Shiv Tandav Stotram- Story, Meaning and benefits

Shiv Tandav Stotram

Shiv Tandav Stotram (Hindu hymn) is beautifully composed by Ravan, the most knowledgable person on the planet at that time. The stotram is in the Sanskrit language dedicated to our Lord Shiv describing his beauty and power. This is very dear to Shiv and his devotees.

It’s very rhythmic and listening to it takes a person to spiritual ecstasy. This is the most famous Shiv Stuti and is being adopted in several movies and TV serials.  Very high energy positive words are used in the composition praising Lord Shiv. Many people think it is depicting dance form, his unique physical appearance and ornaments only. But, if you read it thoughtfully, it carries a much deeper meaning and takes the reader to the highest knowledge of the supreme.

The words and rhythm are very tough, but you can memorize it if you try to understand with devotion. There is no rule and hindrance. Anyone can sing Shiv Tandav Stotram anytime either for seeking benefits like prosperity and happiness or just like that without any wishes. All you need to have is bhakti bhaav (devotion) for the Lord. This will definitely give you a feeling of eternal bliss and positive vibes.

 

Story behind Shiv Tandav Stotram

Now, let’s understand the legend behind this beautiful composition.

The most popular legend says that Raavan was flying in Pushpak Vimaan(flying chariot) which he won over Kuber (his stepbrother) along with the kingdom of Lanka. He was doing parikrama (circumambulation) of the entire universe on the Pushpak Vimaan. When he came near Mount Kailash, the chariot was stopped itself and he was disturbed by this thought. Mount asked him to change his route as Lord Shiv and Goddess Parvati are resting. But he didn’t listen and got annoyed with Kailash. He got off the chariot and thought he would remove the mountain by his hands. He even succeeded to lift the huge Mount Kailash. That time the entire universe felt intense turbulence as Kailash is believed to be the center of the earth.

 

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In order to teach him a lesson, Lord Shiv pressed Mountain with his toe. So, his hands crushed between Kailash and the land. He cried in immense pain and his crying sound could be heard in all three worlds ie Earth, Heaven(Swarg lok) and Hell (patal lok). The sound is called as RAAV(crying in agony) in Sanskrit. Seeing this Gods and Narad Muni came to him and suggested him to pray upon Lord Shiv as he will surely forgive.  He was stuck in that condition for 14 days singing various  Shiv mantras. Then, on the evening of Pradosh kaal, he chanted the Shiv Tandav stotram with immense devotion in perfect rhythm. His words were magical and could be heard across the universe. Everybody was mesmerized listening to Shiv Tandav Stotram praising Lord Shiv describing his infinite beauty and power.

In the end, Shiv came down and forgave him. After this incident, Shiv gave him the name “RAAVAN”. Earlier he was known by Dashanan (ten-headed man) and after this, he was called by Raavan. Shiv was very happy after listening to Tandav Stotram as it was beautifully composed in perfect rhythm by the most knowledgeable person of 4 Vedas, 6 Upanishads. Also, he was blessed by Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge. Shiv then gifted him “Chandrahas” sword. Chandra means Moon and has means smile. The sword is in Moon crescent shape which is indestructible. This is how Raavan composed and gave a gift of Shiv Tandav Stotram to the universe.

Benefits of Shiv Tandav Stotram

As per Shastras, ALL can worship Shiv. There is no rule, anyone from any caste or gender can chant the Shiv Tandav Stotram anytime. The only qualification is Bhakti (devotion). The benefits of reciting Shiv Tandav Stotram are miraculous. It gives you the power, mental strength, happiness, prosperity and a lot more. More than all these, you will definitely get Shiva’s blessings on you. If you just listen to the song with full devotion, you can surely feel the presence of Shambhoo in you. This is the most energetic and powerful composition I have heard and I bow down to it.

All the Sholkas used here define different qualities of Shiv. Listen to it as some collection of secret positive words to open hidden doors for you. If you listen and recite it, then the magic will surely spill on you.

Here is some part of the meaning

"I have a deep interest in Shiva
Whose head is glorified by the rows of moving waves of the celestial Ganga river,
Which stir in the deep well of his hair in tangled locks.
Who has the brilliant fire burning on the surface of his forehead,
And who has the crescent moon as a jewel on his head."

I know its bit tough, but learn the meaning of complete Stotram to understand different dimensions of Shiv. Close your eyes, visualize Lord Shiv along with every line of the Sholka with full devotion. And then surely you will feel a step closer to Shiv or oneness with Shiv.

It can be listened and chanted anytime but Pradosh Kaal (around 1 hour before and after sunset) is termed as the most beneficial as Raavan did it during these hours. It will cleanse your mind and give you spiritual powers. But remember, Bhakti is the only qualification. So, don’t do it for the sake of benefits only. Rather, do it without expectations with Vairagya bhaav. Shiv has said, anyone who reads, recites and remembers this stotram will be purified forever.

Tandav Stotram song and lyrics

 

 

If you want to read in English and learn the meaning, then please check out this link- Shiv Tandav

If you can read Sanskrit, in which actual Stotram was sung, then here is the lyrics.

 

जटा टवी गलज्जल प्रवाह पावितस्थले, गलेऽवलम्ब्य लम्बितां भुजङ्ग तुङ्ग मालिकाम् |
डमड्डमड्डमड्डमन्निनाद वड्डमर्वयं, चकार चण्डताण्डवं तनोतु नः शिवः शिवम् ||१||

जटा कटा हसंभ्रम भ्रमन्निलिम्प निर्झरी, विलो लवी चिवल्लरी विराजमान मूर्धनि |
धगद् धगद् धगज्ज्वलल् ललाट पट्ट पावके किशोर चन्द्र शेखरे रतिः प्रतिक्षणं मम ||२||

धरा धरेन्द्र नंदिनी विलास बन्धु बन्धुरस् फुरद् दिगन्त सन्तति प्रमोद मानमानसे |
कृपा कटाक्ष धोरणी निरुद्ध दुर्धरापदि क्वचिद् दिगम्बरे मनो विनोदमेतु वस्तुनि ||३||

लता भुजङ्ग पिङ्गलस् फुरत्फणा मणिप्रभा कदम्ब कुङ्कुमद्रवप् रलिप्तदिग्व धूमुखे |
मदान्ध सिन्धुरस् फुरत् त्वगुत्तरीयमे दुरे मनो विनोद मद्भुतं बिभर्तु भूतभर्तरि ||४||

सहस्र लोचनप्रभृत्य शेष लेखशेखर प्रसून धूलिधोरणी विधूस राङ्घ्रि पीठभूः |
भुजङ्ग राजमालया निबद्ध जाटजूटक श्रियै चिराय जायतां चकोर बन्धुशेखरः ||५||

ललाट चत्वरज्वलद् धनञ्जयस्फुलिङ्गभा निपीत पञ्चसायकं नमन्निलिम्प नायकम् |
सुधा मयूखले खया विराजमानशेखरं महाकपालिसम्पदे शिरोज टालमस्तु नः ||६||

कराल भाल पट्टिका धगद् धगद् धगज्ज्वल द्धनञ्जयाहुती कृतप्रचण्ड पञ्चसायके |
धरा धरेन्द्र नन्दिनी कुचाग्र चित्रपत्रक प्रकल्प नैक शिल्पिनि त्रिलोचने रतिर्मम |||७||

नवीन मेघ मण्डली निरुद् धदुर् धरस्फुरत्- कुहू निशीथि नीतमः प्रबन्ध बद्ध कन्धरः |
निलिम्प निर्झरी धरस् तनोतु कृत्ति सिन्धुरः कला निधान बन्धुरः श्रियं जगद् धुरंधरः ||८||

प्रफुल्ल नीलपङ्कज प्रपञ्च कालिम प्रभा- वलम्बि कण्ठकन्दली रुचिप्रबद्ध कन्धरम् |
स्मरच्छिदं पुरच्छिदं भवच्छिदं मखच्छिदं गजच्छि दांध कच्छिदं तमंत कच्छिदं भजे ||९||

अखर्व सर्व मङ्गला कला कदंब मञ्जरी रस प्रवाह माधुरी विजृंभणा मधुव्रतम् |
स्मरान्तकं पुरान्तकं भवान्तकं मखान्तकं गजान्त कान्ध कान्त कं तमन्त कान्त कं भजे ||१०||

जयत् वदभ्र विभ्रम भ्रमद् भुजङ्ग मश्वस – द्विनिर्ग मत् क्रमस्फुरत् कराल भाल हव्यवाट् |
धिमिद्धिमिद्धिमिध्वनन्मृदङ्गतुङ्गमङ्गल ध्वनिक्रमप्रवर्तित प्रचण्डताण्डवः शिवः ||११||

स्पृषद्विचित्रतल्पयोर्भुजङ्गमौक्तिकस्रजोर्- – गरिष्ठरत्नलोष्ठयोः सुहृद्विपक्षपक्षयोः |
तृष्णारविन्दचक्षुषोः प्रजामहीमहेन्द्रयोः समप्रवृत्तिकः ( समं प्रवर्तयन्मनः) कदा सदाशिवं भजे ||१२||

कदा निलिम्पनिर्झरीनिकुञ्जकोटरे वसन् विमुक्तदुर्मतिः सदा शिरः स्थमञ्जलिं वहन् |
विमुक्तलोललोचनो ललामभाललग्नकः शिवेति मंत्रमुच्चरन् कदा सुखी भवाम्यहम् ||१३||

इदम् हि नित्यमेवमुक्तमुत्तमोत्तमं स्तवं पठन्स्मरन्ब्रुवन्नरो विशुद्धिमेतिसंततम् |
हरे गुरौ सुभक्तिमाशु याति नान्यथा गतिं विमोहनं हि देहिनां सुशङ्करस्य चिंतनम् ||१४||

पूजा वसान समये दशवक्त्र गीतं यः शंभु पूजन परं पठति प्रदोषे |
तस्य स्थिरां रथगजेन्द्र तुरङ्ग युक्तां लक्ष्मीं सदैव सुमुखिं प्रददाति शंभुः ||१५||

इति श्रीरावण- कृतम् शिव- ताण्डव- स्तोत्रम् सम्पूर्णम्

 

Its been 4 years I am listening to this Stotram. My friend KK played this when we went to Mukteshwar trip. I liked it so much that after coming from the trip I used to continuously listen to it all the time. Along with that, I learned the meaning. And believe me, it gave me so much strength, power, and eternal bliss. I have full faith in this miraculous composition. My salutations to Raavan for giving us such a great Shiv Stuti.

These are my personal experiences. I have written this post with the best of knowledge and belief. Please share your thoughts on this, I would love to hear that.

For the people who have never listened to it, you MUST MUST MUST listen to it and connect with me after that.

If you loved this post, then kindly share it. Let’s learn from each other and add values in everyone’s life.

Also, you can buy this beautiful Natraj idol of Shiva depicting Tandav dance form.

OM NAMAH SHIVAAYA!

Credits: Pictures are taken from patrika.com and thebhakti.com

My first visit to Jim Corbett

My first visit to Jim Corbett

 

On Christmas Eve, I went for Tungnath-Chandrashilla trek and my love for mountains, rivers, and the forest started getting more extreme. That was one of the lifetime experience in the mountains.

