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How to Reach Adi Kailash

Adi Kailash is a remote and sacred mountain in the Himalayas. It is revered as the home of the Hindu Lord Shiva. Each year, hundreds of pilgrims make the difficult journey to pay their respects.

The mountain lies in a barely accessible corner of Tibet, near the Indo-China border. The journey involves crossing high-altitude passes and trekking for weeks through rugged terrain. Planning properly and being physically fit is absolutely essential to reach this mystical destination.

In this article, we will outline the journey, required preparations, and logistics involved in undertaking the Adi Kailash Yatra.

How to Reach Adi Kailash

Getting To The Starting Point

The typical starting point for the Adi Kailash trek is the Indian town of Dharchula. It is located in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand state.

From major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, or Lucknow, you first need to take a train or flight to the city of Kathgodam. From Kathgodam, a 6-7 hour drive through the mountains will get you to Dharchula.

However, Dharchula itself is still over 100 km from the Indo-Tibet border where the actual trek begins. Keep extra days buffered for acquiring permits and making last-minute arrangements.

The Trek Route

From Dharchula, the first leg is a 4-day trek through Indian territory to Nabra village, situated right on the border. This part includes crossing the high-altitude Khaliya Top Pass at 5,578m. After completing permit formalities at Nabra, you enter Tibet and begin the circumambulation of Mount Adi Kailash.

This kora involves trekking for around 52kms over 3-4 days. You will pass through the ancient Chiu monastery and cross the Drolma La pass at 5,630m which is considered the most difficult section.

The trail takes you past sacred lakes and allows viewing of the north face of Adi Kailash. Finally, you complete the kora and return to Nabra to re-enter India.

Physical Requirements

Undertaking the Adi Kailash pilgrimage requires excellent physical fitness. You will be trekking at extreme altitudes ranging from 3,000m to above 5,600m. This makes it imperative to have trained by doing extended treks, cycling, or running regularly for months beforehand.

Getting acclimatized by first doing a few days of easier trekking after reaching Dharchula is highly recommended.

Even experienced trekkers suffer from altitude sickness which can potentially become life-threatening without proper precautions. All participants need to ensure they have sufficient warm clothing, trekking gear, ration, and medical supplies for the 26-day journey.

Paperwork and Permits

As the Adi Kailash trek involves entering Tibet, obtaining the requisite permits is crucial. The process starts with applying for an Inner Line Permit with the district authorities in Dharchula. This allows trekking to the Nabra village on the Indo-Tibet border.

From there, you require a Protected Area Permit arranged through a registered Indian travel agency to enter the restricted region around Adi Kailash in Tibet. These agencies serve as a conduit to coordinate with Chinese officials since individual travelers cannot get this permit.

You'll also need a Chinese visa, minimum travel insurance, and a hired Tibetan guide and support staff. The entire permit process is tedious and it's advisable to have all documentation ready 2-3 months in advance.

Hiring An Experienced Team

Attempting the Adi Kailash trek without professional support is extremely unwise and risky. This is one of the most challenging and remote pilgrimages on the planet. You need to hire an experienced Indian tour operator who specializes in this region.

They will arrange for experienced local guides, support staff, pack animals, ration, high-altitude tents, and equipment.

Having a doctor accompany the group is highly recommended as well. The guides' local knowledge and expertise in managing high-altitude issues are invaluable.

Many reputable operators provide comprehensive packages covering all arrangements from the start point in Kathgodam till the end of the trek.

How to Reach Adi Kailash

Conclusion - Best Way to Reach Adi Kailash

The spiritual draw of Mount Adi Kailash has beckoned pilgrims and seekers for centuries. However, The very difficult journey and dangerous path mean that only the most determined people can complete this sacred trekk to Adi Kailash. Proper fitness, gear, documentation, and professional support are non-negotiable requirements.

Even then, there are no guarantees against excessive altitude sickness or injuries while crossing treacherous high passes and ravines. Many have perished attempting this trek.

Yet the spiritual rewards keep bringing devotees back year after year. Those who do make it around the 52km kora would have experienced something transcendental and life-changing.

For Hindus, it remains the holiest journey - a union with the mighty Shiva at his celestial abode. So start preparing in advance if this calling beckons you.


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