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!

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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!

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | Call from Kailash

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, the name says it all. I am sure, not many people know about it but for some, it’s a place to get Moksha. It’s like the final destination of the Bhole bhakts and trekkers. Kailash parvat (mountain) well known to be the abode of Lord Shiva, a majestic pyramid of rock and snow is 22000 ft above sea level. Mansarovar is the highest freshwater lake at an altitude of 15,000 ft.

The peak lies in the remote western region of Tibet, which is the holiest places on earth. This is sacred to people of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Bon faith and considered to be navel of earth. The lake is believed to be manifested in mind of Lord Brahma, situated in the southeast region of Mt Kailash. Pilgrims take holy dip in lake and experience a spiritual revelation. Usually, pilgrims do Kora (parikrama) of the lake and Mount Kailash. The journey is not an easy feat, becomes difficult at high altitude and extreme weather conditions. However, the reward is priceless.

Call from Kailash

Being devotee and die-hard fan of Lord Shiva, I have a lot of pictures pasted on my wall related to places of spiritual significance behind Shiva like Panch Kailash, Panch Kedar, Jyotirlinga etc. And Kailash frame had always been on top. Waking up every morning and looking at it is like Kailash is calling me. It’s the Kailash who calls us, not the other way round. One fine day of Oct 2017 I thought of going there, I don’t know what clicked me. But yes, I decided to go for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra coming year as the yatra runs from mid-May to September only.


And by now I have made my decision to go to Mount Kailash. This was one of the major decision of my life or dream coming true. I was very happy but nervous too. So, I thought I will get some too for the company and I asked my best friend with whom I traveled a lot in the Himalayas. After many discussions on coffee, I somehow managed to convince him. I was feeling top of the world as I was supposed to live my dream with my best buddy.

 

Stage 1: Planning

Now that we decided to go for trip, we started doing research on the net. Started calling to the agents who organize Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, as you cannot go on your own. You have to book the tour through a travel agent, as it requires group visa to enter in Tibet from India. I did some research on possible routes, the safest way, how to reach in less no. of days, the best time to visit and the budget off course. etc. And then after all the research, I shortlisted one tour operator based on the customer reviews. Every tour operator said the best time to travel is May-June and September. Off course I could not wait that long to live in heaven. Therefore, I booked the full-moon batch of May 2018 with KailashJourneys at 1.6 lac per person. The route I chose was from Kathmandu by helicopter with a duration of 10 days. Yes! I was very excited that my booking is done and finally I could get to see mount Kailash.

From the day I made the booking, I was reading and watching youtube videos too much. I was always mesmerized by the beautiful pictures and experiences shared by pilgrims. This is the journey which represents a bond between nature and spiritual energies. One can feel the immense peace within and presence of Shambhoo all around. I even used to see dreams of me taking a dip in Holy Mansarovar. Waking up after seeing such a beautiful dream is definitely a blessing.

Stage 2: Preparation

Everything is set now. Booking done, received confirmation, dates finalized. I have been doing a lot of treks in last couple of years but, not as high as Kailash Mansorvar. So first I had to prepare myself, both physically and mentally. So I decided to do a few high altitude treks to practice. I went to Tungnath in Uttarakhand, which is at 12,000 ft and about 4.5 kms trek from Chopta. Tungnath trek gave me little confidence but, it was clear to me now that Kailash Mansorovar is not going to be that easy. Though, I gained experience from this trek and got an idea that how difficult it’s gonna be when you lose breath at altitude. But it was just 10% of the Kailash Mansarovar trek which total trek would be of 55 kms at high altitude with unpredictable and extreme weather conditions. After coming back from Tungnath, I joined a gym and focused on cardio, strength training, legs exercises, and yoga to control breathing.

I was happy that I was getting physically and mentally prepared for the tour. Now, the next challenge was to save money for the trip. You can imagine the life of a bachelor testing engineer living in a rented apartment with flatmates, away from family. Yes! you got me right :). I decided to cut down expenses and started saving because I had a few
months in hands and I didn’t want to compromise on my tour. The goal was very clear to me. I started dreaming about me facing towards The mighty mount Kailash and just staring at it for hours. And I am glad that dream came true 🙂

Stage 3: Real test before the journey begins

It was early April when I had to complete all formalities for the trip. I called my friend for some doubt and he informed that he can’t make it because of some family emergencies. This was is least I expected. Now the negative side of my brain started working. What will happen if I go alone, never did the solo trip so will be it safe, that too on foreign land? But then the positive side of my brain stepped in and advised me to stick to the plan. It will be the group tour of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, so I won’t be alone. There will be many like me who will come and live their dream. It was the challenge or test of determination. I prepared myself harder, did more gymming to stay fit anyhow and mentally made myself strong.