One fine Friday evening, I was discussing my next adventure trip with my friend. We decided to do a relaxing weekend trip to Landsdowne, Uttarakhand. I started looking for accommodation and places to visit in Landsdowne online and enquiring with few friends, who had been there. While I was exploring options, I went for a tea break with my office friend and informed her casually about our Landsdowne plan. Knowing my taste about travel, she told me to drop Landsdowne and consider Jim Corbett. Suddenly, I started recollecting Kaal movie (Bollywood movie where Ajay Devgan was the ghost and friend of tigers). And next moment she shared the contact number of Salim, guide/driver from Jim Corbett. Now the mission was changed from Landsdowne to Jim Corbett which is a forested wildlife sanctuary in Uttarakhand State.

I spoke to Salim and paid him an advance for safari. Dhikala and Bijrani area (with more dense forest with high chances of spotting a tiger) booking was full, as it required 45 days advance booking but, we were lucky enough to get the booking for Jhirna area.

Safari was booked, travel plan was done and now we must look for accommodation. So started browsing hotel booking sites and I got a very good deal in Wood Castle Spa and Resort on Ibibo.com. Booked 2N/3D two rooms at just Rs 25,742 (taxes included) breakfast and one meal included. Woods Castle is the Beautiful property on Koshi river bank. The river and forest view from the lawn is amazing. Their staff is very welcoming and warm. And the food is the highlight of the stay. Every single dish they cooked for us was just yum. I recommend wood castle if you plan to visit Jim Corbett.

Road trip begins from Noida

We started at 8.00 in the morning by car from Noida and reach Jim Corbett at around 3.00 PM, after taking breaks for breakfast at 10.00 AM near Garh Mukteshwar and then lunch at 2.00 PM near Kashipur. The drive was really good. Initially till Hapur, we got little traffic because of flyover construction on NH-9 but, after crossing Hapur it was very smooth drive till Moradabad. After bypassing Moradabad city, we took a left turn, which was a single lane road alongside the canal. We saw some really good landscapes on that stretch. Trees were planted in a straight line in the square field, where you can see few sun rays are passing between the trees creating a set for a Hollywood thriller. Lush green plants covered with the carpet of yellow mustard flowers. Overloaded tractors carrying sugarcanes and many more. Climate was very pleasant throughout the day from Noida to Jim Corbett. One jacket was good enough to survive the cold weather.

After reaching the resort, we decided to take rest for a couple of hours. So, my friend went slept and I decided to try some of my wildlife photography skill. I took my camera and went to the river bank to click some pictures of birds and a nice river view with sunset in the background.

Lost in Nature

At around 6.00 PM the sun went down and my friend woke up and got all that we would need to party in the hotel lawn. We were feeling totally relaxed to have a drink standing on river bank listing to the water sound and looking at the forest trees which were just across the river and soft gazals of Jagjit Singh in the background. We were completely cut off from our professional life and was just enjoying the beauty of nature. Official targets were replaced by the tiger spotting strategies next days, all the client calls were replaced by the sound of river water and all the presentation and seminars were replaced by the natures perfect picture of forest and birds. It was the perfect Friday evening one could imagine. At around 11.30 pm, we felt a sudden drop in temperature and decided to retire for the day, as it was 7 degrees and we had to spend two more days there.

 

Ready for the open Safari in Jim Corbett

Day 2: I got up at 7.30 and went out for running for a couple of KMs and came back to resort, where I found a bear on chair enjoying aloo parathas and tea on the same place, where we had party last night. Don’t be afraid, that was my friend with bear like structure 😊. Place was the same with different drinks, view, but still, it was very relaxing.
By 10.30 AM, we finished our breakfast. Salim was supposed to come and pick us up at 1.30 pm. So we decided to play badminton till then. After a couple of games, we decided to call off and get ready for the safari. Salim was on time and we were very excited about our first open jeep jungle safari. Lots of thoughts in mind. Will we be lucky to see the tiger, will elephants cross our path and which other animals we will see. With all these excitements, we left the resort and stopped at petrol pump, where Salim filled his Gypsy’s tank and picked up Bobby Singh (Lalit Kumar Singh) our safari guide. Bobby was good and entertaining but, then at the end of the trip he got boring. He instructed that any given point of time we should not get down from the vehicle during the safari.

 

Finally, our safari was about the begin. We reached the Jhirna region check post, where Salim showed our permits and ids to the rangers, Yes! We are in Jim Corbett now and looking for wildlife around. For the first 4 kms it was good tar road and for the next 10 kms its was a muddy stone road but, in good condition. Not much of roll-a-coaster ride.

 

Jungle, Animals and you

Within a KM from the park gate, we spotted deer crossing the road. It was so beautiful. I wanted to test my wildlife photography skills, so asked Salim to stop the jeep and started clicking some good pics.

 

 

We saw many animals and birds on the way and the experience was awesome. It’s hard to describe in words. Our Jeep’s speed slowed down to 10 km/h after getting on to the muddy road. Diving 2 Kms on muddy road, Salim stop the jeep and asked us to keep quiet, as they were listening to animal calls to track the tiger. We waited for 10 mins but, left the place after few other safari vehicles passed by. On the way, we saw some Monkeys and Langurs, Peacocks and Wildbores. It was an awesome experience to see these wild animals in their habitats.

 

Yet to spot the Tiger

Everything was so cool but, we were yet to spot the tiger. Salim asked some of his fellow drivers about any Tigers spotted by them or heard any call. But the response was negative. We moved ahead in the jungle and decided to take a different route in search of the tiger tracks. Suddenly, Salim stopped the car and asked not to move, as he heard a call from barking deer. We could hear too as it was loud and clear. We waited for 5-7 minutes and heard monkey making sound from the other side of the road. We saw another vehicle coming from the opposite direction signaling us that the tiger is crossing the road. Salim moved ahead of the corner but, it was little late to reach the spot.

 

Oh No! We missed the tiger by a few seconds. By the time we reached the spot, the tiger had already crossed the road and disappeared in the bushes. Shit, we missed it. With only 30 mins left in safari, we missed seeing the tiger by a few seconds. How frustrating it could be. I asked Salim, if there is any chance, we can spot the tiger in the remaining 30 mins and answers was not convincing. We started heading back to the gate because we had to be out of the jungle by 5.30 pm or else Salim would have to pay penalty. It was so close yet so far but, we were thrilled with the experience we had of spotting tiger by just listening to the sounds made by the other animals. We returned to the check post with two minutes to spare and took a tea break. It was getting cold and you can well imagine how cold it would be in open Gypsy at 60 km/h speed. The safari was over and we had an experience of driving in open Gypsy in a Jungle, while the cold breeze. We just loved it.

 

We came back to the resort and celebrated the moment with a couple of drinks and some local smoke 😊. Salim asked me if I want to stay in the core Jungle in a guest house in Dhikala region. I am still thinking on taking that offer but not finalized yet. But If I go, I will definitely share my experience.

Story Teller: SATISH SAWANT

I am sure you have liked the journey of Jim Corbett. Please share your thoughts on this and spread the article on social media.

Interested in River and mountains of Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, then please read this article.

Mount Kailash Parikrama | A step closer to almighty

Mount Kailash Kora

Thank you for being part of my Kailash Mansarovar journey so far. Before I start with the last day of the trek around Kailash, here are the links of articles of my first day and the second day of the experience of the trek on the great land of Tibet. I came back with loads of memories of Kailash which gave me lifetime experiences. Continue reading about my journey, emotions while leaving Tibet and my gratitude towards almighty.

Zuthulpuk

6th June, 2018

After a tiring second day trek, we had a good night sleep till our Sherpas woke us up in the morning. It was a sight to watch as everybody was back to their childhood when Sherpas were trying to wake them up. Everyone just needed last five minutes sleep before waking up. Just like when your mother tries to wake you us for school and you tell her back “Mom, just five mins more” It was so nice to see so many phases of life in one trip. I woke up with heart full of new feelings in the new day. This was the third day of the trek of only 8 km. Gathering all courage, I came out of the room and I was like wow. All I could see were clouds all around me.

We had tea and some snacks in the breakfast and started our third and final day of trek to our destination. Today, we all were a different person altogether. We all had a feeling of accomplishment and achievement. We started hiking with full of energy in the beautiful valley with the amazing landscape around. Mount Kailash on right, a river on left, clouds circling above your head and the breath-taking views in the front. It was like the clouds came down all the way from sky to ground to bid adieu to all of us.

The river on our left has origin from Angsi glacier at Southeast of Mount Kailash. It is named as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet and is known by the Brahmaputra in India. It was so cloudy, that we could not see Mount Kailash. My heart was full of mixed emotions and I was thankful to Lord Shiva for the journey so far. Overall the view was the perfect blend of the best of nature could deliver to us.

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While I was walking, I was thinking about the uniqueness of all three days of the trek. The first one was in the valley of Gods, where we had seen the South, West and North face of Kailash. On day two we had experienced the Golden Kailash during sunrise, reaching the highest point Dolma La, Gauri Kund, crossing frozen river and lot more. And on the third day, we were walking in the beautiful valley of unique and beautiful landscapes. It was like, what more do you expect to be the perfect trip. I was overwhelmed and everything about this trip was going like a flashback. Right from permission from parents till walk on that Godly land of Tibet. All I was saying thanks to Lord Shiva for everything happened during the trip.

 

Time for celebration

The trek was very easy and we finished it in 2 hours. Finally, we reached the end point, hence completing the kora of Mount Kailash. Everyone was enjoying the moment, congratulating each other, singing and dancing. Sudhakar gave the pose of Shiva in Natraj form, Kalyani became Parvati and I bowed down to them.

 

We had to wait for the bus, so Rupa and I went little ahead to pick few stones taking them as prasad of Mount Kailash. Yaa, I know it was funny. I must say everything around this place is very lively. The stones, river, birds, mountains, clouds literally talk to you. Never in my life before Kailash trip, I have felt such kind of liveliness inside me.

We boarded the bus and reached Darchen, where people who stayed and came back after the first day of Kora were waiting for us. We met Mauli and hugged her tightly. Immediately tears started rolling down from my eyes, it was pure emotion. I met Krishnee aunty, with whom I shared room in Derapuk. She was very happy seeing me after completing the journey. We had our breakfast, took the luggage and boarded the bus for Hilsa.

Rakshas Tal

As usual, Rupa and I occupied the last seats of the bus. Within no time, we were crossing beautiful Rakshastal (Devil’s Lake) whose water is prohibited for drinking. It is said that once Ravana meditated here to gain supernatural power from Lord Shiva. It is very close to Mansarovar, but life does not exist at Rakshastal. No matter what is the legend behind the lake, but it was extremely serene. The dark color water lake entangled within the small plateau of Tibet and heavy clouds looked heavenly.

