at Boudhanath and the fine arts and historical architecture of Kathmandu Durbar Square reflecting the ancient Nepalese culture which is the highlights of our guided tour.
A visit to Patan City will enchant you with its famous fine arts and historical architecture. On return to your hotel, you will have time to explore the local area, have dinner and perhaps take a leisurely stroll through the famous streets. Finally, day ends with a Authentic Nepalese Dinner in Nepali Cultural Restaurant.
Day 3: Fly from Kathmandu to Lhasa (3,650m/11,972ft)
Arrive in Lhasa. Transfer to your hotel & get settled. Overnight in Kyichu Hotel Deluxe room.
Day 4: Sightseeing around Lhasa
After breakfast, we go to the Potala Palace, a golden feather upon the roof of the world, which Tibetans proudly claim to be the prime miracle since the creation of this world. It is visible from any distance, with the golden roof shinning in the sun, spend one hour wondering around the inside of this magnificent building exploring the rooms previously used by the Dalai Lama and the many Buddhist icons within.
In the afternoon we go inside of the Jokhang. Then stroll around the back alleys of the Barkhor area of Old Lhasa. The streets smelled of yak butter and incense while hordes of pilgrims shuffled along the main Kora (circumambulations) around Jokhang Temple. If someone just walked at a normal pace, one kora would take about 15-20 minutes
Day 5: Sightseeing around Drepung and Sera Monastery
In the morning have a tour for Drepung, the ever largest monastery with more than 10 thousand monks, Buddhist debates often occur there. Seen from afar, its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice. As such, it was given its name which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. Learn about the lives of Tibetan monks there.
The afternoon is spent touring Sera Monastery, have a little hike for the beautiful valley scenery nearby and picnic there. Sera monastery was created in 1419 and has always been an important Buddhist seminary. As rose are planted everywhere in the monastery, it is also called “the court of wild rose”. Today still 200 lamas live in there. Catch the famous debate session of the monks before returning back to Lhasa.
Day 6: Drive to Shigatse via Gyantse,
After fully exploring Lhasa, you’ll have a chance to get lost in the endless Tibetan landscape while you take a short hike along the turquoise waters of Lake Yamdrok, one of the four holy lakes in Tibet. This dazzling lake is normally first seen from the summit of the Kamba-la (4700m). The lake lies several hundred metres below the road, and it is shaped like a coiling scorpion. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangstsang (7191m).
Afterwards pass by the 5,010 m high Karo-la and the Simi La forward to Gyantse (3,950m). Visit Pelkor Monastery as well as the splendid Kumbum Stupa (100-Thousand-Buddha Pagoda) nearby, both of them built in the15th century and situated in the northwestern edge of Gyantse. In the afternoon drive about 90 kilometers to Shigatse (3880m), the second largest city with 40,000 inhabitants in Tibet and the traditional capital of the Tsang.
Day 7: Trek from Shigatse to Saga,
This morning you'll have a chance to visit Tashilunpo Monastery, the home of the Panchen Lama, which is essentially a walled town with cobbled and twisting lanes that revolve around a magnificent monastery. Then be driven to Saga via Lhatse and Sang sang, pass several lakes, towns and high plateau nomadic sites. In Saga, you will find a number of Indian pilgrimages heading toward Mt. Kailash. Overnight in Saga.
Day 8: Drive to Lake Manasarovar,
From Saga it is 145 km to Zhongba, the road there is good and there is also a small monastery at the western end of town on a hill. From Zhongba onwards the southern road deteriorates. There is also danger of vehicles getting stuck. But this section of the road has panoramic views of mountains on either side of the road. There will be several river crossings and we drive past Mayum la pass (4600 M) from Paryang to Lake Manasarovar The scenery is stunningly beautiful with panoramic views of the Himalayas.
Day 9: Drive to Darchen (4,560m/14,956ft),
In the morning, you can hike around the lake and take pictures of Mt. Kailash in distance. Lake Manasarovar is one of the holiest lakes in Tibet which cover 400km sq. Lake is devoted by billions of buddhists and hindus. In the afternoon, drive forward to Darchen, the main gateway and the village in front of Mt. Kailash. At Darchen, accommodations are very simple and basic. You can relax and rest and prepare for next day trekking.
The guide will help you organize yaks or ponies for the Kailash circuit trek at Darchen. And Darchen is also the Point of Exit to the Sacred Mount Kailash (Kang Rimpoche) for the Kailash Pilgrimage Circuit (Kailash Kora). Overnight in Darchen.
Day 10: Saga Dawa in Darchen
Prior to beginning the Kailash kora, pilgrims gather at Darchen, where the flag-bedecked pole is raised anew each year. While pilgrims walk in clockwise circles around the pole, ceremonies are performed under the direction of the oracle. The raising of the pole is breathlessly awaited as the pole's final position portends Tibet's fortunes for the coming year. Today we will attend the festival here.
