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Mt Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour

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Mt Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour

US $ 2300per person



Trip Duration

15 Days

Max Altitude

5680 M

Trip Grade



Best Season

Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival tour is the biggest annual festival in Tibet which is celebrated in Mt. Kailash on the full moon day of the 4th lunar month according to the Tibetan calendar. This festival holds an important place in the Buddhist society of Tibet. This festival is dedicated to Sakyamuni Buddha and his enlightenment. This festival falls on April 15th of the Tibetan Calendar during which Tibetan Buddhists enjoy great fun and excitement.

Saga Dawa Festival celebrates the birth, enlightenment, and death of Lord Buddha who attained Buddhahood at the age of 35. During their death, Buddha instructed his followers to obey his practices and teachings to celebrate his nirvana rather than crying and mourning for his death. This is why the Saga Dawa festival is celebrated with great happiness and victory.
If you visit Tibet during this time, then not only Mt. Kailash but the rest of the other parts also indulge in festive life. You can participate in the crowd of Dzongyab Lukhang Park at the foot of Potala Palace which is like a picnic and is organized annually. Similarly, in Jokhang Temple also a lot of people gather and celebrate this day.
Saga Dawa Festival Tour begins from sightseeing in Kathmandu city. The guided tour to Mt. Kailash provides you the best of Nepal by taking you around the UNESCO Listed World Heritage Sites of Kathmandu valley. You will explore Pashupatinath, Swayambhunath, Bouddhanath, etc., and make your Kailash Pilgrimage tour more exciting.

After short sightseeing in the city, we will drive inside the Langtang National Park and reach Kerung by crossing the Nepal-Tibet border and arrive at Kerung. From Kerung, we will drive alongside the villages such as Saga, Manasarovar, Darchen, etc. with the stunning glimpse of sacred Mt. Kailash, Mt. Gurula-Mandala, Manasarovar Lake, Rakshas Lake, etc.

From day 9, we will start our 3 days long Kailash Kora. The major attractions of the Saga Dawa Festival Tour include the sacred peak of Kailash, Holy Lake of Manasarovar, the highest pass of Drolma La, Milarepa Cave, etc.

Saga Dawa Festival Tour has been celebrated in Mt. Kailash for the last 1000 years. Participating in this festival just once in a lifetime is such a wonderful experience which can't be replaced by any other tours. Greater Himalaya has been organizing this tour for several years. We will arrange the Saga Dawa Festival Tour with our experienced guides and staff to make your pilgrimage tour successful. Please register your seat and join us for this cultural and adventurous journey.

Saga Dawa Festival Celebration

During the Saga Dawa Festival tour, you can witness Tarboche Flagpole being replaced. People from all around Tibet and other countries join this festival by carrying small prayer flags and they attach them with big flags. The Lama from the nearby monastery recites the mantras which make this festival more wonderful to watch. People walk around the flagpole by burning juniper branches. From the flagpole, all the old flags are removed and new ones are added.

Visitors attach their flags on the flagpole and receive blessings from the pole. After the replacement of the flags, the flagpole is re-set to its upper position. The flagpole is 25m long and it is believed that it should be placed straight upright and if it bends only a little, then Tibet will be in trouble. During this time, some people join the procession of monks by walking around the flagpole and some people take the 52km Kora around Mt. Kailash.

Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour Highlights

• Strolling around the bustling tourism hub of Nepal - Thamel and Indra Chowk (Ason)

• Exploring the UNESCO Listed World Heritage Sites and stepping inside its historical palace

• Crossing the Friendship Bridge via Rasuwagadhi border

• Stunning views of Langtang and Ganesh Himal from Kerung town

• Enjoying the glimpse of Mt. Kailash, Mt. Gurula-Mandala, and Rakshas Lake

• Taking continuous 3-days of kora at the holy land of Mt. Kailash

• Crossing the high challenging pass - Drolma La Pass

• Participate in Mantras chanting, Cham dances, and other religious activities

• Explore Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar Tour during Saga Dawa Festival

• Be part of Tarboche Flagpole replacement and walk around the pole by attaching the new flag

• Explore vibrant communities indulge in Tibetan arts, crafts, history, culture, tradition, and lifestyle.