Leaving Tibet

Someone has said that all good things don’t last for long. Leaving Tibet after once in a lifetime experience was very heavy on the heart and mind. Things I experienced at Mansarovar lake, completing Kailash kora and being with Lord Shiva, where he showered his blessings on us was a memory for life. All these were beyond imagination. The 5 days spent in Tibet felt like home to me, so I was sad leaving Tibet. I just prayed and said in my heart that “Kailash, please call me home again” and guess what? I am going again this year for Inner Kora with Rupa and Dato Ji from last year trip. Tour operators organizing Inner kora trek requires a special permit and thankfully, this year our tour operator got permit after 5-6 years. Don’t forget to keep looking for my new experience of Inner Kora from this year trip.

 

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Anyways, we reached Hilsa, the Tibet and Nepal border and completed our immigration formalities. Thankfully, all seven of us got the same room and we started sharing our version of Kailash Mansarovar trek experience. I could see the glow of each and everyone’s faces while sharing their experience. Now it was time to depart from Hilsa and apart from each other. And I realized that day, such a trip brings so much positive change in you that you start looking at things differently. People going on such an expedition, trips are extraordinary individuals. Such trips make you a strong individual who cares about others, who has a sense of collaboration, who know the importance of dedication and who get the confidence to achieve everything he or she can wish for. I left my self in Tibet and discovered a new person who was more confident and can achieve everything. Because, I see people died during this trip and there is nothing painful than death but, we came back alive and enlightened and so we are special.

Next day I took a chopper from Hilsa to Simikot and then a small mountain plane to Nepalgunj. I was trying to recap my entire trip during my return journey. I collected my bags and headed towards Lucknow (my home town) which was just 3 hours away.

 

 

My Gratitude 

I am always grateful towards the Lord, who showered his blessings on me that I could complete the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. I could feel the presence of Shambhoo with me.

I got the feeling as if I was reborn. I was rejuvenated with the feeling of immense peace and positivity. It is said that who complete kora is like turning one round of wheel of life. And yes, I believe that I got a new life within the same lifespan. Everything looked fresh, pure and blissful. This is the journey of the test of your physical and mental strength. It’s almost a year now, but still, I feel energetic while writing the story on our trip.

There are definitely more beautiful places on earth, but the aura of Kailash and its immense impact on one’s life is incomparable. No words can describe the feeling of walking on that godly land of Tibet.

Kailash does not need any temple. The entire massive region is a way more than a temple I can say. People say that doing pilgrimages wash your sins, but I didn’t believe in that. How is that possible just by visiting the temple. But after coming back from Kailash, I felt light and fresh, closer to almighty a step ahead. That’s the point I realized that I left the feeling of being religious and got inclined towards spiritualism. The feeling of oneness with God was out of this world. It was like all positive energies of the universe lies within me.

The majestic and magical view of Kailash has left such an impact in my heart forever that I feel completely numb whenever I close my eyes to focus Kailash. I live here in the buzz of city life but I can certainly say that bit of Kailash is still in me. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, the journey of the lifetime, the greatest of all the journeys I have made till date and the journey which has changed a lot in me. As if I have come back in bodily form and soul is somewhere lost in Kailash.

Follow the posts in sequence if you have not gone through

  1. Planning and preparation for the trip to Mount Kailash.
  2. Arrival in Kathmandu and visit to Pashupatinath as the start of the journey.
  3. Trips within the trip – Days spent in Nepalgunj and Simikot.
  4. Survival in no man’s land between Nepal and China
  5. Arrival at Mansarovar lake- first mystic experience.
  6. Complete information about Mansarovar, my experience of parikrama and dip in holy Mansarovar lake.
  7. First day of trek from Yam dwar to Derapuk to reach abode of Shiva.
  8. Second and toughest day of trek to reach 19500 ft at Dolma La pass
  9. Third and the last day of trek and coming back to home with tons of memories of Kailash

Om Namah Shivaay!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post, kindly share in comment box. Also, please subscribe to HIDDEN ROADS if not done. 🙂

Featured pic reference: https://pixers.uk/wall-murals/tibet-mount-kailash-south-face-67682664

Kailash Parikrama | Day 2 at 19500 ft | Toughest day

Mount Kailash – Toughest day of Trek

 

Thank you for being part of my Kailash Mansarovar journey so far. Before I pen down my further Mount Kailash Kora trek here is the link of my first day of the parikrama of Mount Kailash, in case you haven’t read.  This time I am going to write my experience of the second day of outer kora of Mount Kailash to reach the abode of Lord Shiva. This day was full of adventure and peace. Looks strange? Please read the post till the end.

Golden Kailash

5th June, 2018 (Derapuk)

After tiring day, we had a good night sleep till some Sherpas came in and woke us up at around 6.00 AM to witness the Golden Kailash. It’s the term given go Mount Kailash because of the golden color it gets when early morning sun rays fall on it. When Sherpa woke me, I was in half sleep and confused too. But, when I heard one of the Sherpa saying, “It’s time to see Golden Kailash”, I was up immediately. Put on my jacket and shoes and just marched out of the room to witness the golden Kailash. Within a few minutes, everybody was out of the rooms and facing Kailash to witness that breathtaking view. I couldn’t take my eyes off even for a second. It looked heavenly and more than a dream coming true. Things you have read about, you are actually witnessing it. Can’t be better than this.

 

Sleeping peacefully at the foot of your Lord and then wake up to see the gorgeous face of him had filled my heart. We freshened up and had our breakfast. They used to serve cornflakes/muesli for breakfast and a packet of lunch. Before leaving for trek, few sherpas came to check everyone’s oxygen level. I remember my oxygen level was above 70%.  Since this place was at the highest level to spend the night during the entire trip. Many fell sick and decided to return to Darchen. We pushed Jyothi and Sudhakar to complete kora with us, they gathered courage and came. But Rupa and I were determined to complete our journey. We just chanted “Om Namah Shivaay” and got ready for our trek. This was the toughest and longest day of the trip, where we were unsure about the weather at that altitude. So, it is better to leave as early as we could. A lot of people from my dormitory decided to call off the trip and wished me good luck for my journey to complete the kora. Krishnee aunty hugged me and said, “My dear, I know you will do it”. Sometimes it gives you a good amount of confidence when you see others believe in you. Didn’t had a word to reply so I just smiled, looked in her eyes and told myself, “I WILL DO IT” and left.

Finally, We are on the second day of the trek which is the toughest day of the journey. The total length of the trek was 25 km starting from 16000 ft at Derapuk to cross 19500 ft at Dolma La, which will end at Zuthulpuk. This day is known for taking the lives of dozens of people every year. No matter how will be the situations, I am going ahead. That’s the only thought I was carrying.

Trek started

We started our trek in the early morning with chilling wind. I was shivering a lot, then I covered the face and wore gloves. Rupa, on the other hand, started having tickling sensation due to the side effects of Diamox. Jyothi and Sudhakar were also coming along managing cold breeze of early morning. Initially, we had to hike on the mountains, which were hidden from the sun, so it was too cold. I felt like my jacket of -10 degrees was not enough.

 

 

After a walk of 500 meters, it became steep. I saw a lot of zig-zags where people were going by horses. So I asked Sherpas to take shortcuts. After attempting the first shortcut, I got the idea of how difficult it would be going ahead. On such kind of treks, you have to have a good grip over pebbles and rocks. The sherpas were checking our oxygen level and were continuously asking if we have a headache or any problem. The sherpa who was carrying my bag felt sick due to altitude. He handed over my bag to another porter and went down.

 

 

Saw a small shop, which was the last point for one to opt for Pony charging 600 Yuan till Dolma La pass (19500), which is the highest point of the trek. A lot of people faced breathing problem. So Jyothi, Sudhakar and Dato Ji opted for the pony and moved ahead of us. This was the point which separates route of outer Kora and inner kora which points towards the northeast face of Kailash.

Shiva lost in meditation

After 2 hours, we were at some decent height, where we could see magical and mystic Kailash very clearly. The moon was on top of Kailash resembling “Chandrashekhar” form of Shiva. I am a big moon watcher, but that time it was not just a moon, it was holding an important significance to me.  In between all big rocky mountains, there stands snow-covered Mount Kailash as Shiva lost in meditation from ages.

 

 

It felt like clouds are coming, doing prostration to Kailash and going away. The heavenly view leaves one in silence within. No words can describe the incredible beauty around Kailash. Even Vedas and Puranas have failed to praise it. Now there was no doubt in my heart that we were on the land of Gods.

Way to DOLMA LA -19500 ft – the highest point 

Going ahead, the trail became more challenging. All we could see were big rocky stones and we had to trek for several hours till we reach up to Dolma La. With every step up, the oxygen level went down and pulse rate went up. I used to eat nuts/ candies and a sip of water. The only rule while trekking is to stay hydrated and keep walking. Our porter used to point to Dolma La from distance. He said you have to reach where you can see a lot of flags and I said I am seeing flags all the way. Whenever I used to rest, I used to look around. The mighty Kailash, all big mountains, colorful prayer flags fluttering all the way and a lot more. Tibetans carry these huge flags from Darchen to tie and make some wish. People from four religions come here leaving all comforts behind and do a tough pilgrimage.

 

A journey of Soul, not body

There was a time I felt extremely light and free. It was like I have left everything behind, free from my identity, free from all thoughts, free from all pain even. Just kept going where my heart was only beating for my Lord. My pulse rate was too high and oxygen in the body was low which I could feel. The trail was in real sense breathtaking. I just looked at the Mount Kailash which gave me enough energy to keep moving my feet. I was chanting Om Namah Shivaay, that day I got to know the power of this mantra. All the time I had Shambhoo with me holding my hand. One has to go through a lot of transitions between metaphysical energies which surrounds you all time. Sometimes, the trail looks easy, then difficult and then again easy. Our mind is not used to such kind of strange environment. So, its more about the mental than the physical strength I believe. It’s the journey of the soul, not the body. More I was going ahead more I gained calmness and peace within the mind.

Reached Dolma La

Dolma refers to goddess “Taradevi” and the huge boulder is believed to be the sacred seat of the goddess and is revered by people of Tibbet. The place is beautifully decorated with arrays of prayer flags which looked not less than heaven. The moment we reached on top above 19500 ft, we hugged each other first and then spent some time there sitting with local Tibetans. Finally, we were at the place where reaching up took a few hours which felt like ages :). That time I was not having the feeling of conquering a mountain but I conquered myself in another way. You speak, you share joy but you become absolutely still and silent within yourself. The immensity of the place and faith of people speaks so much but can’t be expressed in words.

Gaurikund

Immediately after crossing Dolma La, we saw Gauri Kund, where it is believed that Goddess Parvati comes here for bath. The frozen water of Gaurikund looked like sapphire jeweled in the white snow. The trail was extremely difficult to reach Gaurikund, so I did not dare to go down. We asked our porter Subhash to get water from Gaurikund. We saw him going down and climbing up as if he got some wings. Sherpas are the real heroes on mountains and without them, many people would not be able to complete their journey.

 

Mount Kailash’s East face

After Dolma La, the trail only descends for few km which is very steep. I fell 3-4 times where Subhash laughed at me and said climbing up looks easier for Shruti compared to getting down. We crossed 2 mountains going down, a patch of a mesmerizing glacier and after that, we had to hike on flat for 12-13 km. More I was trekking, more I fell in love with the place. We trekked for a few km and took a halt at a restaurant. We could imagine how difficult it is to run the restaurant in extreme climatic conditions. After this spot, we were hiking in a beautiful valley along with a water stream on our left.

