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The Oriental Caravan's 

Postcard from Kailash...



Summer 2004


Dear All,

The following are a selection of photos taken on The Oriental Caravan's recent expedition to Tibet and Mount Kailash, the mountain at the centre of the universe...



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Nomad girl, Paryang

The Oriental Caravan's campsite near Mt. Shishipangma

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 Walking on sand dunes en route to Kailash

Chinese writing on the wall that separates this Tibetan pilgrim from the Potala Palace, former seat of the Tibetan Government

click on any image to see it enlarged


Click here for the 2002 Postcard to Mount Kailash

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Dunes en route to Kailash

Gyangtse Kumbum and Palkhor Monastery, Gyangtse

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Sheep near Mt. Shishipangma, the only 8000 metre mountain entirely in tibet Monks presiding over the Saga Dawa festival 


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One of the few remaining original buildings in the Barkhor area of Lhasa

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Chief Caravaneer Phil Colley pauses near Drira Phuk Monastery - with Kailash in the background


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Nomad children at Paryang, en route to Kailash


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Lake Mansarovar shoreline at sunset with Mount Kailash in the distance

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Man on his way for a game of pool
'Ancient Thing Store', Barkhor, Lhasa

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Pilgrims approaching the foot of the Drolma La Pass, Kailash

Room in the grounds of the Potala Palace used, for making the red paint that coats the Palace's walls

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Chinese tourists outside the chapel and private quarters of the Dalai Lama, exiled ruler of Tibet

Mysterious phallus protruding from an upper wall at the Jokhang temple in Lhasa


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Discarded items of clothing at Shiva Tsal as pilgrims symbolically leave their former life behind 'Gamow' bag demonstration - used to treat symptoms of AMS

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Jewel-vomiting Mongoose, Palkhor Monastery, Gyangtse


As part of a project for the pupils of Ingleton Middle School The Oriental Caravan was accompanied on its expedition by young 'Travelling Teddy' Jasper (see below). Arctophiles (bear lovers!) will be pleased to know that Jasper, too, made a successful circumambulation of the sacred mountain and is now safely back in Lancashire...


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Contemplating the journey ahead Jasper reaches for his teacup as he looks out upon a rainy Kathmandu Jasper relaxing near a yak horn  Jasper - urbane and ursine as ever
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Jasper watching the river flow

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Jasper in Lhasa Multi-talented Japsper playing his favourite number 'Ursula's Song'


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Development hoarding near the Potala Palace, Lhasa

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The wonders of digital cameras

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Nomad girl, with oversized sunglasses, at Saga Dawa festival

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Horse near Shishipangma

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Pilgrim attempting to receive spiritual merit by placing his ear at the mouth of the horn  Under construction - multi-armed statue of deity with consort, Gyangtse


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Pair of rare Black-necked Cranes - as lifelong mates the cranes are a symbol of fidelity

Turquoise on sale in Lhasa

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Drira Phuk Monastery, now restored after its destruction in the Cultural Revolution, is one of three small monasteries on the Kailash kora

At 5700m the Drolma La, festooned with prayer flags, is the highest point of the circumambulation and symbolically marks the moment of rebirth

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This chorten marks the start of the Kailash kora or circuit


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The Tarboche flag pole is raised to an upright position each year at the Saga Dawa festival. This year there were problems in its erection, something which is not considered to be a good omen!

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Small scale solar power at a tent restaurant in Paryang

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North face of Kailash Close up of Kailash's north face

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Kailash's north west corner Glacier at the foot of Kailash's north face



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Kailash is also considered to be  the home of the Hindu deity Shiva whose symbol, the trident, is seen here on the Drolma La

The almost straight Tarboche flag pole

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TOC Landcruiser 

TOC signage succumbs to sand
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Will this track become a road around Kailash? Worrying reports suggest there are plans to build a road around this sacred and otherwise almost  pristine place...

The Oriental Caravan will next be making its way through the forests and mountains of the Siberian Altai. We hope you like the photos!


With best wishes 


from Phil and all aboard The Oriental Caravan



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The Oriental Caravan convoy boards the Tsangpo ferry

On our return to Nepal, due to 'road problems' we travelled in style back to Kathmandu... 

(Mouseover for take off!)

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Kailash's northern face

All pleased to have accomplished the Kailash kora!



JAPAN - The Narrow Road to the Deep North: departs 03/10/04

JAPAN - The Land of the Rising Sun: departs 22/10/04, 18/03/05 and 01/04/05

LIBYA - A Caravan across the Acacus: departs 21/12/04 - CHRISTMAS SPECIAL!!!

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             Revised and last updated: November 20th 2013. Links