Pilgrimage Journey to Mount Kailash for the Saga Dawa Festival

7th May – 23rd May 2019

With Sisse Budolfsen & Alex d’Artois

We invite you to take part in experiencing one of the most authentic living traditions in the world, namely the Buddhist culture of the Himalayas, on a pilgrimage journey to the holy land of Tibet. The countless blessings from the accumulation of merit of the many yogis and yoginis who have practiced the path of awakening here for centuries, seep out of every monastery and shrine in Tibet. On this pilgrimage journey we travel to Mount Kailash in the Western part of the country, regarded by Tibetan Buddhist masters in the Himalayan region as one of the holiest mountains on our planet.


The Pilgrimage Journey in a Nutshell

We start the journey in Kathmandu where everyone gathers. After spending two nights here we continue the journey onward to Lhasa. Just half a century ago, very few foreigners travelled to travel to Tibet. Today, it has opened up very rapidly, yet in spite of this exposure to the outside world, it has kept its sacredness and authenticity very much alive; This is a living tradition of awakening the heart of compassion. We will spend a few days acclimatizing in Lhasa, before we head West toward Gyantse, Shigatse, Saga, Chiu Gompa and finally, to Mount Kailash where we will do the three-day kora. We return to Nepal south of Saga and will travel overland into Nepal via the new border crossing between Tibet and Nepal.


Alex d’Artois, Co-Director & Facilitator

Originally from Canada, Alex has been based in Nepal for the last number of years and has in-depth knowlege on the many sacred sites of Nepal and the Himalayas.

Alex has studied Buddhist philosophy at a University based out of a Tibetan monastery in Kathmandu and is therefore familiar with a classical Tibetan learning environment. At the same time, Alex’s studies in Tibetan Buddhism have stemmed from a psychological/’mind-training’ interest, which comes out in his approach to meditation, philosophy, and various cultivation practices from the rich Tibetan Buddhist wisdom tradition.

Sisse Budolfsen, Co-Director & Facilitator

Thanks to a wealth of experience in Nepal and in the Himalayan region, Sisse is a knowledge gateway between Asia and the West. For the last twelve years, Sisse has been traveling to Nepal and Tibet. Sisse is originally from Denmark.

Ten years of experience with meditation practice and for the last years, guiding meditation at the Himalayan Buddhist Meditation Center (HBMC) in Kathmandu, combined with local experience as a freelance consultant for various international organisations, her studies of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language, as well as working as a travel guide in the Himalayan region are the basis of her expertise to found Himalayan Hermitage. Sisse is the founder, as well as photographer and facilitator of Himalayan Hermitage.

There is no prerequisite for joining a pilgrimage, nor is it required to have any knowledge or experience with the practice of meditation. Simply, to have the wish to go deeper with one’s mind, and to have curiosity regarding its functions is enough. There is nothing religious about the practice of meditation or in visiting sacred places. In fact, there is nothing even Buddhist about it! The idea of pilgrimage here means that while we are exploring sacred sites, we are also investigating ourselves with a ‘tried & true’ internal/contemplative process called meditation. The practice of meditation is simply a tool to bring your mind back to a place of naked awareness, to a place of basic space with yourself and environment. It is simply a technique with which to uncover all the layers of hope, fear, grasping, and judgement that are all such strong habits which cloud the mind. With the practice of meditation we can learn to come back to ourselves, to become familiar with the groundless, unfabricated, and raw quality of reality.


Street life in Kathmandu


Arrival and pick up at Tribhuvan International Airport of Kathmandu. We drive straight to Vajra Hotel and rest till dinner. After dinner there will be an introduction to the pilgrimage journey by your hosts and guides, Sisse Budolfsen and Alex d’Artois.

The majestic Boudha stupa


We have a half day program after lunch, and venture out into Kathmandu, visiting the ancient, holy Hindu temple of Pashupatinath, followed by the Buddhist stupa of Boudhanath. We spend the afternoon getting ready for our next day departure to Lhasa.

The majestic Potala palace, seat of HH. the 14th Dalai Lama


We arrive in Lhasa and go straight to the hotel where spend the afternoon resting before dinner. Lhasa is at an altitude of 3650 meters, so it is important to rest and acclimatize during our first few days.

Monks sitting outside the assembly hall at Drepung Monastery

DAY 4 & 5 – LHASA

In the next couple of days during of our stay in Lhasa we visit the Potala Palace, what used to be the residence of H.H the 14th Dalai Lama, followed by the spiritual heart of Lhasa, the Jorkhang temple.

The following day we visit two of the greatest Gelugpa monasteries of Tibet, Drepung and Sera monasteries, located at the periphery of Lhasa.

Samye Monastery


The following day we venture out of Lhasa to the first ever founded monastery in Tibet, the “unchanging, spontaneously arisen” Samye from the 8th century that hold great importance for the origins of Tibetan Buddhism. On our journey to Samye we drive along the great Yarlung Tsangpo river (Brahmaputra river) and the many willow trees along the banks of the river. We spend the night in Tsetang, near the Yarlung Tsangpo river.


We leave Lhasa and travel Southwest toward Gyantse, our next stay on our way West toward Mount Kailash. This is a ride with beautiful sceneries along the way, and after we have climbed the first pass, we will come to one of the four holy lakes in Tibet, namely the Yamdrok Tso. The turquoise color of the lake is pristine. We spend the night i Gyantse.


After breakfast we travel through farm land from Gyantse to Shigatse on a shorter day’s journey, and spend the afternoon visiting and paying homage to Tashilungpo, residency of the Panchen Lamas. We spend the night in Shigatse.

The vastness of the Tibetan plateau


From Shigatse and morning kora around Tashilungpo, the most important monastery in Shigatse, we travel onto Saga, the last stop before we reach the holy lake of Manesarovar and Mount Kailash.

Chiu Gompa on the hill, where Guru Rinpoche meditated.


We arrive at Chiu Gompa and Lake Manesarovar, and for the first time on our journey we are able to glance upon the majestic Mount Kailash. We camp at the lakeside in tents.


We travel from Lake Manesarovar onto Darchen, the gateway to where the kora around Mount Kailash starts. We spend the night in Darchen.

Mount Kailash behind the clouds


The next morning, we start the kora, and for the coming three coming days we circumambulate the holy mountain. The mountain itself is 6,700 meters high, and the highest point we reach on the kora, Drolma-la pass is be 5,630 meters.

The naked and barren landscapes between Tibet and Nepal


We complete the kora late morning, and travel back to Saga.


This morning we make our journey South to Kyirong – the new border crossing between Tibet and Nepal.

Women carrying weeds on their backs on the road down to Kathmandu


We make our return to Kathmandu. We spend the last night of our pilgrimage journey together in Kathmandu.

‘Early Bird Special’: 3550 USD (see individual journey for deadline date)

Normal price: 3700 USD

Single Supplement: 575 USD


  • All accommodation, meals & transport in Nepal & Tibet
  • Experienced guides & instructors
  • Flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa
  • Healthy, vegetarian meals
  • Daily Dharma talks & introduction to meditation
  • Notebook for journaling during the pilgrimage


  • International flight ticket to Nepal
  • Personal insurance during the pilgrimage
  • Personal visa to Nepal (25 USD for 15 days / 30 USD for 30 days to be purchased upon arrival)
  • Any alcoholic beverage during the pilgrimage
  • Tip to local guide and porters

$3,699.00 $3,550.00

When: 7th May - 23rd May 2019

Instructor: Alex D'Artois & Sisse Budolfsen

Pay a deposit of $500.00 per item
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