Frequently Asked Questions
01 : ELIGIBILITY TO JOIN THE INDIAN KAILASH YATRAS
Who are eligible to join or undertake the Indian Kailash Yatras?
All Indian people holding valid Indian passports are eligible to join the Yatra.
Is it mandatory for all non-resident Indians (NRIs holding foreign passports) as well to join the Indian Kailash Yatras?
No, it is not mandatory at all. The NRIs are not the Indians. They are actually foreign passport holders as good as other foreign nationals like Russian, French, American (US), Malaysian and so on. So, all NRIs are free to undertake Kailash Yatras/tours on an exclusively private tour basis. This way, it is cheaper, more private and more comfortable. So, all NRIs are free to unertake any Kailash tours/yatras with any of the private agents in Tibet and their counterparts in Nepal.
It is mandatory only for all Indian nationals holding Indian passports.
Why is it mandatory for all Indian passport holders to undertake the Kailash tours/yatras exclusively through the China India Pilgrimage Service Centre (CIPSC) or the agents authorized by the CIPSC?
It is because CIPSC has been given monopoly authority by the Tibet Tourism Bureau to organise all Yatras going to Kailash (Ngari Prefecture as a whole) with the Indian people. In other words, all tours/yatras with the Indian people going to Kailash (Ngari Prefecture) should be operated through CIPSC or its authorized agents only.
Are the Indian Kailash Yatras more expensive because of the CIPSC's monopoly authority?
Obviously, when there is monopoly, everything gets more expensive. Comparatively, all Indian Kailash Yatras are more expensive than those of similar tours operated by the private travel agents.
Is it also true that all participants of the Indian Kailash Yatras are required to eat in the fixed kitchen with the fixed menu by the CIPSC?
Yes, it is true effective from June 2018. However, our best efforts are going on for the liberalization in this regard with the concerned authority in Tibet.
02 : DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF YATRA
How do you categorize the difficulty level of the Kailash Yatra?
It is very important to know the level of difficulty of Yatra before you book/undertake the Kailash tour/yatra. Actually, the level of difficulty of this Kailash Yatra ranges from moderate to strenuous. Its difficulty level is moderate in the beginning and gets strenuous in the middle of the Yatra when the parikrama (circumambulation) around Mt Kailash takes place taking you to the height of 5,650 m at the pass called Drolma La.
This pilgrimage is not an ordinary one. It is adventurous and challenging because the Yatra takes place on the world’s highest plateau called Tibet. Its average height is 4,000 m involving 5,560 m high pass during the journey. In this context, there is a high chance of catching high altitude sickness because of low level of oxygen due to the atmospheric pressure. So, first of all, you need to be fit and fine in terms of your health and physique. Next, equally important is your both physical and spiritual commitment and devotion for the completion of the Yatra.
To overcome the problem of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), please do read our travel information on Tibet tours. It helps a lot.
03 : ACCOMMODATION IN YATRA
What type of accommodation is provided on the Yatra?
As per itinerary, in Nepal side, specifically, in the urban areas hotels are good. In Tibet side, hotels on the Lhasa (capital of Tibet) side are also good with a choice of 3 - 5 star hotels in Lhasa. However, if you are undertaking our 13 days Kailash Yatra bothway by overland (via Kerung), there are basic guest houses with common bathrooms/toilets in most of places in Tibet side as follows.
|Kathmandu||3 to 5 Star Hotels|
If you are undertaking other Kailash tours with helicopter, the hotels we envisage to provide are as follows.
|Nepalganj||Hotel Sneha (4 star)or similar|
|Taklakot||3 Star Hotel (Best available)|
|In rest of the places||Guest Houses (including kora)|
Or, if you are undertaking Kailash tour with Lhasa, the hotels we envisage to provide are as follows.
|Shigatse||3 Star Hotel (Best available)|
|Gyantse||3 Star Hotel (Best available)|
|Lhasa||3 - 5 Star Hotels|
|Ali||3 Star Hotel|
|In rest of the places||Guest Houses (incl. kora)|
Please note that all accommodation will be on twin sharing basis. So, if anyone wishes to use single room, there shall be an extra cost for the single rooms.