Day 11: Start Kailash Circuit Trekking, O/N: Camp
Start the Kailash circuit today, this kora covers 53 kms and can be done in 3 days. We head west in clockwise direction. Only 4 kilometers from Darchen the trail climbs up over the southwest end of the ridge to reach a cairn (4,730m). Then, trail bends around to north to the Tarboche flagpole. The flagpole is replaced each year at the Saga Dawa festival. After passing the Lha-chu valley, we arrive in Chuku monastery where we can have a break. Another 3 hours trek along the river, we hit our first day’s stop, the Dirapuk monastery.
Day 12: Trekking, O/N: Camp
Trek along Drolma Chu and reach the Jarok Donkhang (5,210m). A little while, Shiva-tsal (5,330m) comes in front. It is a rocky expanse dotted with stone cairns draped with items of clothing. Our next challenge is to get over Drolma La Pass (5,630m), the highest point of the entire kora, where you can look south for your last glimpse of the north face of Kailsh. After the ascent, we are experiencing a steep descent. Almost immediately, Gauri Kund Lake comes into view. Finally, after a long valley and river, we reach our second day’s stop, the Zutulpuk monastery. O/N: Camp.
Day 13: Trekking, O/N: Camp
The final day’s walk begins with the easy stroll down to where the river emerges onto the plain. The valley narrows and the prayer flags fluttering across the river. There is a rough road from here back to Darchen and it’s less than an hour's walk, passing many mani walls embellished with yak skulls. Finally, our kora end up at Darchen.
Day 14: Drive back to Saga
Drive back from Darchen to Saga.
Day 15: Drive back from Saga to Sakya
Drive from Saga to Sakya
Day 16: Tour back from Sakya to Shigatse
In the morning, we will visit ancient Sakya Town and you can tour Sakya Monastery with amzing murals and huge collection of scriptures and statues. Then we are abou to drive from Sakya to Shigatse.
Day 17: Drive back from Shigatse to Lhasa
We will follow Yalong Valley back to Lhasa. On the way, you can stand on the viewing platform to view the vast Yalong River bed and visit Water Mill making Tibetan Incense Workshop (in summer, if time permits). Drop off at hotel in Lhasa.
Day 18: End the tour and airport drop off
The tour is also available for tourists who start in Lhasa and end in Gyirong border, so if the group has members to exit Tibet to Nepal from Gyirong, we will see them off at the Sino-Nepal border, thus the itinerary from the Day 12 will be done with valuable detour to Gyirong, which will give you one extra destination to Kelong Valley, this destination is considered the most beautiful valley at the foot of Himalaya Mountain Range and attracts many tourists a year.
Day 19: Leisure day in Kathmandu
Leisure day at Kathmandu. You can ask your guide to take you on a sightseeing trip inside Kathmandu Valley. On this day you can go to the various museums around the valley including the Narayanhiti Museum which earlier used to be the residence of the last king of Nepal. You may also go to the hilltop of Nagarkot. After some sightseeing around the world heritage sites in the valley, you will have a farewell dinner and enjoy with your Nepali friends and guide. You might even make plans for extending your stay for Chitwan jungle safari, rafting activities, and more with your guide.
Day 20: Departure
Finally, it’s SEE OFF TIME. There is nothing to do but trade emails with your travel companions and organize your photos. You will be picked from Hotel by representatives of Wongchhu Peak Promotion staff and dropped at Tribhuvan International Airport 3 hours earlier than your flight time with a hope to see you again. On your way home you'll have plenty of time to plan your next adventure in the wonderful country of Nepal.
- Airport – Hotel transfers in KTM,
- Hotel in KTM (Nepali Ghar) for 2 nights pre and two nights post trek, including breakfast on a twin-sharing basis,
- City tour of Boudhanath, Pashupatinath & Swyambhunath,
- Transportation, tour guide and entrance tickets during city tour,
- Flight KTM -Lhasa –KTM,
- Tibet travel permit and all other necessary permits to Tibet,
- All entrance ticket fees for all tourist sites listed in the itinerary,
- Personal knowledgeable English-speaking Tibetan local tour guide,
- All ground transportation during Lhasa tour,
- All meals listed in the above itinerary,
- Tourist accident/casualty insurance,
- First aid kit,
- Tents during trek,
- Accommodations including food during trek,
- Boiled water, tea, coffee, including all food,
- Guide & Porter during trek,
- Meals in Kathmandu (except welcome and farewell dinner),
- Extra night accommodation in Kathmandu because of early arrival, late departure, early return from mountain (due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary,
- Extra night accommodation in Lhasa because of early arrival, late departure, early return from trip ( due to any reason) than the scheduled itinerary
- Beverages and alcoholic drinks on trek,
- All personal expenses, including Nepal Visa (for country entrance),
- Personal medical and evacuation insurance,
- All other additional charges for additional services,
- Additional tips for tour guide,
- Personal purchases,
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