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Trip to Kailash Mansarovar, June 2010

by oprasad 101 6 year, 2 months ago

The Yatra is unique and it is a once in a life time experience, but at the same time it is tough. It goes without saying that the mental preparation is as important as the physical preparation for the yatra.




Maha Mritunjaya mantra

OM. Tryambakam yajamahe
Sugandhim pushti-vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan
Mrityor mukshiya mamritat

Maha Mrityunjaya mantra Meaning

OM. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd if freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality.

The Yatra is unique and it is a once in a life time experience, but at the same time it is tough. It goes without saying that the mental preparation is as important as the physical preparation for the yatra. I started preparing for the trip almost a year ahead of the planned trip of May 2010.  Though I was practicing a few postures of “Yoga” for long but once I made up my mind to proceed on the yatra at an age of 65 years, I religiously participated at my own in “Pranayams” and joggings. My cardiologists (Dr. Piyush Jain) at Escorts Heart Hospital, New Delhi had suggested me not to undertake such hurdle some journeys while I made my last trip to Amarnath in June2009.

Though, it was probably tougher for me than others, I had to be a little more careful and I rarely pushed myself beyond my physical capacity.  The self determination and firm conviction made my trip successful.  Lord Shiva’s disguised support in making me withstand the vagaries of the weather without proper diet for days together is undoubtedly cherished.

While young, I never even dreamt of taking up yatras to Badrinath and Kedarnath but it was only God’s grace that I managed to equip myself monetarily and physically for the trips to Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri.  In fact the encouragement was bolstered and self confidence came to me when The Lord supported me and I could make two trips to Vaishnav Devi and then to Amarnath. But the Kailash- Mansarovar Yatra was the toughest of all.  In fact some of the available scripts suggest the yatra to be kept in the category of mountaineering.

Mount Kailash has remained one of the world’s most sacred spots for time immemorial.  This is the abode of the Lord Shiva. The invocation of spiritual energy can be imbibed in a yatri only if one takes His ‘darshan’ with the right intention in mind. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, is a pilgrimage and the intent should be to visit it for peace, both within each person and the world. It is said that the Tibetans leave an article of clothing or a drop of blood, hair or a stone to symbolize leaving their prejudices behind them. The yatra can be called successful only if one leaves his ego, anxiety and meanness here. 

While proceeding towards Mount Kailash, first of all one gets the panoramic view of Mansarovar.  There is a beautiful lake called Rakash Tal - or Ravehahalad adjacent to Mansarovar. In the north of these two lakes is Mt. Kailash and its series (22028 ft./6675 mts.).  The south of the Lake Mansarovar lies Mount Gurala.  This is the abode of Lord Brahma.  The lake forms the source of four big rivers of north India namely, Karnalies, Satluj, Brahamputra and Sindh.

Geographically, Kailash Mansarovar is situated in the South West Region of Tibet, presently under the territory of China. It is therefore necessary that one has the permission of Tibet Autonomous Region and the Chinese Government to go to Kailash Mansarovar.   Though, there are several surface routes to the holy place but presently only two routes are meant for the Indian Nationals. The first route via Dharchula (Uttarakhand) is undertaken by the Government of India sponsored yatra to Kailash. It is more hurdlesome and the principle of ‘survival of the fittest’ applies here. Maximum number of pilgrims takes the land route via Kathmandu (Nepal).  The pilgrimage has been made a bit easier via the ‘Friendship Bridge’ at Kodari (Nepal, on one side) and Zhangmu (Tibet, China, on the other side).  The photography of this bridge is strictly prohibited, particularly from Chinese-side.  The return journey by bus from Kathmandu to Kodari and by Japnese Land Cruiser after crossing the Nepal-China border takes nearly 17 days. Many Indian and Nepali Travel Agencies are in the business of taking the pilgrims from Kathmandu to Kailash and back to Kathmandu with full lodging and boarding. The cost of the journey varies with different travel agencies. One has to be careful in selecting the travel agency with the view point of the facilities that they can provide reroutes to Kailash. In fact it so happens that they promise to provide the best possible accommodation available at the place of stay and that it would be on the basis of double-sharing.  But in actual practice it is not so. Neither of the promises is kept by them and sometimes even 15-20 persons were accommodated in one hall at Parayang (ahead of Mansarovar). The toilets were dirty beyond imagination, dreadfully stinking and many a time without any door in the toilet in whole of Tibet region with only exception in Saga.  It is probably more comfortable to release oneself with morning pressure in the open field with chilly wind.

