Day 4: Saga to Mt. Kailash

Distance Traveled : Almost 600 kms

Time Traveled : About 8 hours. We left Saga around 8 AM and reached the entrance to Mt. Kailash and Manasa Sarovar around 3:30 PM.

Here is the road map from Saga to Manasa Sarovar and Mt. Kailash :


This was the day we had all planned for, waited for and traveled for : To see Manasa Sarovar and Mt. Kailash.

When we started from Saga, it was a beautiful morning, with lots of blue skies, unlike the previous day. But given that I  had not slept a wink the night before, I  dozed off the moment I got on to the bus. I did have my camera in hand, took my last seat in the bus as usual, but slept through out the day. I would wake up every now and then and say “wow..beautiful” and go back to sleep. So have very few shots till the point we reached Mt. Kailash late in the afternoon.

I remember taking this right after we left the town of Saga.


Looks like we had blue sky even an hour after we left Saga….


I have no idea which place this was …. I woke up, saw this beautiful water body along the road, took a few snaps and went back to sleep….



Around 3 pm, we reached a huge arch, which welcomed us to Mt. Kailash and Manasa Sarovar. After another 30 – 45 mts of travel, our sherpa yelled Manasa Sarovar and we could see a blue strip of water in a distance. All of us woke up and in a short while we reached a huge transit office / point, where we had to change our buses once again.

This was our first view of the Mt. Kailash from the transit point.


All the way from the friendship bridge, the entire ground had traveled in two thirty seater buses. Now all of us got into one huge bus, run by a local businessman and started our journey towards Chui Gompa, where we were schedule to stop for the night. Chui is pronounced as Chu and Gompa means monastery.

The following two photos were taken on the way to Chui Gompa, with Manasa Sarovar in front of Mt. Kailash.


Unfortunately, there was a lot of cloud cover over Mt. Kailash, even thought we had good sun light over the Manasa Sarovar lake itself. Distance between Manasa Sarovar and Mt. Kailash is about 30-40 kms.


This was the location where we stopped to have our bath in Manasa Sarovar. You can see Mt. Kailash a distance in this photo as well. If you had asked for a stone and I did get them for you, then it came from this location.

Having our bath here quite an experience. The good thing was, none of use used any soap or shampoo for our bath, just a water bath. The water was so cold that we took couple of minutes to just get into the water and once in, very quickly poured water on ourselves or took three dips and ran to the bank to dry ourselves.


After that we continued our journey towards Chui Gompa. This road is on the narrow piece of land that separates Manasa Sarovar and Rakshas Tal. Below is a picture of Rakshas Tal, which was on the left side of the gravel road on which we were standing. The road map at the top of this post will give you a better idea of this particular location.

Nature is simply mind boggling. Rakshas Tal is a saline water lake, where as Manas Sarovar is sweet water lake and they are hardly separated from each other by about a kilometer of land. Also, we saw no birds on the Rakshas Tal, where as there were quite a few species of birds on Manasa Sarovar.

According to mythology, Ravana is supposed to have done his penance on the banks of Rakshas Tal.


Looking towards the right from the road above, we could see the Manasa Sarovar. The various shades of blues of these lakes are legendary.

Close up of rain pouring down on the far banks of Manasa Sarovar and close up of the turquoise blue of the lake. It was extremely windy and cold at the point where we had stopped. So we were not allowed to spend any more time here.

This is the view of Mt. Kailash from the same point : Rakshas Tal on the left, Manssa Sarovar to the right and Mt. Kailash straight ahead.

We left the gravel roads and were back on well made roads.  On our way to Chui Gompa once again.

By the time we reached Chui Gompa it was about 5:50 pm. There are a couple of ‘hotels’ (if we can call them that) where we stayed that night. This was the view right in front of our hotel at Chui Gompa .


Various views of small hills that surround the lake.


Close up of the big crack found in the above photograph.


On the left of Chui Gompa, we could see the top dome of Mt. Kailash, which was getting covered with clouds rapidly.


From our hotel, which faced Mansa Sarover, on the left was Mt. Kailash and on the right was this hill range. Setting rays of the sun falling on the mountains, along with dark rainy clouds.


Further to the right was Chui Gompa and right behind that, was Gurla Mandhata, covered in clouds.


The glaciers from Gurla Mandhata and Mt. Kailash are the major source of water that flow into Manasa Sarovar.


Sunset was pretty quick and clouds moved in very fast.


Standing on the banks of Mansas Sarovar was pretty difficult given the cold winds that blow here. So got back to our rooms soon afterwards.

We were all extremely happy to have finally seen Mt. Kailash and Manasa Sarovar that day.  More importantly we were thrilled that that we had enough sun shine for us to have our bath at Mansas Sarovar. It was a long travel day and altitude sickness was getting to everyone. But we did sleep happily in anticipation of our Mt. Kailash parikrama.