04 : MODE OF TRANSPORT
What type of vehicles or mode of transport is provided during the Kailash Yatra?
Particularly, for the 13 days Kailash Yatra by overland, we provide a good bus/coach from Kathmandu to Kerung and accordingly a good air conditioned bus/coach is provided in Tibet throughout the tour.
However, we also provide private 4WD jeeps in Nepal and Tibet upon request at an extra cost. But, as the road is excellent in the Tibetan side, 4WD jeeps are not required at all. Please note that a bus with all participants in group is more enjoyable than a few people in a jeep.Importantly, especially in the peak of monsoon season, the road between Kathmandu to Kerung may not be in order due to landslides. In that case, 4WD jeeps are used at an extra cost which will be given when we give our cost with details later.
05 : FOOD DURING THE YATRA
What type of food and water is served throughout the Yatra?
Specifically, kindly note that effective from June 2018, in all Kailash tours operated with the Indian clients are required to take food in the kitchen fixed by the China India Pilgrimage Service Centre (CIPSC) in the hotels/guest houses in each overnight place as fixed by the itinerary. The food is fully vegetarian and reasonably of good quality comprising fresh vegetables, rotis, pastas, noodles and so on.
Boiled water will be provided throughout the tour. However, bottled mineral water can also be purchased in all places easily.
06 : CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
What are the clothing and accessories recommended for the Yatra?
As Tibet is cold even in summer with an average height of 4,000 m requiring you to pass the high pass of 5,650 m (Drolma La), it is highly recommended to take following warm clothing and accessories with you to keep you warm and comfortable enough throughout the Yatra.
LIST OF CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
|SUN HAT||WOOLEN SOCKS|
|SUN BLOCK LOTION||COTTON SOCKS|
|SMALL RUCKSACK||TREKKING BOOTS|
|PERSONAL MEDICAL KIT||SPORTY SHOES|
|SWISS KNIFE||SLEEPING BAG (personal better)|
|WINDSHEETER||UNBREAKABLE WATER BOTTLE|
|SWIM SUIT||WOOLEN CAP (Monkey cap)|
|WOOLEN SWEATER/JUMPER||THERMAL UNDER WEARS|
What are the accessories do you provide us for free for the tour?
We provide a doffelbag, a backpack and a woolen cap for free and a down jacket on hiring basis for the Kailash Yatra.
If we don’t like your down jacket, can we buy a better jacket or rent it in the market in Kathmandu?
Yes, of course. You can either rent it or buy it in our market in Kathmandu. There are a plenty of choices. If you wish to have assistance from our staff, please feel free.
Note: Many of above items can be easily bought or hired in Kathmandu. It is not necessary to bring all the way from your home country.
07 : HEALTH & FITNESS
Are we required to undergo health test for the Kailash Yatra?
No, you aren’t. Although there is no mandatory requirement of undergoing health test by the authorized doctors, all participants of the Yatra are requested to consult your doctor before booking or buying the Kailash Yatra Package. It is because the Yatra involves traveling in the high altitude area where the average height is more than 4,000 m and where there is a high chance of catching high altitude sickness that could be fatal if the timely proper care is not taken.
Also, it is most advised to start fitness exercises like jogging, brisk walking, yoga, pranayama and dhyan well before a couple of months.
08 : AGE LIMIT
Is there any age limit for the Kailash Yatra?
Actually, 70 years has been prescribed by the Tibetan Authority as the age limit for the Indian pilgrims. However, it is not strictly adhered. Pilgrims with the maximum age of 75 have also been given permission for the Yatra. So, if there are anyone with higher age, please do write to us. We will try our best to get the permission.
This specific age limit is applicable exclusively for the Indian pilgrims going to Kailash only. For other nationalities, there is no age limit as such so far.
09 : GROUP SIZE
How many people can normally travel in a group?
The minimum size of group is 25 persons. It is an ideal size. However, sometimes there are more than 25 people in a group in the case of a group led by a renowned Gurus/Pundit/Swami jis. They all wish to join the group no matter how big the group is. They want to do the puja or havan together; or listen to the Swami ji/Guru together. In such cases, the groups can be bigger.
Can the group choose their own date of departure and travel in a separate private group?