Presently, my usual place of residence is at Pune with my son and his family and because I own residential flats at Greater Noida and Patna too, I planned the journey to the land of Lord Shiva in such a way so that I can visit these two places to meet the near and dear ones including my daughter, grand son and son-in-law at Faridabad.  I, therefore, started from Pune by Doronto Express (a non-stop train) from Pune on 30 April 2010.  After accomplishing the desired tasks at New Delhi and around it we left for Patna for a week on 8th May 2010. We traveled to Raxaul (about 150 kms from Patna, by road), the border town of Bihar to enter Nepal on 19.5.2010. We took the 30-minute flight from Simra airport (in the border town, Birganj of Nepal) to Kathmandu on the same day. We stayed for two days at our cost at Kathmandu in a moderate hotel @ INR 350 per day for a double bed room.  Our travel agency namely Richa Travels, took us to Hotel Shanker on 21.5.2010 as per the program and after a brief glimpse of Kathmandu on 22.5.2010 and the details of the ensuing journey, we started towards Kodari border by 8 in the morning of 23.5.2010 by a comfortable bus on the Kailash entourage.  In what follows, I give below the details of the journey from Kathmandu, day wise.

Day 1 ( May 21,2010): 

 After getting accommodated in Hotel Shanker, (a comfortable hotel with breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner at the cost of the travel agency) we were briefed about the whole travel plan in the afternoon of 21.5.2010.

Day 2 ( May 22,2010): The next day, that is, on 22.5.2010 we were taken in a tourist bus around the city with special visits to Pashupatinath and Vishnu temples.

Day 3 ( May 23,2010): After finishing break-fast early in the morning we boarded the bus for Kodari border with China. The duffel bag supplied by the travel agency accommodated most of our required warm clothes and it was handed over to the ‘sherpas’ who accompanied us. The excess clothes in our suitcases were deposited to the cloak room of Shanker Hotel, where we were staying. The needy pilgrims were also supplied snow coats.  The arrangement and cartage of sleeping bags, tents and other logistics including the kitchenware were also the responsibilities of these sherpas. After starting from Hotel Shanker by 9 o’clock in the morning we were at Kodari border by 1 p.m.  The lunch consisting of rice, dal, potato fry, curd, papad, etc was served by a hotel at Kodari border in Nepal at the cost of the travel agency. We were advised to change our currency to Chinese currency, Yuan as per our requirement. We were advised to keep nearly 1500 Yuan per head if we wished to go for parikarma of 54 kms around the holy Kailash and hire a mule for it. We, therefore, at our own changed our currency equivalent to 3500 Yuan for two of us.


The pilgrims as per their requirements had to hire coolies to carry a climbing distance  of about 1 km from the point we were dropped at Kodari in Nepal  to carry their personal baggage and cross the Friendship Bridge and reach the custom clearance gate of China.

It is forbidden to take photograph of the bridge from the Chinese side. The dangerous river Kosi, which creates havoc in Bihar during the rainy season passes with furore beneath this bridge.

