This is the story about one of the most impressive moments we have ever witnessed anywhere. "Saga Dawa is an important Tibetan Buddhist festival, held each year on the full moon Day of the fourth lunar month of the Tibetan calendar, to celebrate Sakyamuni 's enlightenment.", that's what every guidebook will tell you. But actually having been there, at that moment it is more like being part of a magic event, something that gets a total grip on all of your senses. So what's going on? Each year, they replace the Tarboche flagpole, a huge pole that stands round of Kailash. People from all over Tibet gather here that Day to attach their prayer flags they brought from home, to pray, and to help erect the flagpole. The flagpole should stand perfectly upright, or else things are not good for Tibet. A Lama leads the whole ceremony from the nearby monastery. It's his job to make it work 'right first time'.
Day of Saga Dawa: People circulate the flagpole that is down on the ground now. They pray and throw 'wind horses' (little pieces of colored paper with Buddhist scriptures on them) into the air. They help to remove last year's prayer flags and attach new ones. As a visitor you are almost forced to follow them as they go around and around, time after time. Along the sides, on the slope of the nearby hills, a lot of people are sitting to watch the 'spectacle' and there are musicians, which play all the time on their horns and symbols.
The flagpole is first erected halfway, using A-structures and ropes. The Lama continually gives instructions on how to do it, when to stop and when to go on. Everyone can help pulling the ropes, that's the 'non-organized' part of it, but there are always plenty of people doing this spontaneously. When they cannot go further using the A-structures, they pause for about half an hour. The Lama sits on the side, and all the time people come to sit in front of them, to talk to him, to give him some gift (mostly some drink!), to ask him for good fortune. They do not 'queue' however, as soon as someone is gone, someone else comes out of the walking crowds - it all seems not organized, but in fact it's a very special way of organization!
Then comes the final part, the last step that has to result in the perfect upright position of the flagpole. A steel cable is attached to two trucks, engines are warmed up, and then, on the sign of the Lama, and they go backward, pulling the flagpole. To be able to control the movement, on both sides of the flagpole people pull ropes too, to prevent it doesn't incline to one or the other direction. Once the trucks start moving, it all goes very fast, the flagpole is moving, the A-structures that were supporting it, fall down, and only seconds later it is all over. And then big magic occurs, the flagpole stands upright, and at that very moment, thousands of wind horses fly into the sky... like an explosion of prayers going to the heavens. You can really feel a sudden great sense of happiness surrounding you.
The next moment, people start incubating the flagpole again, this time to assure themselves the job is well done, and that all is well. We join them in some kind of almost euphoria. Some hours later the place is empty again, except for the tents further away belonging to the people that will spend the night here, maybe to return the next Day, or to do the Kailash parikrama.
The Saga Dawa festival has been held here for the last thousand years... Having been part just once is such a powerful experience.
Day 01: Kathmandu, Arrive (1334m.) in international airport, pick up with a nice flowers garland and transfer to your Hotel.
Day 02: Rest Day/ sight seeing around Kathmandu and evening tour briefings with welcome dinner o/n Hotel.
Day 03: Early morning drive to Kodari. After doing immigration and custom formalities drive uphill to Zhangmu Immigration Post. Complete custom formalities and proceed to Nyalam (3750m). 152 kms, 6 -7 hrs. O/nt.at Guesthouse.
Day 04: Drive from Nyalam to Yak Kharkha ( 4675m). 240 kms, 7- 8 hrs. O/nt. Camp.
Day 05: Drive from Yak Kharka to New Dongba ( 4500m).160 kms, 5 - 6 hrs.O/nt. Camp
Day 06: Drive from New Dongba to Mayumla Phedi ( 4500m). 210 kms. 6-7 hrs. O/nt. Camp.
Day 07: Drive from Mayumla Phedi to Tarbuche Camp (4750m).180 kms. 5/6 hrs.O/nt. Camp.
Day 08: Attend to the Saga Dawa -Camp (This date is the main Sagadawa festival Day attending the Sagadawa festival in Tibet in 2006
Day 09: TARBUCHE - Dirphuk (4,890m.) (6HRS) and Camp
Day 10: Trek Dhirpuk -Zutul Puk 4790m. Domala Pass and descend ti Zuthulpuk (6-7hrs) 22km Camp
Day 11: Trek to 14 KM and 1 hour drive to Mansarovar Lake(4510 m)and camp.
Day 12: Rest Day in Mansarover on the grassland camp
Day 13: Drive to Paryang (4560m.) (7-8 hrs.) 277km. Camp
Day 14: Drive Saga - Nyalam (3800.m.) 336 KM (7-8 hrs.)O/nt at Guesthouse.
Day 15: Drive from Nyalam to Kathmandu. 125 Kms. 5-6 hrs.
Cost include are:
1) Arrival pick up on your arrival day and private transport to your hotel
2) Welcome dinner and trekking briefings.
3) Trekking Guide, Cook, Assistance guide, kitchen helper etc.
4) Trekking permits and Conservation fee
5) Foods 3 times a Day; Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and Tea, coffee etc and boiled water for drinking during the trek.
6) Necessary porters with well equipments
7) All staffs and porters life insurance and well paid salary.
8) Hot Water bag for bed for the guests.
9) For the Guests: Pillow, Waterproof form mattress with extra thin mattress.
10) Porter equipments (Windproof and water proof very warm trouser and Jacket, Warm woolen hat, Sunglass, Woolen gloves, Woolen Shocks, Shoes)
11) First Aid kit.
12) Climbing Dome Tent for the guests.
13) All ground transportations for the staffs.
14) Staff Tent.
15) Porter Tent and Porter mattress.
16) Hotel Harati in Kathmandu according to Programe in BB plan in a/c deluxe garden side room
17) Inner sheets for the Guests.
18) Kitchen Tent.
19) Dinner Tent.
20) Necessary Kitchen Utensils
21) Tables and back folding chairs.
22) Shower Tent, Tools, ground sheet, hot water bucket, Jug, Soap, Towel etc.
23) Toilet Tent, Toilet commot.
25) All Tibet Visa for the staffs and guest.
26) Kodari To Kathmandu private transportations.
27) All private transportations between Airport and Hotel
28) In Tibet transportations by deluxe Toyota land cruiser 4500 with expenses for jeeps & drivers in Tibet.
29) One experienced knowledgeable Tibetan tour guide.
30) All entrance fees of the sightseeing in Tibet.
31) All necessary permits fees of Tibet side for whole trip.
32) Service charge of Tibet side
33) Yaks & yak men for trekking in at Kailash Kora.
34) All grass land fess & ferry fees.
35) All special permits fees
37) All foods,camping gears,camping staffs will be from Nepal
38) Kathmandu to kodari and Kodari to kathmandu private transportation
39) Departure transfer to International Airport from your hotel at your departure time.
Cost Excludes are:-
1) All personnal expenses.
2) Coke, Fanta and Mineral waters.
3) All Alcoholic drinks.
4) Tips for staffs.
5) Personnal travel insurance.
6) Nepal re-entry visa fee.
7) During your stay in Kathmandu your lunch and dinner
B=breakfast, BB=bed-breakfast, BLD=breakfast-lunch-dinner.