Yes, they can. The condition is that the group must be over 25 persons in minimum. They can travel in one group privately.
10 : ASTAPAD
Is Astapad included in all the Kailash Yatra?
Normally, Astapad is not included in the Kailash Yatra. It is more challenging than the normal Kailash parikrama. Besides, it is not included because there is no certainty of permit for the Astapad. The Astapad visit is stopped by the Chinese Government time and again. So, what we do is that if it is open, we take those who are interested to Astapad and Nandi Parvat at a nominal extra cost of Rs 3,000 per person.
11 : ROLE OF FULL MOON
Why many people prefer to visit Kailash during the full moon?
It is because many festivals take place in Tibet on full moon day and night. Especially, Saga Dawa festival, the holiest of all, takes place on the full moon day. Likewise, many like to perform puja and havan in Manasarovar in full moon. The view of Mt Kailash gets fantastic in full moon night. Equally parikrama (kora) around Mt Kailash is more enjoyable in full moon.
12 : KORA (Parikrama or Circumambulation)
What is the difference between the outer kora and inner kora?
The outer kora denotes the parikrama of the Kailash Parvat as a whole, while the inner kora denotes the parikrama of the Nandi Parvat. Comparatively, the inner kora is harder than the outer one. So, we do not recommend people over 60 to do the inner kora as it requires more stamina.
The permit of outer kora is always open, whereas the permit of inner kora is subject Govt. permission every time.
How many hours do I have to walk during Parikrama (kora) each day?
In average, first day: 4-5 hours, 2nd day: 7-8 hours and 3rd day: 3 hours during the Parikrama.
Can we do the kora by a horse or pony?
Yes, you can. You can hire a horse at Tarboche (Yamadwar) at an extra cost of around Rs 15,000 per horse for 2½ days (subject to change). You can directly pay to the horse owner and do the kora. Its cost is not included in our cost.
If I want to skip the Parikrama (kora), is it possible?
Yes, it is. After your visit to Yama Dwar, the group will proceed for kora and you will be taken back to Darchen by our staff and keep you in the guest house with all meals until the group rejoins you on the 3rd day afternoon.
Is it mandatory to have Parikrama (kora) in all the Kailash Yatras?
No, it is not. The Kailash Yatra can also be done by skipping Parikrama. It all depends on the decision of the group. The itinerary can be fixed without having Parikrama right from the outset. We have been organizing the Yatra without Parikrama as well from time to time as per the requirement of the groups. So, please feel free to book the tour without the Parikrama as well.
13 : TIBET VISA PROCESSING
How do we process Tibet/China visa for the Kailash Yatra?
First of all, all Indian pilgrims going to Mt Kailash are required to apply for the Tibet visa in the Chinese Embassy based in New Delhi. All visa processing jobs are our responsibility. You only have to send the color scanned copy of your passports to us (Lalima Travels Pvt. Ltd., Kathmandu, Nepal) in advance of 2 months in minimum. Then, we send all your passport details for the needful visa processing to Lhasa well in advance. It takes almost a month for the visa processing. Then, we receive the visa invitation letter from the Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) against which we apply for Tibet visa in the Chinese Embassy at New Delhi along with the duly filled in visa application forms with your photo along with your original passports. The original passports are a must for the visa application. It again takes 3 full visa working days in obtaining the visa from the Embassy. So, you are required to send your original passports by courier to our Delhi agent at least 2 weeks before the date of departure for Kailash from Nepal. Our Delhi agent's address is given later during the time of booking.
Later, after the receipt of Tibet visa, your passports will be sent to Kathmandu or Nepalganj as per your package and handed over to you before departure for Kailash.
Please note the Tibet/China visa is a group visa and given in a separate sheet of paper in the form of a list of all participants with passport details. There shall be no visa stamp in your passports.
All participants with passports issued in India are regarded as the Indian passport holders, while if the Indian passports happen to be issued in the foreign country based Indian Embassies/Consulates, they are treated as the foreign nationals and required to pay as a foreign national or NRIs.
So, NRIs and the foreign nationals joining the Kailash Yatra are required to arrive in Kathmandu well in advance of at least 3 working days so as to enable us to collect your original passports and apply for the Tibet visa in the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Your earlier arrival enables us to obtain your Tibet visa on time with a minimum of hassles.
