Mount Kailash / Lake Manasarovar

Teej festival - Pashipatinath nabij Kathmandu

Mount Kailash/Lake Mansarovar - Part II  Nepal / Tibet report

May 2 - May 30

Mount Kailas and Lake Mansarovar in Tibet

We had changed the program of the trip and first walked the Mount Kailash kora to be able to join the Sagadawa festival in Tarboche and afterwards we would go to Lake Mansarovar. Our Tibetan guide gave us the choice between camping at the festival area or stay in the guesthouse and go to the festival area in Tarboche the next morning. Since most of us found the night during the Mount Kailash kora extremely cold (minus 15 degrees in a tent), almost everyone chose for the last. Unfortunately the guide had forgotten to verify whether there still were rooms available in the guest house and only found out all rooms in Darchen were fully booked, so we had no choice but to prepare us for another very cold night in the tents.

Lamas during Sagadawa festival


Traditionally dressed Tibetan women

In Tarboche stands a flag pole which is brought down every year during the Sagadawa festival, decorated with a lot of new prayer flags and then being put in upright position again. During the Sagadawa festival (during full moon in May) the birth, the enlightment and the death of the buddha are commemorated. For this event a lot of Tibetan pilgrims come to Tarboche.
The gathered pilgrims try to pull the flag pole exactly straight up. When they are succesfull the coming year will be prosperous. If the flag pole leans over a little bit it will be a bad year.
This year the Chinese authorities made it more difficult for Tibetans to come to Tarboche. The authorities had declared a ban to travel as a driver's mate or in the back of a truck (The main means of transport for Tibetans) to Tarboche. For such an important festival it was therefore pretty quiet. Nevertheless there were sufficient people to have a good impression of the festival. First the flag pole was blessed by a group of a lamas who take place on a hillock nearby to bless people and some of their belongings  which they brought over there. For a couple Nepali friends we also had some white scarves (katas) being blessed. The decoration of the flag pole with new prayer flags and efforts to pull the flag pole straight up just using manpower took several hours. All that time Tibetan pilgrims were encircling the pole.

In between Arno paid a visit to the sky burial place of 84 Mahasiddhas (sort of enlightened people) above Tarboche. In Tibet it is a good practice to cut the deceased's body into pieces and to feed the vultures. On this sky burial site a monk with a gorgeous voice was chanting mantras. Surrounded by many traditional and modern dressed Tibetans, who were lying on the ground (presumably to symbolize the death), the monk performed his prayers. On this beautiful quiet and high spot, with beautiful views of the Himalayas it was a very impressive "show" and many were listening breathlessly. Nobody said anything, nobody took pictures, but everyone was fully into the beauty of the moment.




Meanwhile it was snowing and the people still hadn't managed to put the flagpole upright. Just when we (being almost frozen) to go, four large groups of Tibetans made move to pull the flagpole straight up. One support pole falling on a rope prevented them from succeeding at once. A few minutes later, the second attempt was succesful. And coincidence or not, just then it stopped snowing, the sun broke through and changed the melting snow in a very mysterious fog. A great spectacle.

Monk at sky burial place

Ritual at sky burial place at Tarboche

Tibetan child with "Tibetan nappy"

Erected flag pole during Sagadawa festival


Photos of trip to Kailash and Lake Manasarovar:

After this impressive festival, we drove to the Lake Manasovar. Once there, we had to wait for the truck before being able to set up the camp. We asked if the jeeps could bring us to the hot springs in the neighborhood first, because after one week without washing that seemed very nice. Arriving at the hot springs we had to wait over half hour in the wind, cold and snow before we could go inside. Once inside, it turned out that the Chinese had channeled the hot water to little taps just below knee height. Each small bathroom with a very dirty floor and shoulder height partitions provided just a little bit of hot water. The five bathrooms were constructed inside a concrete building with a glass roof with many broken windows that let the cold wind and snow coming in. Yet it was nice to wash your cold and dirty body with a little hot water. Afterwards we went back to the lake, where the Nepalese staff had set up the camp under the Chiu Gompa (monastery Chiu). The cold and wind, together with large dust clouds forced us to stay inside the dining tent. After dinner the wind lie down and we could enjoy the full moon rising above the Lake Manasarovar.
The next morning it was quite clear and we had a lovely view over the deep blue lake, on the Himalayas and Mount Kailash.


Read more about our trip to Lake Manasarovar in Tibet


Mount Kailash on Google maps

View Larger Map





click here for the first part of the report regarding Mount Kailash/Lake Manasarovar











Nepal verslag index

2 mei - 29 mei 2005 - Mount kailash lake manasarovar

9 april - 1 mei - bezoek, Bouddha, Bungamati, Ghandruk, Ghorepani, Tatopani trekking, Pokhara en vervolg verslag 15 - Temal Jatra festival en Koninginnedag in Nepal

17 maart - 31- maart - Holi festival, Pokhara

30 januari - 21 februari - Noodtoestand in Nepal / Losar / Sankhu / Pokhara

24 november - 17 december 2004 - Streetdance / Bungamati & Khokana / goede doel

23 oktober - 5 november 2004 - Changu Narayan, Phutung, Pokhara

28 september - 5 oktober 2004 - Verslag week 3 (Nepalese taalles, lezing Lama Rimpoche, Budhanilkantha, computerlessen in kinderhuis)

21 - 28 september 2004 - Verslag 2 - o.a. Bouddhanath, Kirtipur en Indra Jatra festival

15 -21 september 2004 - Verslag 1 - o.a. aankomst in Nepal, Swayambhunath en kinderhuis




paragliding / trekking-agencies / Mount Kailash / experiences