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

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!

Importance of Maha Shivratri | Places visited in one year

LORD SHIVA

 

Shiva is the start, Shiva is the end

He is the end of every start

He is the start of every end.

He is the truth, he is the myth

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

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

He is the cosmic rhythm, he is the Natraj

He is Vairagyi, but has a beautiful family

He is the ultimate truth, he is the ultimate destination

He lives in Kailash, or he himself is Kailash

He is the phenomenon beyond any human imagination.

He is that which is not.

 

Importance of Maha Shivratri

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

There are a lot of legends associated with this festival.

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

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

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

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

Visited Places in duration of MahaShivratri 2018 to 2019

 

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

Kalpeshwar – 31st March 2018

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

 

Kedarnath – 1st October 2018

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

 

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

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

Tungnath – 23rd December 2018

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

 

Happy Mahashivratri. May everybody get blessings from Shiva.

Om Namah Shivaay!

 

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

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | Trips within the trip

 Kathmandu – Nepalgunj – Simikot – Hilsa

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

Days in Nepalgunj

26th May, 2018

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

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

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

27th May, 2018

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

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

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

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

Days in Simikot

28th May 2018

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

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

29th May 2018

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

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

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

Simikot-Hilsa by Helicopter

30th May 2018

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

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

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

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

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | Arrival in Kathmandu

Kathmandu – the start of Journey

I am sure you must have read about my recent article on planning and preparation for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. So finally, the most awaited day had come i.e 25th May, 2018 when my biggest journey had to begin from Kathmandu.

Kathmandu is the capital and largest city of Nepal at an altitude of 1400 mt. This is an only international airport in the country, hence you will see a lot of foreign tourists and trek enthusiasts. Nepal is very beautiful and attracts thousands of trekkers for very famous Everest Base camp, Annapurna circuit trek and lot more.

We had to give our passport to travel agent of KailashJourneys in Delhi for group visa. They have to apply for Tibet permit and then group visa before one month of travel date. By 25th May it was supposed to arrive, but didn’t get due to some delay. Travel agency promised that everybody will get passport in Nepal. I enquired how to fly internationally without the passport. Then I got to know only passport and voter Id card is accepted for Nepal. So, I used my voter Id to travel.

I took the early morning flight from Delhi to Kathmandu and a staff member from KailashJourneys came to receive me at the airport. I was looking around the city and had a feeling of girl in Queen movie who came alone. After 30 minutes of drive, we reached Yak and Yeti hotel. I had the full day to relax because briefing of the entire Kailash yatra had to happen in the evening when everybody would arrive. At 6 PM, all of us gathered in a hall where a representative from KailashJourneys had come to welcome. He explained our itinerary well starting from Kathmandu to Kailash parikrama. He advised what things to carry, where to buy, when to hire pony or porter. And, most importantly he explained clearly that facilities will go worse as we move ahead in the journey in terms of food, accommodation, sanitation etc. Not only this but also we will face difficulty as we go higher in altitude. Acute mountain sickness is a major problem when being hit. So, to take proper care was the only key.

 Itinerary 

Day 01: Kathmandu Arrival (1400m) – Overnight in Kathmandu

Evening – A short briefing about Kailash Manasarovar Yatra

Day 02: Kathmandu Sightseeing & Fly to Nepalgunj (150m) – Overnight in Nepalgunj

After Breakfast – Half day sightseeing of Pashupatinath and Guhyeshwari

Afternoon – Flight Kathmandu to Nepalgunj (1hr) & Transfer to Hotel in Nepalgunj

Day 03: Fly Nepalgunj – Simikot (2900m) & Heli to Hilsa (3700m) & Drive to Taklakot (3900m) – Overnight in Taklakot

Early Morning – Flight Nepalgunj to Simikot (1hr). Rest for few hours at Simikot.

Morning – Take Helicopter to Hilsa (20min – 12kg weight limit) & wait for other members to arrive at Hilsa (since it is a group visa and everyone have to enter Tibet side in one group)

Afternoon – From Hilsa drive to Purang border to Taklakot and stay at Hotel. We will stay overnight at Taklakot.. (On the way we have to pass up to 3 Checkpoints where checking might take upto 1 hr in each post)

Day 04: At Taklakot (3900m) – Rest Day – Overnight in Taklakot

All Day – Entire day free for Acclimatization

Day 05: Drive to Manasarovar Lake (4550m) – Overnight in Manasarovar

After Breakfast – Drive towards Manasarovar Lake (95 km). On the way, you will have to pass the first checkpoint. Then after driving for 70 km from Taklakot, we will reach Rakshas Tal. On the right of Rakshas Tal, you will see Gurla Mandhata Parvat & first view of Mount Kailash and Manasarovar lake. Drive from Rakshas Tal to Manasarovar Lake (25 km). Start Parikrama of Manasarovar Lake (90 km – 3hr by bus). Take a holy dip & perform Puja.