It took nearly two hours at the check post to clear their entry visa and cross over to Chinese territory.  The delay was not due to the Chinese authorities but due to the mismanagement of the travel agency.  Our whole group consisted of nearly 80 persons from different part of the world, mostly Indians. In reality there existed two groups under our travel agencies. The first group of 20  persons including us consisted of persons who were either direct customers of Richa Travels or were handed over by some another agency namely, Parikarma Treks. The second group of 60 persons, mostly Gujratis were sponsored by Neelkanth Travels of Ahmedabad but were handed over to Rich Travels at Nepal.  Richa Travels probably gets regular Indian pilgrims through Neelkanth Travels. Therefore,  Richa Travels took special care of the comforts and food requirements of the latter group. These pilgrims were provided good rooms and food, whereas we were dumped either in a single room or at least 4 persons in one room. It was the in-charge sherpa of this group who carried all our necessary visa papers to be shown to the authorities. The delay in the arrival of this group with their sherpa leader resulted in a long wait in crossing to the Chinese territory. Once we had entered the Chinese territory, another wait in the Chinese border town namely Zhangmu started so that the Land Cruisers of the other group could accompany ours.  We thus reached Nyalam a little late by about 8 in the night. The settlement and the dinner took nearly 3 hours and we could finally retire in our room-bed by 11.30 of the cold night.  Nyalam is about 10000 ft. above the sea level.


Day 4 (May 24, 2010): Needless to say that the concentration of the necessary oxygen for all the lives becomes thinner and thinner. Therefore, we rested the whole day at Nyalam for acclimatization.  As it was raining in the morning some pre-arranged trekking was postponed in the morning.  We moved around the tiny county of Nyalam by ourselves and rested in the hotel.

Day 5 (May 25, 2010): We started our journey ahead after early break-fast at about 6.30 

in the morning. We reached Tongla La, the highest point of Nyalam on their National Highway in about an hour’s time. The place was surrounded all around by high mountains laden with very thick snow. The place was very cold with chilly wind. After a few kilometers from the peak point, we had to leave the good and smooth Chinese National High-Way and take the dusty-gusty road to our long cherished destination, the Kailash and Mansarovar. After crossing a few Check-posts manned by tough Chinese Security Guards we took our packed lunch on road side at Noh-Tuk. We reached Saga at about 4 in the afternoon after crossing many diversions due to the construction of some concrete bridges on the dusty road. The accommodation was not bad. Two couples including ourselves were accommodated in one room of the moderately good hotel with provisions of clean toilet and warm water-bath. We refreshed ourselves and had good shower here after missing it for the last two days. We were served hot tea and snacks by our sherpas and then hot meals in the night in our hotel rooms. The small town has only fixed hours of electricity-supply but it continues in the night. The night-halt gave us a good relief after the long travel on the dusty road after many hitch and hikes.

Day 6 (May 26,2010): We were ready after morning bath and break-fast at 7 in the morning and drove out on way to Parayang. The roads continued to be husky and dusty and passed through many sand domes shining like gold on the both sides of the road. We had our lunch at Dongba, a few kilometers ahead of Parayang. We reached Parayang by 5.30 in the afternoon.  Our support carrying truck arrived a bit late in the night.  Though we were served snacks and hot tea after arrival with the help of some other group of travelers but our dinner was a bit delayed due to late arrival of the truck carrying the logistics. There was no proper bath room. Of course, we could manage to get the toilets cleaned after making complaints to the care-taker.  Almost all of us were accommodated in the same hall having reception desks.  It was noisy for quite some time. We were served our hot soup and lunch of khichdi in our hall on the bed.

Day 7 (May 27, 2010): It was not possible to take bath at Parayang as there was no bath room and water there was almost icy. The toilets had also again started stinking by morning.  Even brushing teeth and washing the face needed too much of will power.  We left Parayang at 7.30 in the morning after break-fast and took to the same dusty road with muddy hills and some usual diversions due to pucca bridges under construction throughout the way (from the start of the dusty journey) continued. We had our packed lunch on way and the vehicles had their fuel from the only available Petrol Pump on the way so far and just before Mansarovar lake. 

