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

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