As a frequent flyer on the job, I seldom show‐up at the boarding gate before 30 minutes of the departure. Yet, I was there 2 hours in advance to board the flight that would take me to New Delhi to connect to Kathamandu. Of course it must be the case… A long cherished dream for the trip to Manasarovar and Mount Kailash Parikrama was truly on. Have you ever carried a compelling, constantly yearning positive desire in your heart? I did. For whatever the reason, the constant thought and the itch to visit the holy mountains of Himalayas has been in my heart as the sweet laden of weight for the past two years.
With 2 weeks to spare from the chores of job, and the warm support from the loving family, I finally secure the once-in-a-life-time opportunity – Pilgiramge to Mount Kailash, during the last two weeks in September 2011. After completing the trip, the experience not only fulfils but refuels the desire for the many more returns of such wondrous pursuit.
No matter who you are - a spiritual seeker, an adventure seeker, open minded rationalist or even an agnostic – in the Mount Kailash pursuit, you will rediscover yourself. I was lucky. If anything to go by my experience, no matter how equipped and driven you are, the grace of God is surely needed for the adventure. Most agree that the completion of trip is prone for many impediments and uncertainties… Chinese visa and their rapid change of decisions to open or close the borders of Tibet is one thing…. Unpredictable weather, which may hinder the visibility of Mount Kailash, even when one reaches the base camp is another. I too had a mix of anxious moments with the travel arrangements, but in the end, the luckiest was I, as I had the fantastic trip, with a friendly group of perfect strangers, for trailing through the compelling roads across the most beautiful ranges of mountains, with the clear blue sun soaked skies during the day and the trillion-starred moon-lit night blankets in the night. I was totally committed and determined…. Gods must have conceded to my unyielding faith. The gates of heaven were truly open and the experience I brought back deeply engaging.
I went to Kathmandu and join a group which was leaving tor the trekking. The journey would start from Kathmandu in Nepal, cross to Tibet to spend the next 10 nights and return back to Kathmandu.
Mount Kailash is in Tibet. At about 6300 meter high from the sea level, the most holiest mountain on the earth is standing tall, with its south face looking towards India. A straight line will cross through Alahabad. In front of Mount Kailash is the serene Manasarovar on one side, a vast, oval shaped lake of pure water from the Himalayan glacier, the mythological home for all rivers in the world and on the other side is the crescent shaped Rakshasa lake. There are colourful mountains all around, with the Mount Kailash as the most serene and majestic above all.
The focus of the pilgrimage is to arrive at the Manasarovar to have holy dip and worship the Mother Nature and then to start the Parikrama by foot or by horse around the periphery of Mount Kailash. Manasarovar is at about 4600m above the sea level and with the recent development of infrastructure by Chinese, roads are almost perfect across Tibet to carry the travellers on 4 x 4 vehicles up to the Manasarovar. From there on, one has to walk or hire horses for the Parikrama around Mount Kailash, which is about 46km, achieved by trekking 12 km on the first day, 24 km on the second and the last 10 km on the last day. It is challenging, especially the second day trekking as the altitude raises to 5760 m, yet doable by ensuring slow and determined pace and reasonable preparation. During the Parikrama, one will see the different faces of Mount Kailash for all its beauty and the majesty. Words are scarce to describe
Life is about living. It is a sojourn… Its destination may look varied for everyone, but its is single for all. However, the journey is what matters. Learned always tell us – we must be fully engaged in all our pursuits in this journey. Engagement not entanglement… True engagement signifies that our physical, pranic, mental and intellectual orientation are completely aligned in everything we do. Doors to success is then really ajar. Mount Kailash trip demands such engagement for sure. Light and satvic food, altitude adjustments through deep and contemplative breathing, highly focused and concentrated mind, questing intellect and the underlying joy … all these definite requirements as well as absolute rewards.
I have a detail log in both Tamil and English for the interested readers, and there is no real-estate on this page-log blog – but in a nutshell:
- The tour to Manasarover and Mount Kailash is a pilgrimage. Yet, when we go with the right frame of mind, openness and enthusiasm, it will offer more to the eyes and the minds.
- The more determined you are, easier it will be to complete the trip.
- Physical fitness is necessary; you do not need to be a marathon runner but must be able to endure long walk in a tough terrain. So prepare both mentally and physically in advance.
- The Sherpa and the guides from Nepal and Tibet are lovely people. They depend on our visits and therefore their foremost interest is to keep us safe and happy during the entire trip. Be nice to them.
- Don’t be fooled by the dirty cloths and shabby looks of Tibetan tribes. They have the hearts of gold. Their love is genuine.
- Make sure you enjoy your group. The group makes the difference; if you need to join an unknown group, make it a point to move freely with everyone. The goal is common – to complete the Parikrama. Human bonding is more easier at adverse conditions, provided you are prepared!
- Do not carry more than necessary. During Parikrama, lighter your luggage, better is the travel.
- Mount Kailash and Manasarover will captivate you, no matter what your beliefs are.
- The majesty of the mountains and the vastness of the terrain will humble you; yet it will heal your heart and provide you with confidence.
- Transformation is what we need, that is what we will get.