            It took less than an hour from the petrol pump to have the first glimpse of Kailash, Mansaovar, Gurla Mandhata and Kailash mountains. The scene as given in picture 1 above was quite overwhelming.  It appeared as if the heaven had descended on the earth. The heart throb became beyond description as the unbelievable and unattainable was before our eyes.  I was at a loss to decide what to do next to the darshan of the celestial bodies. The day was very pleasant with bright sun-light and it tempted me to have an immediate dip in Mansarovar filled with nectar directly from Lord Brahma and Mahesh.  The wish could not be fulfilled due to uncalled for suggestions and thereby delays in coming to the bathing point while sun was bright. Apprehensive of another bright sun on the next day I was really very much disappointed. All the persons belonging to our group of 20 persons were separated from each other as our vehicle moved out without proper discussion and decision but were finally located in one small hotel with no toilet etc, while the other group of 80 was accommodated in another hotel with better facilities.  We had hot coffee immediately after arrival in the hotel.  This was the full-moon day as per our plan to arrive on that particular date. It is said that all the angels, gods and goddesses descend on the earth here to take a dip in Mansarovar in the night. It is also reported that some persons have seen twinkling stars coming down to the Mansarovar for a dip during the mid-night. Well I did not get any such view, howsoever I tried to get up and watch in the open chilly night.  

Day 8(May 28,2010): Luckily, the day-break was again bright but later on it had intermittent clouds playing hide and seek with the sun with wind.  We had our morning requirements after leaving the bed in the open beneath the blue sky. The Mansarovar    had ice, floating on its surface.  We had our break fast in the morning and made some purchases of beads and necklaces from old Tibetian ladies. We then proceeded to have a dip in Mansarovar. But the ice crust on the surface forced me to withdraw my feet  from the sarovar and I had to fulfill my wishes by drenching myself with mugs of water over me from the sarovar.After lunch we started for Darchen at about 1 in the afternoon, where we were supposed to stay for two days in order to acclimatize ourselves for taking up the Kailash Parikarma.  We reached Darchen (40 kms) in about an hour and were again hurdled in one room having 14 beds of a hotel with no bath room or toilet facility.  The hot soup followed by dinner was served a little early and then we resigned ourselves to bed.  

Day 9 ( May 29,2010): After refreshing ourselves early in the morning we proceeded to Astpadi and have a view of Nandi hills adjacent to the Kailash Mountain after breakfast. Though we went up to the foot of the hills but we did not climb and I conserved the energy for the circumbulation (Parikarma) of the Kailash Mountains. The frozen river was looked very beautiful. We rested whole day at Darchen. 

Day 10 (May 30, 2010): After refreshing ourselves early in the morning and after having our break-fast, we were taken to the launching point of Kailash Parikarma at a distance of about 10 kms. from our hotel in Darchen.  We first reached a place called ‘Yum Dwar’.   We preceded further 2 kms. by the same vehicle to another point after Yum Dwar, where horses were waiting for the willing pilgrims for hiring them.  The Kailash Parikarma either on foot or on horse started from this point at about 11 in the morning. Some of the family members, who were unable to take up the Parikarma stayed behind and went back to the same hotel at Darchen and awaited the return of their near anddear ones after the Parikarma. I too went on the Parikarma along with other young persons in the group and my wife stayed behind in the hotel at Darchen. We had packed lunch and the yatris ate them in a camp set up by local Tibetans, selling tea and snacks at a point which was about 8 kms from the starting point and only 3-4 kms ahead of Dirapuk.  After rest for a while there, we proceeded for the day’s halt in a rest house maintained by Parmarth Niketan at Dirapuk. Five of us were accommodated in one room here. Though it had the toilets, but they were stinking.  Water was ice-cold. The Kailash Mountain, that is, the abode of Lord Shiva, our destination, was just in front of our rest-house.  It appeared to be no more than 1 km to reach the mountain. It is said that no body has ever tried to put his feet over the sacred mountain.  The view was bewitching and it gave a hair rising experience.   We had hot copy and snacks as per routine and then dinner by 8 p.m. and then we rescinded to our beds.  Breathing in night was a bit difficult and so it was to find sleep.  Some how we spent the chilly night with frequent showers of snow. 