I submitted all documents and made full payment to tour operator in April. But after 2 days, I got to know that there was a typo in account number and money was transferred to the wrong account. It was the agency’s mistake and so they agreed to accommodate me and confirmed my trip. I shall always be thankful to them.

I had to travel on 25th May and by that time I bought all trekking gears from Decathlon with help of their experts in hiking and trekking section. Bags were packed and the excitement was on height. But one more twist was yet to come. Just before a day of journey ie 24th, I slipped in office and got hurt in tail bone and it became difficult to sit in chair. I was preparing myself for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from months and at the last moment was going through severe pain. In front of Shiva, I literally cried to help me out, so that I can do trek at 19000 ft. I took hard painkillers and moved on. Ufff! another test to pass.

I realized, it’s not easy and only selected reach their destination. I was determined to go and was not ready to give up on this. Finally, the day has arrived, all the pain has gone, all the evil thoughts have vanished and the only thing I can see was THE MIGHTY MOUNT KAILASH!

Excitement for the biggest journey

With all of the problems and situations, I never thought of giving up on idea to go for Kailash. I just had one thing in my mind “Chahe kuch bhi ho, jana hai to jana hai” (No matter what happens, I will go).

I was alone but not alone, was always with Shiva in one or other form. It’s all in the mind, I convinced myself. And believe me, this helped me throughout my journey. Above that, you need to be blessed by Shiva. Since this was my first international solo trip, I was very excited. I consider it to be a good start of being with myself. Was excited for the trek, nature, to be in group, make new friends and lot more.

This is how I planned my trip, did preparation for the Journey of my lifetime Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. I will be posting more information on the complete itinerary along with expenses and day wise experiences of the trip starting from Kathmandu. Stay tuned! And don’t forget to like and share it. Let other Shiva Lover get to know and learn from my experience and plan their
journey well.

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

OM NAMAH SHIVAAY!

Tungnath – World’s highest Shiva temple

Trek the Himalayas

Himalayas are calling and I must go. Himalayas are the beginning and end of all natural scenery for me. I decided to go on small trek in mountains, but could not compromise with the beauty. Hence finalized to go Tungnath again in December end and trek the Himalayas which I did last year also.

Tungnath temple is world’s highest Lord Shiva temple at an altitude of 12,073 ft from sea level. It is believed to be 5000 years old from the time of Mahabharath and comes third in pecking order of Panch Kedar. Read complete story from my earlier post.

Day 1 – Journey from Rishikesh to Chopta

The first step to reach Tungnath is to choose your transport wisely. We reached Rishikesh by bus early morning and had to wait for our cab by chasing chilling breeze. That wait itself gave us idea how cold its gonna be there in Chopta and Tungnath. Moreover, its not going to be easy to trek the Himalayas. By 6:30 AM our cab arrived and we started for Chopta. The cab driver Bablu was a well experienced guy to drive in hills. He holds driving experience of more than 20 years and has driven big commercial vehicles even trucks. Not only this but also he had great knowledge of all the towns, rivers, peaks and hidden stories behind them.

It was 8:30, we took halt at small town Devprayag. This is the place where two sacred rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet, and is known as Ganga after this point. This town is the seat of Priests from Badrinath dham. People take holy dip at confluence, but we didn’t even think of as it was too cold.

Alaknanda looked very calm and was flowing silently. Whereas the Bhagirathi had its own flow with lot of rapids

 

After having breakfast of delicious Paratha and Chai we resumed our journey. The roads are under construction due to char dham yatra project. But you will be happily driving along with Alaknanda river which looked dark green and very silent as if its not flowing at all. Tune in to good music, drive in mountains, clouds circling around, river flowing by your side and tripping with the best buddies. What else do you want from life?

After driving for 3 more hours, we reached Rudraprayag which is the confluence of Alaknanda and Mandakini. From this point we had to be together with Mandakini river going ahead. This is the longest route in India where you will be driving along with the river as told by driver. After crossing this, we took lunch break at Sheetal hotel. I laid down on grassland and then heard sound of ducks. I asked Satish to catch one, but he successfully failed 🙂

 

As we moved towards Ukhimath, we experienced many breathtaking scenes of river with Himalayas my love. We reached Dugalbitha (6 kms from Chopta) at 3 PM where I booked accommodation. We immediately ordered Tea and Maggi, which gives immense pleasure when in mountains. Then we decided to go for short hike and gaze at Himalayan peaks which looked magical at time of sunset.

Night was icy cold and we layered with sweaters, jackets and got inside blankets. This is how the first day ended. We slept early with excitement and enthusiasm to trek the Himalayas next morning.

 

Day 2 : Himalaya Trekking to reach Tungnath

I woke up, I smiled because I could see Tungnath and Chandrashilla peak from my window and I call it as perfect morning 🙂

By 8, we got ready, packed bag and stepped out to leave for Chopta from where the trek begins. It felt like driving on the hidden road to heaven crossing lush green valley loaded with fresh snow.

