NGARI, WESTERN TIBET
Ngari, the province in the western Tibet is one of the most hostile places in Tibet with the highest average elevation. However, it attracts visitors with some of the most sacred places: Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar, ancient Guge Kingdom, Tholing and Tsaparang monasteries are located here.
HOW TO TRAVEL TO NGARI
There are three ways to get to Ngari.
Flying to Ali is the fastest way to visit Western Tibet. However, there are only a few flights from Lhasa per week available. In addition, Ali airport is located at an altitude above 4,000 meters and you cannot fly directly to Ali. First, you need to spend a few days in Lhasa or other high altitude area in Tibet to acclimatize to the altitude. Instead of flying to Ali, you can travel to Western Tibet by road and fly back to Lhasa at the end of your tour.
Most of the visitors reach Western Tibet by car, driving from Lhasa. It allows enough time to acclimatize to the high altitude of Ngari and prepare for the trek around Mount Kailash. In addition, it is a more affordable option because flights between Lhasa and Ali tend to be pricey.
There are two roads connecting Lhasa and Ngari.
WEATHER IN NGARI
Being one of the highest area in Tibet, Ngari is famous for its hostile climate. Therefore, the best time to visit it is during warm months: from April till the end of October. During winter, many of the guesthouses around Mount Kailash close, and the area can be covered with snow.
From July till the middle of September it is a rainy season. It is still possible to travel as the quality of roads improved in the last years. However, it an be cloudy and it is not the best time if you want to take photos of the peaks.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN WESTERN TIBET
The sacred Mount Kailash remains one of the highest unclimbed mountains. It is sacred for four religions and thousands of pilgrims walk the kora around the mountain every year.
MOUNT KAILASH KORA ATTRACTIONS
KAILASH AND MANASAROVAR SOURCES OF 4 RIVERS
Four major Asian rivers have their sources on four sides of Kailash. These four rivers flow across Asia and huge population of the neighboring countries depends on the water from these rivers.
The sacred lake for Tibetans and Hindus in a gorgeous setting of snow-peaked mountains. There are several important monasteries by the lake. And the roure around the lake is one of the the holy koras in Tibet.
Chiu monastery in located by the Manasarovar lake and once you climb to the monastery, you get an awe-inspiring view on the lake and Mount Kailash. The monastery has meditation cave used by Padma Sambhava in the 8th century.
The Guge Kingdom impresses with meditation caves nested on the muddy mountains, ruins of the ancient kingdom, majestic Tholins and Tsaparang monasteries. It is home to natural clay forest, mountain river and Pangong Tso lake.
Tirthapuri is a famous pilgrimage site in Western Tibet, next to Manasarovar lake and Mount Kailash. It is located a couple of hours of driving away from Darchen on the bank of Sutlej River.
Tirthapuri site has a close association with Padma Sambhava (Guru Rinpoche) and his consort Yeshe Tsogyel. At the center of the Tirthapuro monastery is a cave where both Padma Sambhava and Yeshe Tsogyel meditated in the 8th century.
The kora around Tirthapuri is rather short and you can complete it within an hour. Unlike the kora around Mount Kailash, the walk is easy but still scenic. When you complete the kora, you can soak your feet in the hotspring and relax.
COMPLETE GUIDE: PREPARE FOR MOUNT KAILASH TOUR
All you need to know to get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. Information about required documents, ways to travel, the best season, what to wear and pack, how to prepare physically and what to expect on your journey.