Day 06: 1st Day of Parikrama – Drive to Darchen (4650m) & Yama Dwar & Trek to Dirapuk (4880m) – Overnight in Dirapuk

After Breakfast – Drive to Darchen (35 km – 1 hr) and Yama Dwar (8 km) – the starting point for Kora. We will trek to Dirapuk for 14 km. You will visit the North face of Mt. Kailash and touching the feet of Mt. Kailash (Charan Sparsha). Travelers who do not want to trek around (Parikrama) Mt. Kailash can go back to Darchen wait for the rest of the group to arrive from Parikrama.

Hotel: Mudhouse on the way during Parikrama or Stay in Dormitory Guest House at Darchen

NOTE: If you are not doing Parikrama, then you will still be waiting at Darchen (4650m)

Day 07: 2nd Day of Parikrama – On to Zuthulpuk (4670m) via Trek to Dolma La Pass (5700m) – Overnight in Zuthulpuk

After Breakfast – Trek from Dirapuk to Dolma La Pass (8 km). About 3 kms before reaching Dolma La Pass is a steep hill and quite difficult to walk. Also descending from Dolma La Pass is the same for upto 3 km. While descending you can see Gaurikund on the right. After walking for about 2 – 3 hrs we will reach Phedi. After some rest, we will start trek to Zuthulpuk (12 km trek for 6 hours).

NOTE: If you are not doing Parikrama, then you will still be waiting at Darchen

Day 08: 3rd Day of Parikrama – Trek to Darchen – Drive to Hilsa via Taklakot – Overnight in Hilsa / Simikot

After Breakfast – After short easy Trek (8 km – 3 hrs), we will reach our bus pick up point. Then drive to Darchen (3 kms) and merge with other members who were waiting. From there drive to Hilsa (also we will take helicopter to Simikot based on situation)

Day 09: Fly Hilsa – Simikot – Nepalgunj & Fly back to Kathmandu – Overnight in Kathmandu

Fly to Hilsa to Simikot (20 mins) by Helicopter – Fly from Simikot to Nepalgunj (around 1 hr)/ Surkhet and fly back to Kathmandu (or proceed to Lucknow by Road)

Day 10: Transfer to Kathmandu Airport

Certificate of completion will be provided to you from Kailash Journeys. You will be free till your flight time. We will drop you at Airport 1-2  hour before flight time (30 mins drive).

 

Post Briefing

Everyone was given duffle bag, jacket, cap and passport holder. It was mandatory to use their duffle bag because our bag may get lost while transfer from one place to another place. In Nepal, our Indian currency works, so I was not worried. I had to only exchange INR to Chinese Yuan currency. They exchanged Rs 24,000 to 2000 Chinese Yuan at the conversion rate of 12. It was sufficient for me as I didn’t plan to hire either a pony or porter. If you hire pony then you need to pay 2000 Yuan and 800 Yuan for the porter which is fixed.

The dinner was ready and by this time, I started interacting with other group members. Not only the group was mix and match of every state of India, but also there were a lot of NRIs came for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. I was hesitating initially but was amazed when I interacted more and got to know that about 75% of members came on solo trip. Now I gained confidence and was happy that there are also other crazy people like me :). I met people who shared the same table for dinner and got comfortable with Rupa (came solo from Bangalore), Mauli (came solo from London) and a few others. Moreover, everyone was very enthusiastic about their journey of the lifetime. We shared experiences of our previous treks and advised some tips. Overall the positive vibes started flowing all around.

Pashupatinath temple

On 26th May morning after breakfast, we left by bus for Pashupatinath temple visit to take blessings for entire Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

Pashupati temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is believed to be part of Kedarnath temple. It has four-faced self-manifested Shiv linga around which parikrama happens. The temple lies on the banks of Bagmati river and the big statue of golden Nandi bull guarding outside the temple has the main attraction. Pashupati temple is in the main city of Kathmandu. It is the largest complex in Nepal and there are other Hindu and Buddhist deities as well.

Camera and mobile phones are not allowed inside the temple. Unknowingly, I clicked some pictures and was caught by the security. He deleted the pictures and powered off the phone. It was Saturday and the place was overcrowded. We had to rush to visit next destination Guhyeshwari temple and then had to board flight for Nepalgunj.

Guhyeshwari Shaktipeeth

Guhyeshwari temple is one of the 52 Shaktipeeth and is about 1 km to the east of Pashupatinath temple lies on the banks of Bagmati river. Temple is dedicated to Adi Shakti or Sati (consort of Shiva). Sati’s hind part is said to have fallen at this place. The sanctorum is accessible through a small passage.

Bags packed and ready to fly Nepalgunj

It was 12:30 PM we reached our hotel back and all were happy after having darshan of Pashupatinath and Shaktipeeth. Now, we had to rush to pack our bags and take only necessary stuff for rest of the journey. We transferred essentials into the duffle bag given by KailashJourneys and left our bags in Kathmandu hotel itself. We had to be bit careful while packing because the bag should weigh maximum 10 kg as we had to board helicopter going forward. After lunch, we departed from Kathmandu. And, by this time I made 2 friends Rupa and Mauli with whom I could chit-chat and crack funny jokes. 

 

This is how we started our journey of Kailash Mansarovar from Kathmandu with excitement and full of positive energy. Stay tuned for next post on Nepalgunj. 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!

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!