Chopta is well equipped market, you can buy essentials for trekking, I have covered details later.

Entrance to heaven

 

We started our trek by ringing bell at the entrance after taking name of Lord Shiva. There is small registration counter near entrance charging Rs 150 per person which is mandatory.

Initially we faced breathing problem and our body was shivering but the soul was determined to reach on top.

Total length of the trek is only 4.5 kms, but is worth and rewarding.

 

 

Maggi in lap of Himalayas

 

After hiking for 1 km, we encountered a shop- the only open shop on this trail. We enjoyed Maggi sitting on grass land and looking at the magnificent Himalayas all around. We could see snow clad mountains at distance which would look very near in few hours.

 

 

 

 

Proper paved path is made, so you need not worry for trail. But remember this can be slippery when snow melts. After seeing continuous patches of ice, we took out our spikes and fixed with trekking shoes. This actually saved us from trouble from being slipped throughout the day.

We trekked the Himalayas for around 1 hour and got indulged with the immense beauty of the place. Within no time we were above all the mountains and by then sun was out. I extended my arms looking at sun and felt like first light of the day has kissed my face. Standing on sheets of snow, surrounded by giant Himalayas and covered with quilt of circling clouds is a bliss. We were gazing at the countless layers of mountains and did not talk with each other for sometime. After that, Satish thanked me and said he has never seen such kind of breath taking view.

Arriving at Tungnath temple

I got first glimpse of Tungnath temple covered with snow, and above that clouds magnified the view. This is the beautiful thing one can ever witness. We attempted many off track treks, but nothing compared with the last stretch to reach temple. We had to pull out legs from snow covered till calves and it became very difficult. But its beautiful feeling to reach on top after putting so much efforts.

We reached world’s highest Shiva temple and bowed down. It was an overwhelming moment looking at the temple, great mountains and mesmerizing view. One can feel the immense peace and positive vibes around this place. Like every other temple, this also has Nandi statue outside guarding the temple. Although it was closed, but that time in my mind I had the story of Panch Kedar that how Lord Shiva appeared here in form of hand. Such kind of places are for spiritual souls above than religious values. Its the place one can feel how insignificant we are in front of nature and massive world.

Before descending, we took out packed lunch and ate Paratha sitting on huge rock. We spent around 2 hours near the temple sitting quietly. To get down was easy but need to take care of the slippery path. We again attempted few shortcuts by sliding in snow and getting down very quickly. While coming back we had enough time to witness sunset, so we took long breaks and relaxed on grassland.

While going to Tungnath, plan it accordingly so that you don’t miss beautiful sunset which happens on right side when you come down. Sky was painted in orange and last rays were falling on snow clad mountains. What a Wow!

Immediately after reaching Chopta, we grabbed cup of tea which gave us enough warmth. We sat in cab to reach hotel, but vehicle started slipping off due to snow on road was melting. Our driver was experienced, so were relaxed.

 

Time for Celebrations!

After coming to hotel the feeling of accomplishment was within us. Everyone was happy after refreshing journey of mind and body. The hotel owner Dinesh ji arranged bonfire for us and within no time everyone gathered, played music, guitar and Dholak. Few of them did trekking for the first  time. At last we all shared experience of Himalaya trekking.

We had simple and delicious dinner of Dal, Rice, Roti and Sabzi. Following that, we came out for walk on road under billions of stars who were playing hide and seek behind clouds. And around 11 PM, we slept after late night talks of the trek.

Quick tips

  • Carry enough water bottles and eatables as there will be only 1 opened shop all the way.
  • Wear good trekking shoes along with snow spikes. It will really help a lot to get grip. Wearing shoes cover is also recommended as it will protect shoes from letting in snow.
  • You can take stick and rubber boots on rent from Chopta.
  • Do not litter on the way. Carry wrappers or bottles and dispose them in Chopta.
  • Start trek as early as possible in morning to witness all shades of nature until sunset.

 

How to reach 

  • Reach from Delhi to Rishikesh by Bus, Train or Cab.
  • Rishikesh to Chopta distance is 220 kms and there is no direct transport. So, you can hire direct taxi till that place. Or, go by bus till Ukhimath and hire taxi from there itself. Ukhimath is only 40 kms from Chopta.
  • Bus frequency from Rishikesh to Ukhimath is very low, so plan the trip wisely. I would recommend to hire direct taxi till Chopta.
  • Stay in Dugalbhitta or Chopta and trek the Himalayas next morning to visit Tungnath and Chandrashilla.