On our right-hand side, we saw Kailash’s east face with extended snow clad mountains looked like Shiva’s hands. You only get to see a small portion of Kailash’s east face in outer kora. Where inner kora takes you closer to the east face. So on the second day, you will get to see mighty Kailash’s north face 80% of the time. While descending, many at times Kailash is hidden so you can not see, but East face gets visible once you start moving on flat.

 

Zuthulpuk, stay in Monastery

I was drained out of energy and I got shoe bites on feet due to sweat and dust. So, at times it became difficult to walk but somehow I managed as there was no option. The magnificent view of the place kept me walking just to see what is coming next.  Finally, we reached to the monastery in Zuthulpuk where we were supposed to stay. Everyone welcomed Rupa and me praising our efforts and dedication doing the journey on foot as almost everybody took horse. I took off my shoes and by that time my feet were in bad condition. I kept it open and lied on the bed. We got soup and popcorn followed by Khichdi in dinner. That was our last night together in Tibet, so we were chilling out cracking jokes and still, I don’t know when we slept talking to each other.

 

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That day will always be memorable to me and I could still feel the same breathlessness while writing this article. That day gave me my life’s best adventurous experience. More than this, I had the highest level of satisfaction and calmness in my heart. Plus, the feeling of oneness with Shiva was truly a blessing by Lord.

Stay updated for the next day of the trek, driving on the amazing roads of Tibet and coming back to Nepal.

Have look at my picture gallery-

 

Special thanks to our porter Subhash for not only carrying the load but also for motivating us all the time. We talked to him like you do with a friend. Even almost all the pictures are clicked by him on the second day.

Follow the posts in sequence if you have not gone through

  1. Planning and preparation for the trip to Mount Kailash.
  2. Arrival in Kathmandu and visit to Pashupatinath as the start of the journey.
  3. Trips within the trip – Days spent in Nepalgunj and Simikot.
  4. Survival in no man’s land between Nepal and China
  5. Arrival at Mansarovar lake- first mystic experience.
  6. Complete information about Mansarovar, my experience of parikrama and dip in holy Mansarovar lake.
  7. First day of trek from Yam dwar to Derapuk to reach abode of Shiva.
  8. Second and toughest day of trek to reach 19500 ft at Dolma La pass
  9. Third and the last day of trek and coming back to home with tons of memories of Kailash

 

Stay fit and happy traveling. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, drop your comments.

Please subscribe to HIDDEN ROADS and share the blog.

OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | 1st day trek | Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrimage is widely known for its religious significance among people of Hindu, Buddhism, Jain and Bon faith. Mount Kailash standing tall at 22,000 ft is known to be the abode of Lord Shiva. Parikrama has to be done around Kailash which takes 3 days. And the journey is not an easy feat, you have to trek the rough terrain of rocks, glaciers in extreme climatic conditions at an altitude of 19000 ft. Due to its difficulty and remote location, only a few hundreds of people complete Kailash Mansarovar Yatra successfully every year.

People do circumbulation (parikrama/kora) around the mountain. Many people think, we have to trek to reach peak of the Kailash, but in actuality, we have to do parikrama of the mountain which takes 3 days to complete. In this phase, will only talk about the Mount Kailash.

The religious significances of Kailash

Hinduism

In Hinduism, the Mount Kailash is known to be the abode of Lord Shiva where he lives with his consort Parvati and other gans. He resides on the peak in the state of meditation. Vishnu Puraan describes Kailash four faces are made of crystal, ruby, gold and lapis. The pilgrims do parikrama in the clockwise direction starting from the South face. It is believed that doing 1 parikrama is equivalent to turning 1 round of wheel of life. The mountain is the pillar of the world and the entire universe is operated from this place.

Buddhism

Mount Kailash is the major pilgrimage site in Buddhist traditions. This is the place where Buddha represents supreme bliss. It is said that Milarepa ( Buddist saint) the only person of pure soul who could reach on the peak of Kailash riding on the sun rays. Like Hindus, the pilgrims do Kora in the clockwise direction starting from Yam Dwar facing south face of Kailash.

Jainism

According to Jain, the first Tiranthkara – Rishabhdeva attained moksha (liberation from cycle of life and death) at the mountain Ashtpad which is next to Kailash. He came here to gain knowledge and then wanted to go back. But after being touched by Kailash he left everything behind and decided to merge with the mountain.

Bon

Bon mythology holds that Mount Kailash is where the founder Thonpa Shenrab Miwo came down from heaven and spread his spiritual knowledge. They regard it as a nine-story swastika and a seat of spiritual power.

 

Time flies at Kailash

I have read about the existence of Shangrilla near Kailash Mansarovar but, People have failed many times to find this place. Shangrilla works in 4th dimension of time but still un discovered. Little time spent at this place is equivalent to many generations gone in the time we live. This is far beyond my understanding. Even aging happens at Kailash also due to difference in time frame. Pilgrims experience sudden growth of nails and hair at this place. According to some estimates, 12 hours spent in this area is equivalent to 2 weeks of normal time.

Unscalable

Mount Everest (8848 mt), the highest peak of the world has been conquered by thousands of trekkers successfully. But the Kailash (6638 mt) is unscalable so far. A lot of trekkers from Russia, Switzerland have attempted but failed to climb up. Few started to climb but suddenly they lost their way because mountain changed the direction and their navigation machine stopped working. Few reported that the moment they started climbing they lost their physical energy.

Axis Mundi: Centre of Universe

The Axis Mundi is the place where heaven meets the Earth and also known as the cosmic pillar of the world. There are many spots in world where Axis Mundi is present with high spiritual energies. In India, the place is Mount Meru and in Tibet it is Kailash. Like in our human body, the spine holds all lowest to highest realms of the body. Similar to this, the Axis Mundi is the cosmic connection between all the universal consciousness of heaven and Earth. And this metaphysical axis is found in every religion depicting some form.

My experiences of Mount Kailash

4th June, 2018 (Monday)

After Mansarovar Parikrama, we spent night at Darchen (15,010 ft). I woke up early morning in the cold weather and came out of room to witness sunrise and I saw Kailash at back of our hotel rooms. I could only see 1 snow-covered peak and sun rays falling on it which made it very beautiful. It looked like a jewelled crown in the entire region.

After breakfast, we packed our bags, got ready with trekking clothes and necessary items in a small bag for 3 days (extra 1 pair of clothes, socks, raincoat, thermals, torch etc). Since I hired porter, I gave my bag to him and carried only mini bag with my mobile, wallet, candies and water bottle in it.  As we had to do full day trek, we were given a packet of lunch.

Around 9:30 AM, we handed over our luggage to tour operator and boarded the bus. It takes around 30 minutes from Darchen to the Yam Dwar, from where trek begins. We were very excited to start our biggest journey of lifetime by chanting Om Namah Shivay. As we were going close to Kailash, the kind of serenity was fascinating us. Even after the delay in trip, we were happy that we will be doing Kailash Parikrama on Monday.

Arrival at Yam Dwar

Finally, we reached Yam Dwar which is the official start of the trek. Yam Dwar is the gate of the lord of death. One who crosses the Yam Dwar becomes free from shackles of life and death. It is the gateway to enter the heavenly abode of Lord Shiva. Tibetans call this place as Tarboche and they install prayer flag pole every year on the full moon day of fourth lunar month. They also start and finish their Parikrama (kora) from this point. This place has beautiful arrays of flags all around the Yam Dwar. The weather was in our favour, so we could see the south face of Kailash very clearly.

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From here the group divided into two parts, the one is going for Kora and others who cannot proceed had to return Darchen. The tour guides explained difficulties in advance, so Mauli being hit by AMS and few others from our group returned to Darchen after visiting Yam Dwar. Many of the group members took pony and porter to complete kora.

South Face of Kailash

The trek begins from South face which looked extremely beautiful. As we moved ahead, we simply looked at the gorgeous view. Everything looked amazing around in the entire region. Such a beautiful creation of God, felt like God has opened door for us into heaven. The place was very lively and it was like every mountain is talking to you. Most of the mountains had cave inside them and there must be some sages or God living inside the cave. Even few mountains had faces engraved on them. The imprints of the faces will always make you think to the other dimension.

 

The day was sunny and damm windy too, so all the time we were wearing UV sunglasses and cap for protection. I had nuts and energy bars which I used to eat regularly. Trekking is not the race, so best thing is to walk at your own pace and enjoy the nature. This is the journey of lifetime and nobody knows when we will get the chance to come again. So explore and absorb everything from the surrounding.

 

 

After trek of 1 hour, we saw group of Tibetans doing dandvat pranaam (full prostration) to complete kora. The trail had rocks, rivers, galciers at extreme climatic conditions where it became difficult to walk and breathe. And these people are doing full body prostration. I was amazed to look at them, I don’t know what kind of fire is burning inside them to take that level of the difficult task. We were packed with good trekking gears, had food to eat and booked accommodation for 3 days. Whereas these great people had nothing to eat and no shelter. But still, they were doing this task with unshakable faith and energy. This takes them more than 1 month to complete kora. I can’t even imagine and scale the thoughts of these souls. This is not just the picture, this is LOVE for your LORD!

Such a magnificent view and great place can only exist at Kailash.

West Face of Mount Kailash

After few hours of hike we saw the west face of sacred Mount Kailash. If you concentrate you can see big face on the mountain. I sat on rock and gazed at the mystic mountain. The whole serenity was filled with infinite positivity and bliss because people of all 4 religions have put so much faith into the godly land of Tibet.

All the time Rupa and I were almost at same pace. We had some beautiful conversations which I will never forget. She explained to me the meaning of “Om Namah Shivaay”, it was deep and in some ways it is far beyond human understanding. I was playing the famous “Shiv Tandav Stotram” on my mobile and explained her the story behind it. The one which describes the beauty and power of Lord Shiv. It was composed by great Ravan seeking forgiveness after he tried to lift Mount Kailash. It’s one of the toughest and most beautiful composition that you must listen to. We had these kinds of discussions right during the Kailash Parikrama.

 

After some time we saw a restaurant and had our lunch there. I had no headache or breathing problem, but body was fully tired. I took some energy drink and moved ahead. The beauty of the place and the thought of what is coming next will keep you moving.

North face of Mount Kailash

Subash, Rupa and I were hiking and reached Derapuk. Then suddenly I turned my head to right and saw North face of Kailash. I folded my hands and prayed to Shiva. This face of Kailash has always attracted me which has actually driven me to do Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. It was like my dream has come true and I am seeing Shiva in the mountain. That was the moment when the whole world has stopped for me.

After hiking for a kilometer, the view got more clear and I was in front of the giant, magical, majestic and mystic mountain. Rupa and I sat on the ground at distance. Only the mountain and I with no other distraction. I gazed at the peak and within seconds I got merged with the mountain. I did full prostration and wanted to be taken away by lord Shiva.

 

While I was clicking some pictures of Kailash, I saw a bird flying. These birds must be the luckiest and blessed creature on the planet who live in the region of Kailash and can fly and touch Kailash anytime they want.

