EXPERIENCE MOUNT K AI L A SH
The pilgrimage should be taken between May and October, and you will need both a Tibet permit and an Alien’s travel permit to do so. At other times of the year, Mount Kailash is covered in heavy snow and ice and makes for treachorous trekking.
Circumambulating the base of the mountain on foot is said to bring good fortune. The route is just over 50 kilometres long. You should not venture up onto the slopes: they are considered too holy to be tainted by the feet of man. Hindus and Buddhists make their pilgrimage in a clockwise direction; Jains and Bon proceed counterclockwise. The direction you take will likely be dictated by the faith of your guide.
The most determined of pilgrims complete the circuit in a single day, and if you are fit and walking fast, this is just about possible. The terrain is uneven, and if you do not acclimate, the altitude will take its toll. It’s better to allow three days or more. Accommodation is in modest guesthouses and tents. If you are tired of walking, you can ride a pony, although your own fatigue might pale into insignificance when you see devotees prostrating with every step, a physically gruelling regimen which increases the duration of the circuit to a month.