• Explore indigenous culture on the Saga Dawa Festival Tour

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Arrival: Kathmandu Nepal > Departure: Kathmandu Nepal


Day 1: Arrival at Kathmandu

Max. Altitude: 1,300m
Overnight at Kathmandu (Hotel)
Meals Included: Dinner

Upon your arrival at Kathmandu's airport, our representatives will help in fulfilling the document's formalities and escort you to the hotel. You can take shower and rest in a hotel.
In the evening, you will be provided with a 'Welcome Dinner' from Greater Himalaya. You will be served authentic Nepalese dishes. If possible, some programs can also be arranged for entertainment purposes. Also, the local guide will briefly explain the following days' Nepal Tour.
Don't forget to chat with the locals by practicing a few Nepali words. This will help you to observe the unforgettable smile on the innocent faces of Nepalese.


Day 2: Kathmandu Sightseeing

Max. Altitude: 1,300m
Overnight at Kathmandu (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Highlights: Pasupatinath, Boudhanath, Swayambhunath & Kathmandu Durbar Square

Today is the important day of our Nepal tour where we will explore the 4 major UNESCO Listed World Heritage Sites of Nepal.

We will start our journey early in the morning by visiting one of the major sacred Hindu temples, Pasupatinath Temple. It lies on the bank of the Bagmati River and God Shiva is worshipped in this temple. Several small and big statues of gods and goddesses around the premises of this temple will help you to calm your soul and mind.

From Pashupatinath Temple, we will head towards Boudhanath Stupa. This stupa is a famous Buddhist shrine that has been home to Tibetan refugees. It is the largest stupa in the world which is 131ft. in height. It is designed in mandala style and was built in the 5th century.

We will also visit Swayambhunath Stupa which is an important religious site for both Hindus and Buddhists. It is also known as 'Monkey Temple'. From the top of this stupa, you can see the beautiful view of Kathmandu city and its surroundings. Also, the flapping prayer flags, murals, Mani walls, Buddha statues, etc. make its surroundings more religious.

After exploring the Hindus and Buddhist sites, we will head towards Kathmandu Durbar Square which is also known as Hanuman Dhoka Palace. This place was ruled by Newari Mallas between the 12th and 18th centuries. We will visit Taleju Temple, Kumari Goddess Temple, Kal Bhairav, Jagannath Temple, King Pratap Malla statue, etc. inside the premises of this durbar square.


Day 3: Drive from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi

Driving Duration: 6-7 Hours (140km)
Max. Altitude: 1,460m (Syabrubesi)
Overnight at Syabrubesi (Guesthouse)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Scenic Drive

Today we will get on Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour through the scenic drive from Kathmandu to Syabrubesi. Syabrubesi is considered the gateway to the Kerung. You will never feel bored throughout the driving journey. You will get a chance to observe the rural villages, fields of rice, maize, and millet, and thrilling roads from the windows of the jeep.

We will stop at Trishuli River for Lunch where you can taste the different dishes. After crossing this river, we will ascend towards Dhunche from where you can get a glimpse of the Ganesh Himal range. After our arrival in Syabrubesi, we will roam around the town and interact with the locals to learn about their way of life


Day 4: Drive from Syabrubesi to Kerung

Driving Duration: 1-2 hour (55km)
Max. Altitude: 3,400m (Kerung)
Overnight at Kerung (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Crossing Nepal-Tibet border & Scenic Drive

From Syabrubesi, we will drive to Rasuwagadhi linking Nepal-Tibet. We will drive to Nepal China Friendship Bridge. Here, we will go through all the immigration formalities on the Nepal side and cross the bridge. After crossing the bridge, we will again complete all the immigration formalities from the China side. Here, we will be received by the Tibet side guide and driver.

After a brief introduction with the guide and driver, we will proceed towards our journey. Bypassing through the beautiful landscape and Tibetan plateau, we will reach Kerung town where we will be spending our night.


Day 5: Acclimatization Day at Kerung

Max. Altitude: 3,400m (Kerung)
Overnight at Kerung (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Panorama of Ganesh and Langtang Himal & Visiting Home of Guru Milarepa

Tibet is the Himalayan kingdom which is located at a high altitude. So, before continuing the journey towards the Tibetan vast plateau, it is crucial to acclimatize by relaxing and undertaking short hiking. Also, Kerung is the perfect place to make our body prepared for an over 4,000m journey as it falls under 3000 m altitude.