Day 11 (May 31, 2010): We attended the nature’s call any how early in the morning and after breakfast moved out of the rest house at 7 in the morning on foot and after crossing a frozen river some of us saddled ourselves on our Tibetan pony to a distance as far as it was possible for it to hold us on the track full of big-boulders. All the mountains/hills and tracks endured absolute white sheet made of flakes of snow.  It was extremely cold and the scant oxygen made the climbing tougher, always gasping for breath and remembering the Lord who was present in His abode close and visible to us all along. We reached the top of the hill i.e. Dolma La to a height of around 19000 ft. above the sea level at about 9 in the morning after crossing the land of Yum. It was very difficult even to kindle the agarbattis that I carried with me, at Dolma La.  This was the highest point of the whole journey. We were advised to descend from this height immediately and traverse a distance of nearly 7 kms. on foot again full of difficult boulders.  I wanted to capture the site as much as possible in spite of feeling completely unwell and barely able to hold things like camera. But the never ending wishes gave me some strength to capture the Gauri Kund, which was also completely frozen.  Though I carried the jarican to the height to collect water from the Kund, but I had to drop the idea as it appeared infeasible. The feeling of nausea and difficulty in breathing made the life very difficult and after several short halts could descend nearly 2500 ft and I stretched myself flat on the dear mother earth.  After a rest of nearly 2 hours and after forcefully gulping whatever eatables I could manage from my back-sack, we again got ready at about 2 in the afternoon to move ahead to our camp for the night halt.  The big boulders for quite some distance once again made it mandatory for us to walk a distance of nearly a distance of 1 km for taking a ride on the pony.  Though I imagined the place of night halt to be nearer but to the contrary, it was again a difficult task to reach the camp on the back of the pony. Any how we were in the last camp at Zutlu-Puk in the 54-Kailash Parikarma before it was dark.  Each tent-camp suitable to accommodate only 2 persons was packed with four persons.  The cold barred us from removing our shoes and warm clothes and we went inside the sleeping bags with everything on our body.

Day 12 (June 1, 2010):  As usual, the day broke early and this is the last day of the tedious parikarma.  Every one is full of new vigor and energy with the joy of almost completing the parikarma. The most difficult part of the parikarma was over yesterday. Every body got up early and after hot tea and break-fast was in a mood to start early so as to reach the next halting place early.  We started at about 7 in the morning and after more or less a comfortable pony ride reached the last hill to be crossed to reach Darchen.  The track was once again very narrow and filled with boulders that it became essential to climb the hill and then descend it to reach Darchen in about little more than an hour.  We were thus back at about 12.30 noon at Darchen. The companions of all of us who could not join the parikarma were waiting anxiously for us with the luggage and the assigned vehicle at this end.   We were given a hearty welcome by all of them on our arrival at Darchen after the Parikarma. We started our return journey after a while as every one was ready with his luggage in the vehicle at the point of reception. We had our lunch in the afternoon during the return-journey near the same petrol pump where we had our petrol during the onward journey to Mansarovar on 27.5.2005.  We were back to Parayang by 5 in the evening. The hot dinner was appeared to be tastier today, probably with the contentment from fulfillment of the long cherished desire. The night sleep was also comparatively sound. 

Day 13 ( June 2, 2010):  We started for the second lap of our return journey from Parayang after the hot coffee and the break-fast.  The dusty road did not appear to be more hurdle some this time. We reached Saga by the afternoon and four of us were accommodated in one room of the same Saga hotel. The warm water-bath after 3 days added extra satisfaction and relief to us. We were feeling fresh once again. We enjoyed the dinner too here. The sleep was very comfortable.

