My first visit to Jim Corbett

My first visit to Jim Corbett

 

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

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

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

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

Road trip begins from Noida

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

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

Lost in Nature

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

 

Ready for the open Safari in Jim Corbett

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

 

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

 

Jungle, Animals and you

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

 

 

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

 

Yet to spot the Tiger

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

 

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

 

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

Story Teller: SATISH SAWANT

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

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

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.

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OM NAMAH SHIVAYA!

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | 1st day trek | Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash

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

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

The religious significances of Kailash

Hinduism

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

Buddhism

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

Jainism

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

Bon

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

 

Time flies at Kailash

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

Unscalable

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

Axis Mundi: Centre of Universe

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

My experiences of Mount Kailash

4th June, 2018 (Monday)

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

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

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

Arrival at Yam Dwar

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

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

South Face of Kailash

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

West Face of Mount Kailash

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

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

 

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

North face of Mount Kailash

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

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

 

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

 

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

Briefing for the second day of Trek

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay fit and happy traveling. Om Namah Shivaay!

Importance of Maha Shivratri | Places visited in one year

LORD SHIVA

 

Shiva is the start, Shiva is the end

He is the end of every start

He is the start of every end.

He is the truth, he is the myth

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

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

He is the cosmic rhythm, he is the Natraj

He is Vairagyi, but has a beautiful family

He is the ultimate truth, he is the ultimate destination

He lives in Kailash, or he himself is Kailash

He is the phenomenon beyond any human imagination.

He is that which is not.

 

Importance of Maha Shivratri

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

There are a lot of legends associated with this festival.

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

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

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

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

Visited Places in duration of MahaShivratri 2018 to 2019

 

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

Kalpeshwar – 31st March 2018

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

 

Kedarnath – 1st October 2018

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

 

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

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

Tungnath – 23rd December 2018

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

 

Happy Mahashivratri. May everybody get blessings from Shiva.

Om Namah Shivaay!

 

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

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | Information and my experiences of Mansarovar lake

Importance of Mansarovar Lake

 

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

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

Jainism

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

Bon

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

Buddism

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

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Hinduism

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

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

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

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

Rakshastal near to Mansarovar Lake

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

Geography

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

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

My experiences at Mansarovar

3rd June 2018

Divya Jyoti (Divine lights) at lake

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

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

Dip in Mansarovar

9:00 AM

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

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

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

 

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

 

Mansarovar Parikrama and Kailash darshan

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you have missed, then read previous articles in sequence

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

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

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

 

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | First glimpse of Mansarovar lake

Entry in Tibet and Arrival at Mansarovar Lake

2nd June 2018

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

Good news!

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

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

Entry in Tibet’s Holy Land

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

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

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

Arrived at Mansarovar Lake

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

 

First glimpse of Mansarovar Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Om Namah Shivaay 🙂

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | Survival in no man’s land

Hilsa at Nepal-China border

 

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

1st day of Hilsa – Arrival at the cold desert

30th May 2018

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

2nd Day of Hilsa – Waiting for passport

31st May 2018

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

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

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

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

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

3rd Day of Hilsa – Got Passport and Left Nepal

1st June 2018

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

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

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

Survival in no man’s land between 2 countries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra | 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!

Roadtrip to Nawabo ke Sheher via Expressway | 515 kms | 7 hours

Yamuna expressway connects Greater Noida to Agra at stretch of 186 Kms and hence connecting the India’s longest expressway between Agra to Lucknow which is of 316 Kms.

It was Diwali week and I could not get tickets to go my hometown Lucknow and same happened with my sister Preeti. Then decided to go by road and experience the Yamuna Express way and Taj express way in a stretch along with her.

Distance – 515 Kms

Car – Maruti Celerio

Speed – Maintained at 120 km/hr

No of Lanes- 8

Toll cost – Rs 1035 ( single side | Noida-Agra Rs 415 | Agra Ringroad Rs 35 | Agra to Lucknow Rs 585)

Tip- Fill Nitrogen in the tyres to avoid burst

Driving Experience

The feel of driving here is very exciting where you don’t have to apply much brakes. The driving experience is very refreshing instead of the tiring ones if driven for so long. The roads are very smooth and non-bumpy well constructed and maintained by Jaypee group. Even the airplane landing has been tested on this road in 2015 to ensure if it can be used during emergency.

Siblings are the best companion when it comes to travel. Its one of the finest road trips I ever had.

Everyone respects the lane driving rules very well by which you don’t have to focus on another vehicle much.

There are enough petrol filling stations along with Nitrogen gas availability and restaurants between Noida to Agra. But very less options when you move towards Lucknow. So, I would suggest to carry snacks, candies and water. We took only 2 breaks and had wonderful tea.

If you are travelling towards Mathura or Vrindavan, exit for these places come around 45 mins of reaching Agra. Exit boards are properly installed at many places.

 

Carry good playlist

Listening to pumped up tracks will always make driving enjoyable. Credit to Mukul Sir, my office colleague for sharing his amazing playlist.

You will face issues with Mobile network and tuning to FM also, so its advisable to dump enough songs in your mobile or USB.

 

 

Enjoy the Expressway and have a safe drive!