 

It started getting dark, so we got up to reach dormitory at Derapuk (16010 ft). Every dormitory had 20-30 beds and whatever bed you get just grab it. No choice, no preference. The rooms were made at the foothills of Kailash and we could see the peak from our window itself. What else do you want if you are getting to sleep at the foot of Shiva. After some time I got soup and a plate of popcorn which gave me enough energy to wear shoes and go out again. But walking for even a few meters took my breath. And this was the only first day, where the second day would be the toughest day.

Briefing for the second day of Trek

I went into the room where Rupa, Jyothi and Sudhakar occupied beds. Everyone was too much exhausted due to high altitude and cold weather. Then few Sherpas came there and explained all the difficulties of the second day of trek which was 25 kms long. We have to start from Derapuk (16010 ft) early morning and cross Dolma La pass (19000 ft). The oxygen will drop and climatic conditions will be worse, also we have to cross big rocks and glaciers. Also, we may not get medical facilities at the time we require. The second day of the trek is known for taking lives of dozens of people every year. So, it was up to our will and medical conditions whether we want to go ahead or not. If anything happens on the route, the tour operator will not be responsible. So, those who wanted to go ahead signed on the agreement and most of the people backed out listening to the Sherpas. I signed on it without giving any second thought.

Then Sherpas served super-hot delicious Khichdi in dinner on the bed itself. And then I went out and saw the sky full of big stars. Looking at the stars at that altitude and drawing out giant Kailash in the night was an amazing experience. I crashed on bed and Krishnee aunty highly positive lady who came from Africa was next to me. We both helped each other to settle with the blanket and a lot of stuff on the bed.

Overall the day went awesome where we had darshan of three faces of Kailash. And more than this, we were sleeping at the foot of Lord Shiva. This was the most peaceful and beautiful night of my life.

There is a lot much about Kailash to feel and express and everybody experiences it differently. You have to come yourself to feel Shambhoo with you. Stay tuned for my upcoming post for the second and third day of trek. And, follow the posts if you have not gone through

  1. Planning and preparation for the trip to Mount Kailash.
  2. Arrival in Kathmandu and visit to Pashupatinath as the start of the journey.
  3. Trips within the trip – Days spent in Nepalgunj and Simikot.
  4. Survival in no man’s land between Nepal and China
  5. Arrival at Mansarovar lake- first mystic experience.
  6. Complete information about Mansarovar, my experience of parikrama and dip in holy Mansarovar lake.
  7. First day of trek from Yam dwar to Derapuk to reach abode of Shiva.
  8. Second and toughest day of trek to reach 19500 ft at Dolma La pass
  9. Third and the last day of trek and coming back to home with tons of memories of Kailash

Also, read out the great travel experiences of Kailash from Swati-> https://buoyantfeet.com/2018/09/21/why-i-chose-to-do-kailash-mansarovar-yatra-now/

Stay fit and happy traveling. Om Namah Shivaay!

Importance of Maha Shivratri | Places visited in one year

LORD SHIVA

 

Shiva is the start, Shiva is the end

He is the end of every start

He is the start of every end.

He is the truth, he is the myth

He is the tiny particle, he is the unscalable width.

He is the universe, and the universe is within him.

He is the cosmic rhythm, he is the Natraj

He is Vairagyi, but has a beautiful family

He is the ultimate truth, he is the ultimate destination

He lives in Kailash, or he himself is Kailash

He is the phenomenon beyond any human imagination.

He is that which is not.

 

Importance of Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri is the most significant sacred festival of India. It is celebrated on the new moon day of the month of Maagh. Shiv temples accross the country are beautifully decorated and people offer night long prayer on Shivlingam.

There are a lot of legends associated with this festival.

Shiv-Parvati Marriage: According to ancient legend, Shiva and Adi-Shakti(Parvati) got married on this auspicious day. In many places, Shiv linga is decorated as a groom.

Consumed poison: Also, on this day Lord Shiva consumed poison to save world. And, for whole night every person was awake praying and waiting for the Lord to regain conciousness.

Became one with Kailash: In Yogic culture, Shiva is not considered as God but Adi Yogi (first guru). On this night Shiva became one with Kailash As still as mountain after thousands of years into meditation. So, ascetics see Mahashivratri as the night of stillness

Natural upsurge of energy: The planetary arrangement in the Northern Hemisphere is such that there is a natural upsurge of Energy in human body, rising from the Kundalini to your head. So, nature is pushing you towards the spiritual peak. So, to gain maximum out of it, you need to stay awake whole night with your spine erect.

Visited Places in duration of MahaShivratri 2018 to 2019

 

From Mahashivratri 2018 to 2019, I have visited three of Panch Kedar and one of Panch Kailash.

Kalpeshwar – 31st March 2018

Kalpeshwar temple is one of the Panch Kedar where Lord Shiva is worshipped in form of his matted hair. This lies in Chamoli district of Garhwal and is open throughout the year.

 

Kedarnath – 1st October 2018

Kedarnath is the first in Panch Kedar where Lord Shiva is worshipped as the hump of a bull. Temple lies in beautiful Kedar valley at height of 11700 ft. This remains open only for 6 months.

 

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra – 25th May – 7th June 2018

Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva where he lives with his family and other Shiv gans. This was the toughest journey I have done so far. But the reward is just priceless. I have come only in the bodily form, but heart is somewhere lost in Kailash. This lies in an autonomous region of Tibet at height of 22000 ft.

Tungnath – 23rd December 2018

Tungnath is the highest Shiva temple of the world at 12073 ft. This is the third Kedar and Lord Shiva is worshipped in form of hand here. View around the temple is amazing and is open only for 6 months.

 

Happy Mahashivratri. May everybody get blessings from Shiva.

Om Namah Shivaay!

 

References: isha.sadhguru, speaking tree, https://bit.ly/2EvMOx6

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | Information and my experiences of Mansarovar lake

Importance of Mansarovar Lake

 

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrimage is widely known for its religious significance among people of Hindu, Buddhism, Jain and Bon faith. The word is derived from Mansarovar Lake and Kailash Parvat(mountain). According to Skanda Purana(supreme Hindu text) tells that Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiv, where he lives with family and other Shiv gans. Also, the Mansarovar lake is where Shiv and Indra swim as swans. It is also said in Skanda Purana that ‘Kailash Mansarovar’ is Godly Home of Lord Shiva, which must be visited at least once in a lifetime of earthly birth. And the journey is not an easy feat, you have to trek the rough terrain of rocks, glaciers in extreme climatic conditions at an altitude of 19000 ft.

In this phase, we will talk about the Mansarovar lake, the world’s highest freshwater lake situated at 15000 ft in the autonomous region of Tibet. Here are the most important religious details:

Jainism

Mansarovar is said to be associated with Lord Shree Rishabhdev, the first Tirthankara. Ashtapad Mountain, located close to Mt Kailash, is regarded as the place where Lord Rishabhdevji attained Nirvana (Moksha).

Bon

In Bon religion, the Mansarovar lake is also associated with Zhang Zhung Meri. The founder of religion Tonpa Shenrab visited Tibet for the first time and washed himself in the lake.

Buddism

The lake holds great significance for Buddhists where Queen Maya is believed to have conceived Gautam Buddha near the lake. There are few monasteries on the shore and the popular one is ancient Chiu monastery built on steep rock. It is also believed that Gautam Buddha stayed and meditated here for ages. Lake is also called the “Jewel of Tibet”.

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Hinduism

Mansarovar is the combination of two Sanskrit words – Man (mind) + Sarovaram (lake). The lake was first created in the mind of Lord Brahma and then it was manifested on earth. In Hinduism, the lake personifies purity and one who drinks water goes to Shiva’s abode after death. Also, it is believed that one who takes a dip in the lake is relieved from all sins committed from last even over 100 lifetimes.

The lake lies below the holy Kailash in western Tibet and is the most revered place for Hindu. The lake is known as lake of consciousness as it was created in mind. This is the summer abode of hans(swans), which is a very important symbol of the mythology, representing wisdom and beauty. There are five sacred lakes mentioned in Shrimad Bhagwad Puran collectively named as Panch Sarovar: Mansarovar, Bindu Sarovar, Narayan Sarovar, Pampa Sarovar and Pushkar Sarovar.

This is the lake where all Gods, Goddesses, and sages come for the bath in Brahm Muhrat (2 hours early than sunrise). They can be seen in the form of Divya Jyoti (divine lights) coming down from the sky and then going up after a dip. The lake looks extreme peaceful but a lot of activities happen at the lake, which can be felt by people who are connected spiritually. For those who stay near the lake overnight, they can feel the hulchul (stirrness) in the lake. This lake is said to be the last remnants of Tethys ocean.

Many people have mystic experience because high spiritual energies exist at the lake. That’s not just the simple water body, that’s the lake of consciousness, the lake of supreme power. The place is the beautiful creation of God which is lively with full of supreme energies. As a human, offcourse we can’t absorb everything around this place. Sages who are in practice of meditation from decades staying away from material world connect with the energies flowing around and communicate with God or spiritual Guru. And for the scientific people who try to do research on this place have failed every time. It is the place beyond any science and modern technologies.

Rakshastal near to Mansarovar Lake

Mansarovar is the highest freshwater lake where life exists, you can see birds playing around and a lot of positivity in your surrounding. On the other hand, there is Rakshas Tal less than 1 km distance to Mansarovar where drinking water is prohibited. It is a blackwater lake where life does not exist. It is believed that Ravan meditated here for ages to get blessings from Lord Shiv. People involved in the Tantric activities practice here secretly. There are two water bodies close to each other but totally opposite in nature, one represents good and other represents bad. Mansarovar is sun shaped whereas Rakshas Tal is Moon crescent-shaped and in front of these two lakes- there stands the holy Mount Kailash. Irrespective of its significance, Rakshastal also looks beautiful and breathtaking surrounded by amazing Tibetan plateaus.

Geography

Mansarovar lake lies at 15,060 ft from sea level, which is relatively high altitude for any freshwater lake in the saline cold desert of Tibetan Plateau. The lake circumference is about 95 km and it takes around 3-4 hours for Parikrama on a vehicle. It is connected to RakshasTal by a small river Ganga Chu whose length is only 10 kms. 4 major rivers are originated near this place and diverted to 4 different directions. These are Sutlej, Indus, Brahmaputra and Karnali river.

There is a lot of information on Mansarovar, which are maybe far beyond my understanding now. But I have tried my best collecting the information as per my belief.

My experiences at Mansarovar

3rd June 2018

Divya Jyoti (Divine lights) at lake

3:30 AM:  I woke up in Brahm- Muhrat to witness the divine lights. I wore multiple layers of warm clothes and went outside the guesthouse. It was completely dark outside, no light, no stars, no person. Was I the only one? And yes, certainly it was only me who gone out crazy enough to watch the beautiful night all alone. I started walking towards the lake and I could only feel the icy cold breeze splashing on my face. I covered myself to the best but it was not enough. I stood for some time in front of the lake, then my legs got frozen and I started shivering. Then I decided to continuously walk to maintain warmth. Legs were in rhythm to walk, hands in pocket, my eyes were looking for Gods in form of divine lights and heart was chanting for Shiva. I was determined to see the divine light and continued on my way.