So, today we will relax and enjoy the stunning panorama of Ganesh and Langtang Himal bordering Nepal and Tibet. This town is also popular from religious and historical sides as it used to be the home of saint and Guru Milarepa during the 11th century.
Guru Milarepa is known for his tantric wisdom and is popular as a poet and folk singer. His songs are still popular in traditional villages and between herders.


Day 6: Drive from Kerung to Saga

Driving Duration: 4-5 hours (104km)
Max. Altitude: 4,740m (Saga)
Overnight at Saga (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Crossing Thong La & La Lung Passes and Observing Paikutsho & Brahmaputra River

After a warm rest day at Kerung, we will start our journey towards the high altitude. We will make sure to keep the slow pace. Otherwise, it will be hard for our body to adjust to the high elevation.

We will drive to Saga from Kerung town and join the road coming from Zhangmu after an hour of driving. We will drive for around 4-5 hours with a beautiful view of the Tibetan landscape throughout the way.

We will pass through the high hills and a comfortable paved road to arrive at the Saga village. We will climb up and down the passes of Thong La and La Lung before reaching Saga. We will also observe the huge Salt Lake - Paikutsho and the grazing technique of Sheep and Yak adopted by Tibetan, on our way. Also, we will cross the bridge over the Brahmaputra River or the Yarlung Tsangpo.


Day 7: Drive from Saga to Mansarovar Lake

Driving Duration: 5-6 hours (277km)
Max. Altitude: 4,558m (Manasarovar)
Overnight at Manasarovar (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: View of Mt. Kailash, Mt. Gurula-Mandala, and Rakshas Lake

After having breakfast, we will depart from Saga and drive towards Dongba town. We will pass through old and new Dongba and drive for a few hours to Tibetan plains while enjoying the view of giant peaks.

We will continue our journey bypassing a few villages and camps of Yak herders. Then, we will reach Paryang village where there are around 15-20 houses. From here, we will continue our drive over Myam-La-Pass to reach Mansarovar Lake.

Manasarovar is regarded as the highest freshwater lake in the world. It is located at 4,558m of altitude and is greenish-blue in color. It is believed that this lake used to be the relaxing place of Lord Vishnu. This Lake is surrounded by Mt. Kailash, Mt. Gurula-Mandala, and Rakshas Lake.

From this lake, we can enjoy the first glimpse of Mt. Kailash. Also, it is believed that Rakshas Lake was created by evil King Ravana so that villagers believe that the water of this lake is poisonous.


Day 8: Exploring Mansarovar & Drive to Darchen

Driving Duration: 1 hour (30km)
Max. Altitude: 4,575m (Darchen)
Overnight at Darchen (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Performing Puja, Hawan, and Devtarpan, Hot Spring Bath at Chuigumpa, etc. 

Today, we will explore the crowded holy Mansarovar Lake by performing some rituals. We will wake up early in the morning and take bath at the holy lake and perform Puja, Hawan, and Devtarpan. After this, we will take a short walk around the bank of this lake.
In the late afternoon, we will continue our drive towards Darchen town. This town is in front of Kailash. Throughout the way, we will get to enjoy the beautiful view of Mt. Kailash. If possible, we will also enjoy a hot spring bath at Chuigumpa. This town is terribly busy and crowded during the time of Kailash Kora as the holy walk starts and ends from this town. It was known as Lhara during the old days.


Day 9: Witness Saga Dawa Festival at Tarboche & Trek to Dirapuk

Trekking Duration: 5-6 hours (10km)
Max. Altitude: 4,900m (Dirapuk)
Overnight at Dirapuk (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Saga Dawa Festival, View of peaks such as Ape, Kamet, Guru - Mandala, etc.

Today we will drive towards Yamadwar which is located in the small village of Tarboche. We will pack the lunch box for today's journey and reach Tarboche. On our way, we can see the stunning panorama of peaks such as Ape, Kamet, Guru - Mandala, etc. Tarboche is the starting point of the Kailash kora.

Tarboche is the town where the Saga Dawa festival is celebrated in a grand way. You can meet the large number of pilgrims in this town carrying flags and walking around the flagpole of Tarboche. Besides this, we will interact with the locals who are clad in their traditional dresses. Similarly, Cham dance is another attraction of this festival.