14 : MONEY EXCHANGE
Can we use Indian currency for our personal expenses in Tibet?
No, you can’t. The Indian currency is not accepted in Tibet/China. You can get your Indian money exchanged into Chinese Yuan either in Kathmandu or at the border of Kerung. If the Yuan is in excess after your return in Kathmandu, we will get them exchanged back into the Indian Rupees.
15 : MOBILE PHONE AND WI-FI FACILITY
How is the communication facility during the Kailash Yatra?
Communication facilities are very good in Tibet. Mobile phone (GSM) with 4G facility is easily available. You can buy Chinese SIM cards easily at Kerung or in the major townships en route and use the mobile with 4G facility easily, except in the kora (parikrama) area.
Wi-Fi facility in all tourist standard hotels is available. Especially in the Kailash side, all guest houses and hotels en route, except in Kora (Parikrama) area do provide Wi-Fi facility. However, Google, Whatsapp, Facebook and Viber do not function in Tibet/China, but Wechat does.
16 : ELECTRICITY & MOBILE CHARGING FACILITY
What is the situation of electricity and mobile charging facility en route to Mt Kailash?
Electricity with 220 v is available in all townships en route to Mt Kailash like Syabrubesi, Kerung, Saga, Dzongba, Paryang, Manasarovar, Darchen and Taklakot, but not in the kora (parikrama) area where solar light is provided with mobile and other gadgets charging facility from 6 pm to 10 pm only.
17 : PAYMENT
How can we make payment to your company?
You can make payment through following modes.
AA. THROUGH BANK TRANSFER
SWIFT transfer is the safest mode of payment. Our banker’s details are given below for the SWIFT transfer.
For the payment in INR from India to Nepal
A. HIMALAYA BANK LTD. (NO GST CHARGE)
Tridevi Marg, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Account Name: Lalima Travels Pvt. Ltd.
NPR Account No. Swift code: Details Here:
For the payment in USD from the rest of the countries, except India
B. HIMALAYA BANK LTD. (NO GST CHARGE)
Tridevi Marg, Thamel, Kathmandu, Nepal.
Account Name: Lalima Travels Pvt. Ltd.
US$ Account No.: Swift code: Details Here:
BB. THROUGH MONEY TRANSFER
In case of any problem in sending money through bank SWIFT transfer, you can also send the payment through money transfer companies like Western Union or International Money Express (IME) or MoneyGram with an instruction for the direct deposit in our NPR account in Himalaya Bank Ltd as given above.
CC. IN CASH
You can also make payment on your behalf through someone in Nepal who could deposit cash in our bank account (as mentioned above) or pay at our Office in Kathmandu or New Delhi.
DD. THROUGH CREDIT CARD
You can also make payment by credit card. However, kindly note that payment by credit card is subject to 5% service charge by the bank itself. We do not charge any service charges at all.
18 : ALTITUDE SICKNESS - Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
How can we overcome the altitude sickness? Please advise us in detail.
Tibet is known as the ‘roof of the world’ – the highest plateau in the world. The high plain over which you will travel on the yatra to Mt Kailash and Manasarovar is at an average height of 4,000 m and particularly, as you are supposed to over cross a high pass of Drolma La (5,650 m); at such high altitude, there is a chance of having symptoms of mountain sickness. On top of that, although, the most of the yatra is by bus, you are required to walk for 2½ days around the Parikrama of Mt Kailash. The probability of mountain sickness symptoms could be high during the Parikrama. In this context, one should know very well about the symptoms and treatment of altitude sickness well beforehand. So, please read well the information on the AMS and familiarize yourself with the techniques given below in coping with the situation.
ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS (AMS)
At sea level, a whole atmospheric pressure pushes on the air we breathe. As one goes higher and higher, there is less atmospheric pressure pushing on the air we breathe into our lungs. Human bodies experience decreasing air pressure. In other words, it is a lack of appropriate level of oxygen in our body. Until the body has a chance to adapt, one may experience symptoms of mountain sickness mostly over the height of 3,500 m. Different peoples’ bodies adapt or acclimatize differently at a different speed. So, it is natural that everybody is likely to have symptoms of altitude sickness at high altitude.
