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About this book
About this book
Isolated for centuries behind the Himalayas in Tibet is a mysterious and mythical mountain, Mount Kailash, standing 6714m (22,028ft) high. The mountain has for more than a thousand years been a central pilgrimage site for some of the world's major religions. This trek leads around the sacred peak in 3 to 4 days, following the pilgrims' route. Though short, this high-altitude trek is not to be undertaken lightly - Mount Kailash remains isolated and remote, and getting there is an epic journey in itself. Also included in the guide is a visit to the lost kingdom of Guge, still almost unknown in the west. The ethereal ruined fortress of Tsaparang, Guge's former capital, is Tibet's greatest Buddhist treasure-house of art and paintings - a stunning location not to be missed. The Kailash trek, and other treks in the region are described in detail.This title provides extensive practical information for planning and preparation. It covers the key approach routes (by foot and road) and return route to Kathmandu or LhasaHistorical, and, cultural and religious background information. For adventure-seeking trekkers this comprehensive guide opens a door into the enchanting world of Kailash and western Tibet.
PrefaceIntroductionGeographyTibetan landscapesFlora and faunaPlantsBirdAnimalsClimateTypical temperatureTibetan cultureBrief history of the Tibet regionEarly foreign visitors to KailashReligious aspects of KailashTibetan religionBonpoBuddhisPrincipal Tibetan Buddhist sectsNyingma-paKadam-pKagyu-paSakya-paGelug-paFestivalsOfficial holidaysA few cultural considerationsPre-departure preparationTrekking seasonsStyle of treFully supported group treksIndependently organised trips with a local trek operatoCompletely independent travelAccommodation and foodWashingToiletsFoodVisas and permitsChinese visaChinese embassiesNepalese visasNepalese embassiesMoney mattersBanks and ATMsHealth mattersWater sterilisationVaccination suggestionsMalaria prophylaxiOther nasty bugsCommon ailmentsDental careClinicsFirst aid kitMountain sickness/altitudeWhat is altitude sickness?Altitude problems specific to TibetOptions from the pharmacistHyperbaric bag and oxygen cylindersMountain safetyEquipment and suppliesFoodMapsPhotographyGetting thereRoutes into Tibet (via China and Nepal)Flights from China to TibetOverland from ChinaFlights to NepalKathmandu - Gateway to TibetWhat to seeAccommodationEating outLhasaWhat to seeAccommodationUsing this guideNotes on trekking and road routesAltitudes, distances and timingsAlternative namesMilestonesPricesApproach routes to Kailash1 From Simikot: the trekking routeStage 1 Simikot to Tuling (Masigaon)Stage 2 Tuling to KermiStage 3 Kermi to YangarStage 4 Yangar to MuchuStage 5 Muchu to YariStage 6 Yari to SherDrive to PurangStage 7 Purang to Lake Manasarovar/DarchenAlternative return trek route from Sher to Simikot2 From Kathmandu to Kailash (Darchen) (by road)Kathmandu to KodariKodari/Zhangmu to NyalamXixapangma trekking routesXixapangma south approachNyalam to Tara Tso day hikeNyalam to SagaSaga to ParyangParyang to Lake Manasarovar/Chui GompaLake Manasarovar to Darchen3 From Lhasa to Kailash (by road)The Kailash Kora trekDarchenStage 1 Darchen to Chuku monasteryStage 2 Chuku monastery to Driraphuk monasteryDay hike to Kangyam GlacierStage 3 Driraphuk to Shabje Draktok, via Drolma LaStage 4 Shabje Draktok to Zutrulphuk monasteryStage 5 Zutrulphuk to DarchenOther treks in the Kailash region1 Darchen Day WalksDarchen ridge walkGyangdrak monasterySerlung monastery2 Inner Kora3 Lake ManasarovarLake Manasarovar Circuit TrekStage 1 Chui monastery to HorStage 2 Hor to Seralung monasteryStage 3 Seralung to Trugo monasteryStage 4 Trugo monastery to Gossul monasteryStage 5 Gossul monastery to Chui monasteryChui village ridge walk4 Lake Rakhas Tal5 TirthapuriThe Guge kingdomBrief history and cultural aspectsThe southern route to GugeLake Manasarovar to TolingToling monasteryToling to TsaparangTsaparangA walk from TsaparangOther hikesThe northern route from Guge to DarchenToling to DarchenReturn to Kathmandu or LhasaDarchen to ParyangParyang to SagaSaga to SangsangSangsang to ZhangmuXegar (Shagar)Qomolungma National ParkThe last wordAppendix 1 BibliographyAppendix 2 Glossary of Bon and Buddhist deitiesSignificant Tibetan Bon deitiesSignificant Tibetan Buddhist deitiesOther definitionsAppendix 3 Route summariesTrekking routesRoad routesAppendix 4 Language hints (Tibetan and Chinese phrases)General phrasesOther useful wordsFoodNumbersAppendix 5 Films and musicFilmsMusicAppendix 6 Useful addresses/websitesTour operators in the UKTour operators in NepalTour operators in Lhasa and ChengduOther websitesOther Chinese embassies
Sian Pritchard-Jones and Bob Gibbons met in 1983, on a trek from Kashmir to Ladakh. By then Bob had already driven an ancient Land Rover from England to Kathmandu in 1974 and led overland trips across Asia, Africa and South America as well as decrepit old tourist buses around India. He had also lived in Kathmandu as a trekking company manager. Before they met, Sian had worked in computer programming and systems analysis, but her heart had always been in the Himalayas, after a trip there on her way back from working in New Zealand.Since they met they have been leading and organising treks in the Alps, Nepal, Algeria and Niger; they have hitched across Tibet, driven a busload of over-50s overland to Nepal, explored the Sahara and driven across Africa to Gabon. Some of this was real work, but luckily that 'proper job' has not materialised. A journey by slightly less ancient (only 21 years old) Land Rover from England to Cape Town, provided the basis for the fourth edition of the Bradt guide Africa Overland. In complete contrast Sian and Bob have since updated the Bradt guides to the Maldives and the Cape Verde islands.However, they regularly return to their first love, Kathmandu and the Himalayas, where they work with Pilgrims Publishing in Kathmandu. For Pilgrims they have produced a cultural guide to the valley - Kathmandu: Valley of the Green-Eyed Yellow Idol - as well as new books on the monasteries of Ladakh (Ladakh - Land of Magical Monasteries) and a cultural, historical overview of the Guge kingdom (Kailash and Guge - Land of the Tantric Mountain).