The Landscape around Lake Gunggyü Tso, Tibet
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The region of Far-West Tibet, known as Ngari, in Tibetan (Ch Ali), is, like the neighbouring Jangtang plateau, one of the least populated parts of the county. Ngari has been earmarked for tourism development and acces will by possible air in 2010 once the new airport is open at Senge Khabab. As of spring 2008, however, access to this region is still only possible through a long overland journey. The most popular roads to Ngari are through Tibet- on the southern route via Saga and Drongpa counties, and the northern route via Tsochen and Gertse counties. Alternative routes are also possible from Simikot in northwest Nepal and from Uttarakhand in India (the latter closed to non-Indian nationals), or from Kashgar in Xinjiang, which can be reached from mainland China, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. At the heart of the region is sacred Mount Kailash, the focal point for most visitors, renowned for its spiritual magnetism and natural beauty. Furthermore, within the canyons and valleys of the upper Sutlej River are numerous ruins of ancient cities that once comrised the kingdom of Guge. A number of temples are still intact and contain exquisite murals and decorative motifs, some dating back more than 1000 years. Close to the Indian border, this area has only recently been opened to western travellers and is well worth including in an itinerary.
In the description which follows, the northern route to Kailash passing through the counties of the upper Indus willbe described first, followed by the southern route from Tsang, the westernroute through Guge, and the north-western route through Xinjiang.