SYMPTOMS OF AMS
The symptoms of altitude sickness are rather vague, variable and easy to attribute to other causes. However, when you are at high altitude, assume any of the following symptoms is mountain sickness until proven otherwise.
|headache||severe headache||altered consciousness|
|low appetite||irritability||shortness of breath|
|sleeplessness||dry cough||wet cough|
|little urination||coughing blood|
|unable to walk straight line|
IF YOU HAVE ABOVE SYMPTOMS, please follow following instructions:
|i. Rest and do not overexert yourself.|
|ii. Do not go higher. Drink lots of fluids. 4 litre of water a day minimum. Avoid alcohol.|
|iii. Let someone or your room mate frequently know how you are feeling.|
|iv. Try aspirin or paracetamol for headache discomfort.|
|v. Avoid any sedatives, especially sleeping pills or narcotics. These medicines will slow your breathing and worsen the symptoms.|
|vi. Consider use of Acetazolamide (Diamox ) to prevent or treat symptoms.|
|vii. If symptoms are severe or worsening, quickly return to lower altitude.|
|viii. With the help of a physician, consider the use of other medicines such as dexamethasome every 6 hours, nifedipine 10 mg every 8 hour and/or inhale oxygen.|
If AMS symptoms are getting severe, acetazolamide treatment may be beneficial. The dose is 250 mg every 12 hour. This medicine stimulates breathing and therefore helps the body get more oxygen. Acetazolamide especially helps one breathe better at night and hence, helps sleep without causing any sedating effects. Possible side effects of acetazolamide include tingling (pins and needles feeling) of hands, toes or lips, increased urination, and change in taste of carborated beverages. These symptoms are merely annoyances, resolve when the drug is stopped, and do not indicate allergic reaction. Travellers, who have allergies to sulfa antibiotics and have never tried acetazolamide should not take this medicine. Acetazolamide is as sulfa derivative, there is a slight possibility of allergic cross reaction.
PREVENTION (MOST IMPORTANT)
Despite of treating symptoms of mountain sickness after being suffered by it, prior intake of aetazolamide (Diamox) can help prevent or decrease severity of AMS symptoms before they occur. As the overland journey from Kathmandu to Mt Kailash covers much altitude in a short period of time. For example travelling from Kerung to Saga/Dzongba takes you over 4,000 m in one day gaining 1,000 m of altitude. The best way to avoid AMS is to ascend slowly. This is not possible as the next stop at Saga/Dzongba is at a height of more than 4,000 m. Therefore, it is quite reasonable and highly advisable to take 125-250 mg of acetazolamide 2 times per day (every 12 hours) before ascending to high altitude to prevent mountain sickness. In other words, starting Diamox a day before the trip is highly recommended by the doctors in Kathmandu. Diamox may be continued until one acclimatizes or stops going higher. Especially for those people who have been to high altitude before and have had AMS, taking acetazolamide 24 hours before going high is very helpful in preventing altitude sickness. Drinking a lot of water while taking acetazolamide is very important, since acetazolamide makes one urinate more than usual. Most people do just fine at high altitude with nothing more than a few annoying symptoms of headache or shortness of breath. However, being able to identify/know what to do about mountain sickness can help prevent serious problems.
If you follow above instructions, you will be fine throughout with minor problems.
Safety of our valued participants is our prime concern. With this sincere view in mind, in order to ensure high safety for our valued participants, our crew always carry a gamow bag (a portable acclimatization bag)(PAG) which helps a lot in relieving the patients of AMS. Our Sherpa crew members are specially trained and experienced in taking care of the AMS patients with PAG.
Besides, we always provide one portable oxygen bottle (800 ml) to each participant. It also ensures a good stock of oxygen bottles with the group.
On top of these measures, if the group persists in having an experienced medical doctor during the trip, we can also arrange accordingly at an extra cost. If this service is required, kindly inform us well in advance.
A first-aid box is normally provided with the group.
So, for further information and preparation before the trip, please do join our briefing program which is organized before your departure for Mt Kailash and Manasarovar in your hotel. We strongly advise you not to miss it.
WISH YOU ALL A VERY SUCCESSFUL KAILASH YATRA!!