I could feel a lot of positivity and divine feelings, which I never had previously. It was like Shiva was around me in the form of wind or birds at lake. After waiting for an hour, I got to see the light at distance straight in front of me. All the books and articles I read about Divya Jyoti was true. I forget about the freezing breeze and bowed down with folded hands. Yes! That was the Divya Jyoti, where Gods and ancient sages come down in Brahm Muhrat to take a dip in Mansarovar. I was so delighted and felt lucky to witness. But, this was not enough and I was riding on my luck. I saw another light on my right side. My efforts were paid off. After waiting for a few minutes, I started walking back to the guest house. I saw Jayshree aunty chanting songs of Lord Shiva played on mobile. I too sat along with her wrapping blanket around. Even today, I listen to those songs and it still reminds me of the hours spent at Mansarovar lake. After an hour RP Yadav Ji came out, I again went to the lake with him. I could hear birds singing and that peaceful environment still gives the same peace at this time also whenever I close my eyes. I can still feel the heart-filled moment. There are few things which no one can explain because everybody feels differently. You have to come here to find your moment.

Dip in Mansarovar

9:00 AM

This was the most blissful morning of my life. I woke up, came out of the room and saw lucky birds playing and flying. The wind was so high that I could see the difficulty for birds while coming down. The sun was out and the view of the divine lake was awesome. I was amazed looking at the immensity of the lake. It was a bit cloudy so we could not see Kailash for which everyone was waiting and discussing in which direction it would be. There were only a few plateaus and the place was simply very beautiful.

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We had our breakfast and then Sherpas arranged tents at the shore of lake for those who want to take dip. We were waiting for more time so that clouds will shed off and will get more heat from the sun.

Most of the people headed for hot spring shower and I decided to take holy dip in Mansarovar. I took clothes to change and went near the lake. The moment I took my jacket off, dam it was very cold. Then not to wait for more, I went inside the lake. It was muddy at the start but I went little far, I was like Oh My God! It was very beautiful feeling praying upon Lord Shiva right in the middle of the holiest lake of the universe.

 

Sherpas instructed not to stay in the water for long as we might get hypothermia. I came out of lake with a numb body. Immediately I rushed to the tent and changed clothes to get warm. I sat for some time alone, which gave me the feeling of immense peace. In the entire journey, there was no temple so people started offering prayer at the lake itself. Lot of us were sitting, meditating and chanting. Siddharth and his family so graciously arranged havan near the lake. Reciting Mahamrityunjay Jaap for havan was another great experience for all of us. It took around an hour and after some time, clouds started shedding off and we got the first glimpse of Mount Kailash. I was overwhelmed to look at that and tears started rolling down naturally. For all that you have come so far was in front of me. It was the blessings of Lord Shiva himself on us.

 

Mansarovar Parikrama and Kailash darshan

After 12 Now it was time for Mansarovar Parikrama, we sat in the bus to start the journey. Within half an hour the clouds totally went away and we could clearly see Mount Kailash’s south face enroute to Darchen our next hop. I occupied the last seat in bus so that I could open window. I was continuously gazing at the peak in the amazing landscape.

After 1 hour of drive of encircling around lake, we saw Mansarovar lake was crowned by mount Kailash on one side and with Gurla Mandhata mountain range on the other side. It looked so heavenly that I didn’t want to take eyes off. The color of the water was changing from deep blue to emerald green and then again to sparkling turquoise. The mesmerizing tint of water merges beautifully with the sky, erasing the existence of the horizon at the other end.

Please watch this beautiful video taken from the bus while parikrama.

The buses stopped at some point near lake and we got some time to fill water. Pilgrims usually carry stone and water from the lake as prasad of Mansarovar. For continuous 4-5 hours, we had beautiful darshan of Kailash en route to Darchen ( our next pit stop). All I can say this land is not only blessed by GOD but they actually live here. Now it was sunset time, and never in my life, I have seen such a big sun drowning at the horizon. What a wow moment where you see every shade of nature in a single day.

The time we reached Darchen it was dark. After having dinner it became darker and the sky was again full of stars at your eye level. I could spend doing nothing but gazing at the stars if our trek was not planned in next early morning. We settled in the room with excitement to start our biggest journey of the lifetime.

Stay updated for my next post of Kailash Parikrama day -1 which we did on foot and seen 3 faces of Kailash.

If you have missed, then read previous articles in sequence

  1. Planning and preparation for the trip to Mount Kailash.
  2. Arrival in Kathmandu and visit to Pashupatinath as the start of the journey.
  3. Trips within the trip – Days spent in Nepalgunj and Simikot.
  4. Survival in no man’s land between Nepal and China
  5. Arrival at Mansarovar lake- first mystic experience.
  6. Complete information about Mansarovar, my experience of parikrama and dip in holy Mansarovar lake.
  7. First day of trek from Yam dwar to Derapuk to reach abode of Shiva.
  8. Second and toughest day of trek to reach 19500 ft at Dolma La pass
  9. Third and the last day of trek and coming back to home with tons of memories of Kailash

Stay fit and happy traveling. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post.

Picture and Information References: wikimedia.com, wikipedia.com, indiapilgrimtours.com and my friend Rupa.

 

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | First glimpse of Mansarovar lake

Entry in Tibet and Arrival at Mansarovar Lake

2nd June 2018

After an adventurous day in no man’s land between Nepal and China at Hilsa, we had to return to Nepal side because of rain and spent a night there. Whatever happened yesterday was history and it had no effect on today. We woke up with full energy and enthusiasm with only one thought, that we will cross the border today and move towards Mansarovar lake. Had breakfast, packed our bags and marched towards Chinese immigration office. We had to wait for an hour in no man’s land before entering the Chinese immigration office. This was our first checkpoint and then our real journey was about to begin. Chinese soldiers were checking each and every stuff manually, which was a time-consuming process.

Good news!

I was done with my immigration and was waiting for others when I saw a group entering the office from another end. This group was returning back from the Kailash Mansarovar trip. Trust me, they had a different charm, their face was glowing with happiness and I can see the sense of achievement in their body language. They were so positive that I could not resist myself asking about their experience. Few of them were lucky enough to complete Kailash Kora successfully, as weather was good. But, climatic condition on such high altitudes is always unpredictable and I was praying to get lucky too. I jumped out of joy when one told me that, now we can take a dip in Mansarovar lake. Woo Hoo! They also warned us about the difficulties of day two trek, till we reach the highest point Dolma La at 5700 mt and advised us to wear an extra layer to keep us warm. These tips from experienced travelers are real guide and lifesavers on such trek because this info is first hand and latest, which helps you to get mentally prepared. Many of us purchased their leftover oxygen cylinders and Chinese yuan from them. This interaction was so positive that I just wanted to reach Kailash as soon as possible. It’s all up to Lord Shiva, if he allows, we will complete our Kailash Mansarovar Yatra but, I was mentally prepared for any other test coming my way.

Rajkumar, a guy from travel agency informed us that our next destination was supposed to be Taklakot, but the trip is already delayed and we will stay at Mansarovar lake. Many of us argued with Rajkumar to arrange night stay at Taklakot, because its 4-star hotel and the Mansarovar has shared dormitory mudhouse. But for me, even a single bed was like good enough to spend a night. After so much adventure, luxury was last on the list. For me stay at Mansarovar lake was much better than stay at 4-star property.

Entry in Tibet’s Holy Land

After the immigration process, we boarded the bus and left for Mansarovar. It was like a dream of being in Tibetan land has come true. From now onwards, all the journey had to be done by bus. As we moved ahead, we were constantly looking at beautiful landscapes. We were driving on the cold desert with virgin mountains along with river Karnali on left. My fantasy for Tibetian colorful flags was elevated when I saw them everywhere in their homeland. There were very few houses and every house had put those flags religiously on the roof. Also, the dozens of big flags were tied in a conical form in open space, which was looking beautiful, when blown by the wind. Now, we got the first glimpse of snow clad mountains and the landscape was getting more and more beautiful as we moved ahead. And, hats off to the Chinese government for developing such deserted places.

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After an hour-long drive, we reached next checkpoint, where our luggage got scanned. We were at some place but, could not read the name, as everything was written in Chinese. We skipped our lunch to reach Taklakot in time, but dinner was delicious. This place has got a well-equipped market, where you can buy trekking stuff, medicines etc. After a short shopping time, we left from Taklakot in our bus to reach Mansarovar, which was an hour-long journey from here.

As we were closing by Mansarovar, I got nervous and started shivering. I went and sat beside one of the Sherpa. Till today, I am not able to figure out what had happened to me that evening. My heart was filled with mixed emotions, I was happy and nervous too, had a sense of accomplishment but, may be scared of the next challenge. I had been dreaming about Mansarovar lake for months and when it’s just a few steps away, I was frozen. I could not share this feeling with anyone. But, a small pat on my back and a hug from Rupa brought me back on track. Yes! My first milestone was achieved, I was at Mansarovar Lake. I couldn’t explain that moment in words, it was pure feeling.

Arrived at Mansarovar Lake

Finally, at 11:30 PM, we arrived at the guesthouse at Mansarovar lake. It was pitch dark when we got down from the bus. I could see some lights glowing at distance. I was surprised to see that because, as per my research there was no village or town nearby. But, when I started looking around and turning my head upwards at the sky, I realized those are not village lights but Stars. Our surrounding was full of stars and stars. It was like I was standing in the middle of the galaxy wrapped with a blanket of billions of stars. That place was flat and no big mountains nearby. So, I could see that blanket taking a big curve in the sky and falling through horizon. We were at 15000 ft, where stars looked so big and the sky was very near. I had never seen so many stars in the sky ever. The view was breathtaking. I didn’t have to turn my head even a degree to gaze at the stars because they were all at my eye level and I am not exaggerating. I could have never imagined this gorgeous view. Finding Ursa Major in billions of stars and feel lost with them was an amazing experience at Mansarovar lake.

 

First glimpse of Mansarovar Lake

After the sky view, it was time to settle for the night and find a place to sleep. I went to the dormitory with my gang and crashed on my bed.  Then I heard Ashok uncle actually wanted to take a night walk on Mansarovar lake. I could not stop myself and jumped out of my bed and volunteered to join him. I immediately layered up myself with more woolens, as it was too cold with chilling breeze outside. When we stepped out of the guest house, the sky view was changed. All the stars and galaxy that I saw a while ago were covered with clouds now. But, the excitement to go to the lake was on height. There was a fence and we stopped there, it was dark and we knew Mansarovar lake is in front of us. On the right side, we saw the reflection of Moon falling on the lake and that was the first glimpse of Mansarovar lake for us. I folded my hands, closed my eyes and prayed to Lord Shiva. The first purpose of my trip was met. Yes! I was at Mansarovar lake. I never thought that the Moon and its reflection in the lake can be so beautiful.

As per Hindu mythology, God and Goddess come down on earth to take a holy bath in Mansarovar lake, where I was standing right now. It was an overwhelming moment for me. I turned my head upwards to look at the sky and saw a great formation of clouds making face. My eyes left opened and I felt like the whole world has stopped for me at that moment. With folded hands, I chanted OM NAMAH SHIVAY! Before starting the journey, I only asked Lord Shiva to appear in one form or another. And, that cloud formation was Lord Shiva for me. It was the heart filled moment for me and that was the first time in my life, I felt to be surrounded by divinity. That night was actually very special, some of us saw cloud formation of Vibhuti, OM, Trishul, Third eye etc.