Since there will be a huge crowd in this town, remember to follow the guide and don’t roam around without taking permission from the guide. We will also enjoy the ethnic dishes in the Local markets kept by local people to make the festival more exciting. We will place the new flag in the Flagpole and receive the blessing from the monks of the monastery.

After the exploration of the Saga Dawa Festival, we will head towards Yamadwar. At Yamadwar, we will meet our pony caretaker and we will trek towards Dirapuk where we will be stopping for a night.


Day 10: Trek to Zuthul-Puk via Drolma La Pass

Trekking Duration: 8-9 hours (19km)
Max. Altitude: 4,760m (Zuthul-Puk) and 5,470m (Drolma La Pass)
Overnight at Zuthul-Puk (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Crossing Drolma La Pass, Hike to Shiva-tsal, Guru Milarepa’s Cave

Today is the longest trekking day of our Kailash Yatra. Also, it is hardest too as we have to cross the challenging pass. We will start our journey by trekking to Jarok Dongkhang village. From this village, we will hike to Shiva-tsal. It is believed that if people undergo a symbolic death in Shiva-tsal, then they will be reborn again.

Also, rebirth is possible if they arrive at the top of the Drolma La Pass. The big boulder of this pass symbolizes the goddess Dolma or Tara. We will hike to the top of this pass and rest for a while.
Then, we will go down and get to the banks of the Lam-chu Khir River. We will hike alongside this river and reach Khando Sangam La which faces the eastern side of Mt. Kailash. On the way, we can witness the footprint of Lord Buddha.
From here, after walking for a while, we will reach the Zuthul-Puk village. The name of this village has been derived from a popular miracle cave where Guru Milarepa stayed meditating.


Day 11: Trek to Darchen and Drive to Saga

Driving Duration: 6-7 hours (307km)
Trekking Duration: 3 hours
Max. Altitude: 4,740m (Saga)
Overnight at Saga (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Exploring Temples and Caves

Today is the last day of our holy walk at the Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa tour. In the morning, we will stroll around the Zuthul-Puk village and explore temples and caves. After breakfast, we will undertake a short hike of around 3 hours on a flat land filled with flapping prayer flags, Mani walls decorated with carved Yak skulls, murals etc.
After completing Kailash Kora, we will return to Darchen. We will enjoy our lunch here and then drive to Saga village.


Day 12: Drive back to Kerung

Driving Duration: 4-5 hours (104km)
Max. Altitude: 2,700m (Kerung)
Overnight at Kerung (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Scenic Drive

Today is our last day in Tibet. We will enjoy the long drive from Saga to Kerung by following the same route as before. We will spend our leisure time strolling around Kerung town for one last time and observing the lifestyle of the Tibetan people.


Day 13: Drive to Dhunche Town

Driving Duration: 4-5 hours
Max. Altitude: 1,900m (Dhunche)
Overnight at Dhunche (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Glimpse of Ganesh Himal

You will bid goodbye to our Tibetan guides and drivers. You will observe Tibetan Plateau for the last time on this trip. After having breakfast, you will depart from Kerung and start driving towards the Tibet-China border at Rasuwagadhi.
After completing the visa and customs formalities, you will cross the Friendship Bridge. On reaching the Nepal side, you will again go through a visa check to enter the Nepal border. You will meet your Nepalese guide and driver here and drive on a bumpy road to reach Syabrubesi village. From this village, we will again drive uphill and reach Dhunche town where we will be spending our night.


Day 14: Drive Back to Kathmandu

Driving Duration: 5 hours
Max. Altitude: 1,300m (Kathmandu)
Overnight at Kathmandu (Hotel)
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Highlights: Exploring Thamel and Ason Bazaar

Today we will get back to Kathmandu by enjoying the short and scenic drive. On the way, we can observe hills, green vegetation, dense forests, and a stunning panorama of Langtang and Ganesh Himal. We will continue our drive through Trishuli Bazaar and reach Kathmandu. We will check into the hotel and take a rest for a while.

In the evening, you can utilize your leisure time by strolling around the bustling Thamel and Ason Bazaar. These two places are famous shopping destinations for Nepalese. Also, Thamel is popular as a major tourist hub where you can find a substantial number of markets selling local Nepalese products. You can also get an insight into Nepal's arts and architecture from all those small markets.
In Ason Bazaar, you can find clothing, stationery, decorative, household, electronics, etc. items at reasonable prices. If you have forgotten to bring anything needed for a tour from your home country, then you can buy them here. Also, remember to try spicy street foods being sold in Ason.

