Ngari ( or Shangshung) – West Of Tibet

Mt Kailash on a Starry Night

Northern Face of Mt Kailash on a Starry Night

Ngari is a vast plateau and one of the remotest places in Asia with a thin population of 95, 465, but like any other place, it has its own interesting history kings and kingdoms. Ngari (then Shangshung) is also thought to have ruled over the Tibetan plateau long before Yarlung Dynasty, it is also the birthplace of Bon religion. Many of the traditions of Shangshung have been transmitted across the centuries by both oral and literary means. The regional power was restored in Shangshung when the last Lhasa King, Lang Dharma, was assassinated and one of his son, Namde Wosung, fled to the west, and ruled in the Guge Kingdom at Tsaparang. And like any other remote places’ history, there is involvement of Jesuit missionaries, but apparently didn’t last when the outraged Lamas, with the support from Ladakhis, overthrew the king and imprisoned the Jesuits. The Shangshung kingdom doesn’t have much of its evidence left except for the site marks, but the Guge kingdom’s ruins can still be witnessed in Ngari.

Manasarovar Lake

Manasarovar Lake

When Tibetan and Hindu people talk about pilgrimages and religion, a part of their deepest thought would be around the holy Mt Kailash, located in Ngari, it’s not only the spiritual destination for Hindus and Buddhists, Bons and Jains also come to visit and trek around Mt Kailash, some foreigners tend to take that spiritual trekking of three days too. But for those who are less bothered about the spiritual significance of the peak endless overland trip over the high plateau, Changthang will be trip worth travelling in Tibet.

About 60 km southeast to Mt Kailash, there is Lake Manasarovar, pilgrimage to Hindus and Buddhists, laying at 4590 m of elevation with its turquoise waters and snow-capped mountains, a refreshing sight for the overland trip-worn travelers. The lake has been circumambulated by Hindu pilgrims since around 1700 years ago. Lake Manasarovar is near the source of the Sutlej, which is the easternmost large tributary of the Sindhu. Nearby are the sources of Brahmaputra River, the Indus River. West to Manasarovar is a smaller lake, Rakshas Tal, considered evil as it is home to the demon king Ravanna in Hindu belief.

You will need a quite amount of Tibet travel permits to go to Ngari because it is a political sensitive area and could be as much closed for foreigners at times, but Explore Tibet will organize all these for you within a period of one month. What you will need are warm clothes (even in summer), something lighter to wear (for the sunny and hot daytime) and high SPF protection.