It was totally dark, so we could not see much but, waiting for clouds to move away from the Moon and then looking at its reflection in the lake was an amazing experience. The lake is very peaceful and one can definitely feel the extreme positivity around. We decided to get a little closer to the lake and so started walking towards. We had a torch but, was not enough to look at the trail. We stopped at a point, where the surface below started getting muddy. We were unsure about the starting point of the lake. So we just stood there for some time, without a single word from either of us. We could not see anything apart from slight moon reflection on the lake but, were feeling everything about that place. The lake looked peaceful, but we could hear some birds/animals making a sound. That time. I just had one thought for them that “How lucky are these birds who live at great Mansarovar lake, wish I could be one of those”.

Everyone might have felt differently but, all I can say, there is some supernatural energies do exist at this place. And the kind of strong feeling of positivity or the presence of divinity I had that time, I can’t write down. You have to come here yourself to feel eternal bliss.

After going towards lake 3-4 times from room, I slept to wake up early to witness Divya Jyoti in Brahm muhrat. So please stay tuned to know about my experience about Divya Jyoti and further journey towards Kailash, after a dip in Mansarovar.

Here are the links of all articles of my journey, do read

  1. Planning and preparation for the trip to Mount Kailash.
  2. Arrival in Kathmandu and visit to Pashupatinath as the start of the journey.
  3. Trips within the trip – Days spent in Nepalgunj and Simikot.
  4. Survival in no man’s land between Nepal and China
  5. Arrival at Mansarovar lake- first mystic experience.
  6. Complete information about Mansarovar, my experience of parikrama and dip in holy Mansarovar lake.
  7. First day of trek from Yam dwar to Derapuk to reach abode of Shiva.
  8. Second and toughest day of trek to reach 19500 ft at Dolma La pass
  9. Third and the last day of trek and coming back to home with tons of memories of Kailash

Stay fit and happy travelling. I would love to hear your thoughts on this post.

Om Namah Shivaay 🙂

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | Survival in no man’s land

Hilsa at Nepal-China border

 

Hey guys, I hope you enjoyed my last articles on my preparation and start of my journey to Kailash Mansarovar. If not then do read Planning and Preparation of the trip, a day in Kathmandu and days spent in Nepalgunj and Simikot so that you can stay connected with me on my journey. Hilsa was the fourth pitstop of our Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nepal route.  Hilsa is at Nepal and China border at an altitude of 3700 mt from sea level. The place is connected by a friendship bridge over Karnali river, which comes directly from Kailash. On the Nepal side, there is no road connectivity, so we had to come by helicopter from Simikot.

1st day of Hilsa – Arrival at the cold desert

30th May 2018

We arrived in Hilsa within 20-25 mins taking off from Simikot, our first chopper ride. I never thought of enjoy flying over lush green valleys with the river flowing down and crossing snow clad mountains. I was awestruck after looking at snow covered peaks from so near. There was a peak, which resembled Kailash in small form and all of us noticed that.

 

After landing in Hilsa we looked around with excitement. Yes! Our actual journey to Mansarovar was about to begin. Hilsa is a cold desert with virgin hills and was damn dusty. We felt a bit of breathing problem initially as we jumped around 900 mt that day. It’s a very small place with 5-6 guest houses and only 2 shops. From the helipad itself, we could look at China connected by hanging bridge with colorful prayer flags tied on the railings. These Tibetian prayer flags have mantras written over it. It is believed that mantras are blown by the wind to spread good will into space. That’s why it is always tied in the open air. These colorful flags have deep meaning inside more than using it for decoration.

 

We walked up to the guest house and suddenly I went into a flashback. I went 6-7 years back in my university days when my dad dropped at hostel. Suddenly I got a push on my back from Rupa and came back to presence. I had the same feeling because it was not less than my college hostel. A lot of rooms in a row and shared washrooms at both ends, that too not in good condition. Anyways, we jumped in first, so we had an advantage of choosing our space and got a 7-bedded dormitory, which looked pretty decent. Our gang including Rupa, Mauli, Jyothi, Sudhakar and I booked that room. Then, Dato Ji and Ashok uncle also joined us. By that time I was totally out of my comfort zone and moreover, I was above the thought of the male or female thing.

All of us settled down and then Ashok uncle asked me if I want to go on hike. I too wanted to explore the place, so we both got ready after wearing jacket, trekking shoes and scarf to cover up face. We hiked for around 2-3 km on road less land with pebbles all around. We covered decent distance on the banks of river Karnali. That was the overwhelming moment when we got to know the river was coming from Kailash. The positive and divine feelings started coming in. On another side of the river, we looked at immigration of Nepal which was not a good site to watch. It was like a temporary tent where our passport had to be stamped. Yes, you read it right. On the other side of the border, China has done great development. Roads were constructed and they had a big immigration building. It was a perfect example of the developed and underdeveloped country 😊.

After that short hike, I wanted to take bath. In the entire journey, I was determined to take a dip in ice-cold Mansarovar lake. So I always used to bath with the cold water to acclimatize for that climate. Now it was time for lunch and sherpa called us. It was simple and tasty food, which I still remember. After that, we had as such nothing to do, so we used to roam around here and there. Almost all of us came solo, but that feeling had gone totally and we were like family.

2nd Day of Hilsa – Waiting for passport

31st May 2018

The best part of such trips is you don’t have any track of date and time. You are completely cut off from the world. No internet, no calls, no traffic, and no pollution. I wish I could live rest of my life like this but, not lucky enough. I was wearing an analog watch, where India time was set. Nepal is 30 minutes ahead of IST, so it was manageable. But Hilsa is at the China border and as per Tibet timing, we were 2.5 hours ahead of IST. We were playing in the time zones of the three countries. Whenever Sherpa used to give instruction about lunch or dinner timing, we had to specifically ask about is it per Indian time, Nepalese time or the Chinese? Rupa and Sudhakar have got International roaming activated and internet(2G) was also working at Hilsa, so it became quite easy for me to contact at home.

We were excited because we were supposed to get our passport today. We were waiting for same but out of frustration, we started cracking silly jokes. I was like, I won’t look at Tibetan cloud till I get my passport. Then Rupa was like, even if Lord Shiva asks for my wish in person, I will say just grant me Chinese visa. I know it sounds silly but even such silly jokes were making our day wonderful. It was very soothing to sit on the river bank, listen to its sound, keep watching those bridge flags flying in air and just doing nothing. I miss that time.

Our trek was about to begin in few days, I decided to do a light workout to stay fit for the rest of the journey. I used to do squats, lunges, steppers, and situps. Jyothi and Sudhakar took lessons on power yoga and breathing exercise, so I just followed their instructions. I never did extensive breathing exercises, so after that, I used to take a power nap and I mastered in taking power naps 🙂 No matter how many people are talking in our room, I could easily sleep.

Due to high altitude Rupa, Mauli and Dato Ji felt sick and they had to take extra precautions. Even I caught cold, but got over it by taking medicines and drinking only hot water. We were already at high altitude and mild cold/fever/headache are the first symptoms of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) if not treated that time. And the worst thing is once you get caught by AMS then no medicine can help you. The only way is to come down at a lower altitude.

Instead of wishing good morning it became a practice to always say Om Namah Shivaay. If I keep the sickness aside, I can feel the positivity all around. People were meditating, doing yoga, few were high on spiritual thoughts, some of us were not religious but they were a kind soul. Different people from different places who have different perception about Shiva but everyone has one goal in common, to take a close look at Kailash and feel Lord Shiva. The positivity was so high that we realized that we are the chosen ones to come on this trip. We were so different from each other but that point we all were looking similar. Not physically but mentally, emotionally!

3rd Day of Hilsa – Got Passport and Left Nepal

1st June 2018

It was indeed a beautiful morning when Sherpa announced that our passports and visa are ready and will be delivered by the chopper today. Our excitement was on height when we were waiting for the first chopper sound but it got delayed due to rain in the morning. Finally, it arrived and we hooted out of joy. After breakfast, Purushottam from KailashJourneys called all of us to collect our passports. We had to leave our room after lunch. Sherpa warned us about the strict checking at China immigration office, especially about their scanning all photos in mobile and camera.  Any picture/article of Dalai Lama or immigration building in mobile or camera can end our journey there. So he suggested to hand over the camera and phone which they can bypass though sending in luggage and give it back to us after crossing the border.

We had our lunch, packed our bags and wohooo! We are finally going to cross Nepal-China border for which we were waiting for days. Now all of us were walking on the friendship bridge. This bridge was on the river connecting Nepal and China border. We reached the Nepal immigration and another agency’s batch was ahead of us. So, we had to wait for around 1.5 hours. It was too sunny that time, so I sat quietly near Karnali river, where I could listen to the soothing sound of water and feel the cold breeze. So, finally our batch’s turn came up and Sherpa started calling out names and asked to make a single queue. As I told earlier, this is very small immigration of temporary tent where 10 people could barely stand. So, we had to go one by one and get our passport stamped. That was the first stamp on my passport and it made me feel good. So officially we made exit and after that, I waved my hands to Nepal and said see you after coming back from Kailash.

We were waiting for our turn as there was another batch ahead of us at China immigration. So, all of us knew that the checking is very strict and the process is time-consuming. What we could do is to wait patiently in the no man’s zone between two countries. It was an experience to stand in no man’s land and don’t even belong to either of them. As the sun started climbing up, I started feeling the heat so I sat on the ground covering my head with my scarf. Our Sherpas were in touch with his counterpart on the Tibetan side. So every ten minutes we kept bugging him for updates. Because no one had enough patience to wait in the dust and sun. But, he was so kind and calm, every time we asked him, he replied very politely and gave a satisfactory answer with smile “Don’t worry, be patient and we won’t disappoint you. We will take you to your destination safely and bring back”. That answer gave us some strength and we forgot everything. It was like we were having a small picnic sitting down with everyone. Sounds crazy but it’s true. I was thinking about my entire journey right from start till today and I realized how it started with pain and problems but now everything is positive where I had only thoughts of the dip in Mansarovar and parikrama of Kailash. These feelings kept me energetic and positive that my trek to Kailash Mansarovar is about to begin. We were waiting for more than four hours and was hungry too but was got some packed food and water from Sherpas and we were all up again.

Survival in no man’s land between 2 countries

Sun was going down and clouds were passing by. By now, it started getting cold and we had to wear another layer of warm clothes. We rushed to piled up duffle bags to take out jacket and warm lower. It was very cold as we were in open space near Karnali river where the chilled wind was blowing. Moreover, it was paining to sit on hard surface because of my tail bone injury. I could not sit properly and could not stand also because of cold. We felt the sudden drop in temperature in evening. It was dark now and we were really stuck in the middle of nowhere. Siddharth advised us to sit in close circle and started teaching power yoga which gave some warmth that time.