After a short exploration of nearby places, you will be served authentic Nepalese dishes as Farewell Dinner from the Greater Himalaya side.


Day 15: Departure from Kathmandu

Meals Included: Breakfast

This is the last day of the 15 Days Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa tour. We will bid goodbye and our office representatives will drop you at the airport for a flight to your home country. We hope that you will visit Nepal and other destinations in the future and give us a chance to serve you again in the coming days. Happy Journey!!!


Best time for Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour

The Mt. Kailash trekking is suitable only from April to October. Among these months, the best time for Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour is in May and June because Saga Dawa Festival is celebrated between these two months. Also, during this time, the surrounding of Mt. Kailash is warm and pleasant. The temperature is neither too hot nor too cold. Also, the chances of rainfall are minimal which provides extra beauty to your trip.

During these months, temperature ranges from 5-15°C during daytime and -5-0°C during the night. So, it is essential for you to pack warm clothes.


Permits for Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour

Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival tour is possible only after obtaining the required permits. If you don't have these permits, your entry to Tibet will be rejected by the Tibet Tourism Bureau. You need to have three permits for this tour and they are;

Greater Himalaya will look after all the required permits and application processes, so you don't need to worry about these permits. Just send us all the required documents at least 1 and half months before the tour as it takes a minimum 1 month to obtain all these permits.


1.   Aliens' Travel Permit

You need to have an Aliens' Travel Permit if you want to travel to Ngari Prefecture. Mt. Kailash is in Pulan country of Ngari Prefecture. So, you must obtain this permit.

This permit can be obtained only through the travel agency. They need to have your passport and Chinese visa. It only takes 25-30 minutes to get this permit and it is issued by the Public Security Bureau.


2.   Tibet Military Permit

You need to issue a Tibet Military Permit when traveling to military areas such as Mt. Kailash. It is issued by the Military office in Lhasa.


3.   Tibet Travel Permit


Tibet Travel Permit is mandatory for any foreign traveler to enter Tibet. Also, solo travel to Tibet is not allowed. So, the permit must be issued through a registered travel agency and licensed guide. It takes around 8-9 working days to issue a Tibet visa.


Visa Requirements for Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour


1.   Nepal Visa

To visit Nepal, you need to obtain a Nepal Visa. It is mandatory for every traveler from any country except India. This visa can be obtained after your arrival in Nepal. You just need to submit to us your passport having at least 6 months of validity from the start date of the tour.

If you are planning for cross-country tours, then remember to obtain a multi-entries Nepal visa.


2.   Chinese Group Visa

To travel to Tibet from Nepal, you need to obtain a China Group Visa and Tibet Travel Permit. China Group Visa allows foreign travelers to fly or drive to Tibet. Since you are traveling from Nepal, this group visa will be obtained only from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

It takes around 3 to 5 days to issue this visa. So, we recommend you arrive in Kathmandu in advance.


3.   Tibet Visa

Tibet Travel Permit is mandatory for any foreign traveler to visit Tibet. Also, solo travel to Tibet is not allowed. So, the permit must be issued through a registered travel agency and licensed guide. It takes around 8-9 working days to issue a Tibet visa.

Book your Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival tour with us and we will assist you to obtain a Nepal visa, Chinese Group Visa, and Tibet Visa to provide hassle-free traveling.


Altitude Sickness during Mt Kailash Saga Dawa Festival

During Mt. Kailash Saga Dawa Festival Tour, you will be traveling to towns with an altitude above 4,000m. You will also cross the Drolma La Pass situated at 5,470m. So, there might be a chance of you suffering a bit from altitude sickness in this tour if you haven't traveled to high altitudes before.

However, there is nothing to worry about as the high elevation can be acclimatized in 2 to 3 days. Also, the itinerary prepared by Greater Himalaya has enough time for acclimatization which decreases the chance of altitude sickness. Besides these, our guide will be there to guide and take care of you.

Note: We suggest you practice hiking, take cardio and strength training beforehand of the journey. Also, carry medicines to prevent the chance of suffering from High Altitude Sickness. Remember to drink plenty of water and eat more veggies and carbohydrates.


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