 

Recommendations

Don’t expect to find any luxurious hotel around this place. I stayed in Dugalbithha couple of times and found the hospitality of the owner and staff members to be awesome. Rooms are neat and clean with fully loaded blankets. Food is very simple and delicious. Moreover, view from this place is very beautiful. So have peaceful stay, trek the Himalayas and visit world’s highest Lord Shiva temple.

Contact Dinesh at +91 94101 15787

Explore more at himalayanrovers.com

 

Tungnath is one of the most beautiful adventure treks of Garhwal region. I highly recommend this to everyone. I would love to hear from you on this post. Write below in comments or drop me message.

Stay fit and happy travelling!

Visit to Kedarnath Temple | Day 2

Shiv Lingam Darshan

After visiting temple on previous day, we were prepared for next day to have Shiv Lingam darshan. It was 1st Oct, Monday and we were blessed to be there on that day. Temple was about to open at 5 AM for pilgrims and it was damn cold. The moment we came out of room and saw the magnificent view of Kedar ranges, then all the shivering went off . It was very clear sky and all the peaks behind the temple were visible.

As you walk towards temple, you will hear some chants from distance. The complete aura of the place was filled with positive vibes. When I went near to it, I heard Shiv Mahima Stotram, after that Lingashtakam and few more Shiv stuti. People put in lot of faith in such kind of places which adds glory and it becomes ultimate pilgrimage. Visit to Kedarnath temple must be very special for every pilgrim.

Kedarnath Shrine

Continue reading “Visit to Kedarnath Temple | Day 2”

Visit to Kedarnath Temple | Day 1

Journey to Kedarnath Temple

 

Kedarnath shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva lies in Garhwal region of Uttarakhand at an altitude of 11755 ft. It is among Panch Kedar, 12 Jyotirlinga and Char Dham yatra. This place holds an important significance to be visited as per mythology. It is believed that temple is built around 5000 years ago by Pandavas. Please have a look at story behind the temple and Panch Kedar.

Started the journey

By taking name of Shambhoo, we friends in group of 5 started our journey from Gaurikund on 30th Sept,2018. Time was around 6:30 AM and it was bit cold due to height and river Mandakini flowing by side. Gaurikund is a well equipped market from where you can buy every thing for your journey, but carry cash as there are no ATMs.

Gaurikund market

We bought wooden sticks and started from the market. Not to worry about the food and water, as there would be lot of shops on the way. All you need is faith and courage.

Total length of the trek is 22 kms which looked pretty descent but we had to cover it in single day. From Gaurikund itself, you would come across lot of pony options as well and they charge around Rs 2000.

From very starting, you will come across lush green Kedar valley and Mandakini river on your right hand side.

Continue reading “Visit to Kedarnath Temple | Day 1”

Deoria Tal | Trek for beginners

From EPICS…

Deoria Tal is the lake related with a story from Mahabharat. It is located in Garhwal region of Himalayas at an altitude of 8000 ft from sea level. When Padavas were hiking in this high altitude Himalayan range, they felt thirsty and then saw this lake. They were warned by Yaksha asking them not to drink water unless they answer his questions. Except Yudhishtira, all brothers went dead after drinking water from the lake. So, Yudhishtira entertained Yaksha and answered to his queries successfully and gave life to his brothers.

This lake is surrounded by plain land and and lush green forest with Himalayas at the back. The view turns so mesmerizing when reflection of Chaukhambha peak falls straight on the water of lake. Apart from the reflection, you can see bunch of clouds circling around the snow covered peaks. These kind of views are just awesome.

Continue reading “Deoria Tal | Trek for beginners”

Trek to Tungnath

Most of you must be knowing that Tungnath is the world’s highest Shiva temple at an altitude of 12,073 ft. Not only this, but also this beautiful destination is the ultimate trekking paradise for beginners. When you head towards Chopta from Ukhimath, you will get to see some Himalayan peaks like Mandini, Chaukhama, Sumeru, Kedar range etc. You will drive through the lush green valley and can see these great snow covered peaks at distance. I have already covered major details about the place and how to reach in my earlier post.

The temple remains open only for 6 months but trekking is on throughout the year. We stayed at Dugalbitha which is 6 kms before Chopta, again a very peaceful place which is far beyond the chaos of Delhi. It was around 10 AM and by that time we were done with breakfast and packed ourselves with woolen stuff as it was chilled weather with temperature of 2-3 degree in day time. On the way till Chopta, we saw fresh snow on the road and up in the mountains, everybody got so happy and excited to start trekking.

 

About trekking

Distance: 4 kms

Level: Moderate (proper paved path is made)

Maximum altitude : 12073 ft

Time taken: Around 6-7 hours to and fro

Trekking gear: Good trekking shoes, hiking stick, UV goggles, Cap/Hat, Raincoat, Spikes (if going during snow time)

 

Continue reading “Trek to Tungnath”