It was completely dark by now and we saw China immigration office lights switching off. I didn’t want any more surprises that night and just wanted to cross the border. Was bit worried about the thought of spending the night in that cold desert land. Officially, we had nowhere to go. We have exited Nepal and China is not taking us in. Some of us thought of asking help from foreign minister over Twitter, but we already had given our mobiles. We really felt helpless and had no clue what’s happening. I was the youngest one in the group and was feeling too cold, just imagine how difficult it would have been for the elder ones out of which most people were above 50. Now we had the challenge to take care of ourselves and survive for an entire night in open space. Also, how to get into Tibet was still a question that time?

And you know what, it’s not the end here and there was more to come. Lord Shiva was actually taking a final test to check our strength. It started raining. Oh my God, what could be worse than this, you are stranded in no man’s land between two countries, you have no place to hide and now nature plays a game with you. But, it was so kind of our Sherpa, that he took a call and announced that everybody to go back to Nepal side guesthouse. We immediately rushed towards guesthouse through the friendship bridge, which was not at all friendly this time. We reached to the same room and thankfully it was not occupied.

We were actually shocked by the behavior and communication from the Chinese immigration office. It was a bit irresponsible on their side. How could they hold us for so long and did not communicate anything? Nobody had ever thought of this will happen. Maybe it was the test of patience or determination, but that experience was horrible. Our Sherpas started cooking dinner and served in that worst condition. That’s the very friendly relation between Nepal and India I could see. You will never feel as if you are in another country. On the other hand, we had a bad experience with China even before entering their land. We were not sure how things will turn up once we get inside. After exiting Nepal we again entered on the same date, nobody was sure if it was officially right or wrong. We just saved our lives, that’s all we knew. Rest was up to Shiva.

That night we slept with terrific experience of life and also with the hope of crossing border the next morning.

Here are the links of all of my articles on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, kindly read.

  1. Planning and preparation for the trip to Mount Kailash.
  2. Arrival in Kathmandu and visit to Pashupatinath as the start of the journey.
  3. Trips within the trip – Days spent in Nepalgunj and Simikot.
  4. Survival in no man’s land between Nepal and China
  5. Arrival at Mansarovar lake- first mystic experience.
  6. Complete information about Mansarovar, my experience of parikrama and dip in holy Mansarovar lake.
  7. First day of trek from Yam dwar to Derapuk to reach abode of Shiva.
  8. Second and toughest day of trek to reach 19500 ft at Dolma La pass
  9. Third and the last day of trek and coming back to home with tons of memories of Kailash

 

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | Trips within the trip

 Kathmandu – Nepalgunj – Simikot – Hilsa

I am sure you must have read about my preparation and a short read on the detailed itinerary and visit to Kathmandu as the starting point of my Kailash Mansarovar trip. After Kathmandu, the next destination was Nepalgunj and we were supposed to stay there for a night as everything was on schedule.  Kailash Journeys has two departures one is from Kathmandu and another one is from Nepalgunj, which is close to Lucknow at a distance of 200 km. I left my major luggage in Kathmandu and left for Nepalgunj.

Days in Nepalgunj

26th May, 2018

It was an hour-long flight from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj. Time was around 3:30 pm and the moment I stepped out of flight, the climate changes hit me. Kathmandu was little pleasant and Nepalgunj was burning hot. I could imagine a plot from old mythological TV series, where one of the character was showering fire on the evils and all the evils were burn to death. I know it is a stupid thought but, someone told me that its very natural to imagine such plots on such trips, so there is nothing wrong about it. This was at the lowest altitude (150 mt) in our entire journey.

Ramesh and Laxman from travel agency arrived at the airport to pick us and transfer to the hotel. Rupa, Mauli and I shared the same big room. We were exhausted and wanted to get cool down so I immediately switched on AC. We rested for an hour got fresh and stepped out for dinner. All the members of our group were asked to gather in a separate hall in the hotel. It was like a networking session which really helped. Till now, we were strangers and now we were teammates and friends for the next 10 days. Ramesh was waiting for everyone to gather so that he can make an announcement. I was very excited to know what is he going to announce but, that excitement converted into worry. He told our group visa is still under process and trip will be delayed by 4-5 days and till then we can’t cross the China border.

All of us booked in advance to stay overnight at Mansarovar lake to experience the auspicious full moon night. But because of this delay, we were going to miss the full moon night. I was a little sad as others and started realizing that why only a few people are lucky to complete this trip. It is not the trip that everyone can go on. Many quit, many get broken but, it’s all about how tall you stand determined with strong will power to achieve your goals. And trust me I was hell bend to complete this journey at any cost. Many people thought that they have to stretch for 4-5 days more, additional cost, office leaves, worrying wife, boss’s emails, targets, etc. But, my positive mind started telling me that 4-5 more days to explore Nepal. This was never part of your plan. And this is something additional (with cost as the agency had managed out stay for extra days at the same cost). I discussed this with Rupa and she got positive too. I was a different person now ie a positive, energetic and excited girl. I decided to go Lucknow directly from Nepalgunj as it was just 200KM away after returning back from Mansarovar. I asked Ramesh to get my luggage from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj, which he did. That could save a day of travel.

27th May, 2018

After taking breakfast, we had nothing do and I mean it. After too much excitement on the previous day in Nepalgunj, we decided to explore the place. We asked reception guys, they said there is Shaktipeeth named Bageshwari temple at walking distance. Also, he suggested going for a movie where Bollywood is played. And we took their advice seriously and went to both places.

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The temple is in the main city and you need to take token to enter in garbh-grah (sanctorum). Goddess Sati’s tongue is believed to have fallen at this place. There are four entrances to it and priest will close all doors before performing pooja. He removes old cloth and then you can see the fallen tongue and then covers it with a new piece of cloth.

After visiting temples, we came to hotel, had lunch and went for movie. Seriously? For the girl like me, who thinks going for movie is time waste had enough time there to watch the show 🙂 PCM and RP Yadav also joined us in our movie adventure in Nepal. We watched Bioscopewala movie. Overall we had a good time spent that day.

It was around 8.30 pm when we were having our dinner. Ramesh came to us and gave option either to stay in Nepalgunj or to fly Simikot which is a very small hill station and with poor facilities. Many of us preferred to stay because of accommodation problem but some opted to fly Simikot, just to acclimatize body with the altitude, and I was one of them. I chose to fly mainly because of temperature, I can handle cold but not heat. Next morning,
almost 50% our group was ready to fly after breakfast.

Days in Simikot

28th May 2018

Simikot it is. We arrived in Simikot (2910 mt) by small 16 seater mountain aircraft. I have heard stories about turbulence in small mountain aircraft but, never thought of experiencing so soon. My heart was in my mouth when the aircraft was in air. But, when I saw the view from the window, all the fear vanished. Since then, I was continuously gazing out of the window, wherein I could see mountains and river streams. I love mountains more than anything else. I am so fascinated with mountains that I will marry a guy whose name is Kailash, Rocky, Girish, Shailesh, etc. Just kidding :). It was 45 mins of flying time and excitement of visiting a new place kept on increasing. Finally, we landed in Simikot and trust me, it was very beautiful. First of all, it was cold and secondly, we were in the lap of Himalayas. It was the perfect place to be in. Combination of cold climate and Himalaya is the best one. I didn’t care about the facilities and was enjoying the views of Himalaya. Simikot is a very small place and our hotel was hardly at 5 mins of walk from airport. The airport has flights coming from Nepalgunj and helicopters flying for Hilsa.

Rupa, Mauli and I were having time of our life and we were gang by now. And in Simikot trip, we got comfortable with a lovely couple, Jyothi and Sudhakar, who were from Vizag. We decided to share a common room and Sudhakar was in an adjacent room to us. Within a few days we had to start our biggest trek, so we decided to go for a small warm-up hike in nearby mountains. We went to a temple remotely located at a hike of only 2 km. I started my journey alone and now I made four new friends by now. Every time we used to make fun of each other, cracking stupid jokes and laugh endlessly. Our all-time target was Mauli, who is London based NRI but dil se desi (local by heart).

29th May 2018

After breakfast, as usual we had nothing to do. Rupa and I were just walking around when I saw an army camp on the top of a hill. We both looked at each other with a broad smile. We both had the same thought of going on another short trek. We got ready to leave for the trek to army base and saw an old Malaysian guy in his early 50ies walking toward us. He was Dato ji. He asked if he can join us for trek and we agreed and now there was one more addition to our gang. Now we have six-member gang to conquer Kailash trek. We trekked to top and I felt like to breathe the pure air as much as I can. After spending some time on top, we came down to our base (hotel) where we met a friend of Sudhakar, who had been to Kailash before. His experience was valuable to us and we started taking tips from him. He explained the difficulties about taking dip in Mansarovar lake and how challenging it’s going to be on 2nd day of the trek. Also, he advised us to hire a porter and that tip was a life saver for all of us.

We also met few others at the airport, who were coming from Kailash. Many of them told that taking dip in lake is prohibited by Chinese govt now and news is live on TV. Also, the weather is not clear so everyone has to come back after 1st day of trek. A lot of negative news started coming in and this was the first time I actually felt sad. But again, my positive side of the brain started working and the good news was that I will get some more time to recover from my tail bone injury which could have helped me in later stage of the journey.

I remember it was full moon night which we were supposed to spend at Mansarovar. But nevertheless, Siddharth and his family beautifully organized Satya Narayan katha in the evening. Moreover, he was translating to English for the people who could not get Hindi. That was some talent, hats off to him. After the Katha session, we had our dinner and crashed on the bed.

Simikot-Hilsa by Helicopter

30th May 2018

We had our breakfast and again we had nothing to do, so we were just sitting and chatting. After some time, we saw Sagar from the tour agency asked people from our group who wants to go Hilsa and who wants to stay back in Simikot. He told us that Hilsa is a cold desert place with full of dust. Most of us decided to move ahead and explore a new place instead of staying back. Immediately we went to our room and packed bags and left to fly in the helicopter. Yes! it was my first helicopter ride and I was pretty excited.

Hilsa trip by chopper was the most dangerous adventure of my life I have done ever. It was roller coaster ride. More ups and downs cutting air between the mountains. But somehow, we made it safely. I really salute to the pilots who fly these choppers and aircraft in such extreme conditions of air pressure. It required some serious skills. Now we were in Hilsa, and trust me I have a lot of interesting experiences here to share. So please stay tuned for my next article on my experience in Hilsa. How we got stuck and survived in no man’s land between two countries (Nepal and China), How did we spent that time, how did we go through the border and many more. Stay connected.

Here are the links of all of my articles on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, kindly read.

  1. Planning and preparation for the trip to Mount Kailash.
  2. Arrival in Kathmandu and visit to Pashupatinath as the start of the journey.
  3. Trips within the trip – Days spent in Nepalgunj and Simikot.
  4. Survival in no man’s land between Nepal and China
  5. Arrival at Mansarovar lake- first mystic experience.
  6. Complete information about Mansarovar, my experience of parikrama and dip in holy Mansarovar lake.
  7. First day of trek from Yam dwar to Derapuk to reach abode of Shiva.
  8. Second and toughest day of trek to reach 19500 ft at Dolma La pass
  9. Third and the last day of trek and coming back to home with tons of memories of Kailash