Day 14 (June 3, 2010): We got up as usual early in the morning and after refreshing ourselves had a warm water bath. We started by 7 in the morning for Nyalam. The Brahmputra river on or return journey from Saga to Nyalam attracted us too much. Remember, this is the river, which resembles a sea in Assam, India.   The day proved to be a reckoning day for us as we got rid of the dusty road just before Tongla La, the peak point on the high way of Nyalam County.  We had our lunch on way and were back to Nyalam at about 5 in the evening but it took more than 2 hours to settle down in a hotel. The representative of the Travel Agency as usual tried to put us in a perilous hotel, which me and my wife resented to the hilt and on threat of taking the matter to the local police station there we were also accommodated in the same comfortable hotel as those of the other group of 60 persons with facilities of a close-by toilet.  Our other colleagues, who were all along succumbing to the injustice meted to our group by the local representative of Richa Travels, Nepal, were also benefited and all of them were accommodated in the same hotel at Nyalam after our single handed voice against the said representative.  The enthusiasm was at the peak this evening as we were to return to our base in Nepal the very next day. The youngsters were celebrating the evening till late night in their own way!  We had our dinner and a very sound sleep in the night. 

Day 15 (June 4, 2010): We got up early in the morning. It was drizzling with the sky cast

with black clouds.  We started early in the morning from Nyalam after tea and break-fast 

so as to reach the Chinese border with Nepal in the wee hours (9 a.m.) to avoid the rush immediately after opening of the gates. The heart throb became completely normal after crossing the border in to Nepal’s territory.  I felt as if I had reached home.  We walked about a km from the border to reach the same hotel where we had our lunch while leaving Nepal for Tibet on 23.5.2010.  First of all we reconverted the unspent Yuan into Indian/Nepali currency.  We had our lunch and waited for our bus to arrive to take us to Kathmandu. We were back to Kathmandu by 3 p.m.  We were once again accommodated in the same hotel namely, Hotel Shanker. The warm-water bath in Kathmandu gave us extra energy and the joy was tremendous. We summoned Mr. of Rich Travels and asked him to explain the reasons behind the step-motherly treatment by them to our group of 20 yatris.  He became dumb-founded and promised to seek explanations from his representative in Tibet. The dinner was also sumptuous. We made our last minute purchase from Vishal market, Kathmandu before we were to quit the place for Patna next day. We had a sound comfortable sleep and found that we had lost 5-6 kilos of weight during the Kailash-yatra. 

Day 16 (June 5, 2010): After break-fast we left the Kathmandu hotel at about 8 in the morning for Airport on their vehicle. Some of our colleagues took flights direct to Delhi/Bombay, while me and my wife flew to Simra airport in Birganj of Nepal and crossed the border with India at Raxaul on way back to Patna by a bus. We were thus back to Patna by 11 of night, the same day safe and sound by the grace of the Almighty.

            The accomplishment of the Kailash yatra was celebrated by appeasing the God by conducting Satya Narain Swami Puja and getting the blessings of the elder ones on June 9, 2010.  We were back to Pune by train on the morning of 15th June 2010.


            The Almighty God disposed our wishes from the beginning 





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Dr. Omkareshwar Prasad ji It was very use full info for who wants to visit Manasarovar n it is inspiration to us.Unfortunately i am not able to c the photographs
Posted by Lakshmipathi Raju 3 year, 9 months ago
I have been thinking about going to Masarovar from some time. This was good piece of information for the beginning. I can take this details and now find more information and plan better. Thank you so much and yes ofcourse kuddos that you could take this journey ....
Posted by Shilpa 4 year, 7 months ago
A very use full and event wise commentary by a young 65 years aged person. Can inspire others to go for this tedious trip of Lord Shiva Residence.
Thanks, I felt as i had been there.
But you should have mentioned your name .
Posted by ub tiwari 4 year, 9 months ago
weldon !! i hope u had a really really gud time..this is one of the biggest journey...its a great information to all of us..i am also planning to go there after reading this..honestly written...have a gud life..anil pawar
Posted by anil pawar 4 year, 9 months ago
3 cheers fr d man....whu was able to complete his journey...wonderfully written...
Posted by shagun 4 year, 10 months ago

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