Mt. Kailash pilgrimage trek is one of the most popular Tibetan tour activities. Many travelers come to west Tibet every year to pay homage to the holy mountain. The standard itinerary is 3 days and 52km, which usually enjoy the name of “the big loop”. Unbeknownst to many, there is also a shorter inner kora you can do at Mt. Kailash. Also called the Nandi kora, it is a 30km route that brings you into even greater proximity to Mt. Kailash. Here is a brief introduction to Mt. Kailash Inner Kora by our Tibet travel expert.
Mt. Kailash Inner Kora Details
Mt. Kailash Inner Kora is a route much less traveled than the outer kora. You only need one day to finish the whole circuit. It is said that only the pilgrims who have completed 13 rounds of outer circuits are allowed to do the inner kora, but in reality there is no such regulation. However, the inner kora includes some very challenging cliffs and passes, so be sure that you are in a great physical state before you set out.
The trek will still start from Darchen. You head north following the river and then turn left at the intersection. You will then arrive at the first landmark Selong Gompa. Once past the monastery, you will continue to trek inside the west valley of Mt. Nandi. You soon reach Ashtapad. Meaning “eight steps”, Ashtapad is the place where the first Jain Tirthankara Shri Rishabhadev Bhagwan obtained Nirvana. There, you are standing at the foot of Mt. Kailash and have the natural swastika on its south face right in front of you. You will also see many prayers, the 13 golden chortens, and meditation caves in the distance. If you wish, there is a 10-minute climb you can do that gives you even better viewpoint.
You will then return to Selong Gompa and get on an eastward trail. After passing a 5300m pass you will reach another important landmark, Gyangdrak Gompa. It was founded in the early thirteenth century and it is the first monastery in Mt. Kailash area. You will then return to Darchen and complete the inner circuit.
Important Notice regarding Mt. Kailash Inner Kora as of 2018
There was a car accident that happened on the Mt. Kailash inner kora several years ago. After that, the government decided to close the inner kora citing high safety risks. The ban is still in effect as of 2018, so it is a very unfortunate situation for guests interested in this route. However, the outer kora has always been available. If a pilgrimage trip to Mt. Kailash is your dream Tibetan trip, then our 16 days Mt. Kailash tour is the one tour that you should not miss regardless.