Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Kailash Manasarovar yatra # 4

Gauri Kund 

North Face of Kailash at early morning 

Next day as the first rays of the sun bathed the snake hood of the north face slowly spread down we witnessed one of the most fascinating sights of natural miracle taking place in front of our eyes. The suns rays slowly and steadily bathed the peak with its Golden rays first only at the peak which resembles a snake hood slowly passed down and ultimately turned the whole face in Golden yellow and then turned to white. The suns rays turned the region into a fiery region and led us into a trance , before we could return to consciousness we saw only the silver peak in front. After this grand sight the toughest part of the parikrama started we crossed Dolma Pass, supposed to be guarded by a Tibetan Goddess named Dolma. We and offered prayers to Mother Parvati at Shiv Sthal. The place is full of colored flags and buntings with writings from Tibetan scriptures. and as we start our downward journey, we witness the emerald green Gauri Kund, the lake where Goddess Parvati is supposed to have bathed the lake reflecting the mountain itself.. We collected the holy water of this lake for taking back home, then the parikrama continued among the glaciers and paths filled with boulders and snow till we reach Zongzerbu after a nights halt we headed back for Darchen in the rugged, unfettered and awesome vastness of the great mountains. We also witnessed Tibetans doing the Kora by prostrating along the route and also in many places stone heaps with yak horns and Buddhist scriptures on the way overlooking the Nandadevi peak and Rakshas Tal and Gurla Mandata ranges. As we progressed through the rugged unfettered and vastness of the Kailash circumambulation as if time is suspended between heaven and earth. To gaze at the Holy Kailash is an experience of deep spiritual awareness and profound contentment. In the evening as suggested by one photographer from Mumbai who had undertaken the kora many times we went to Ali road 18 km away from Darchen to have the full view of the south face along with Ganesha and Nandi.

Next day morning we went to Asthapad the nearest point where from we can have the darshan of the Kailash, its also the place where Rishabadeva attained nirvana there we conducted the ritual hawan. Treated for the four days with the most satisfying darshan we continued our journey by bus for parikrama of Manasarovar lake. As we left the precincts of Kailash and inched towards Manasarovar the east face was visible distinctly which was not visible during parikrama. First we reached Serelung Gompa and enjoyed the changing colours of Manasarovar, in the noon sun the waves were glittering like diamonds with Mount Kailash in the background. . In the evening we reached Quhu Gompa and stayed there for two days the sun rise and sunset on the lake were breath taking also in the night the sky opened up with millions of stars in the pollution free environment.

Also experienced the ecstasy of bathing in the holiest of the holy lakes, bathing in this lake is considered to be of enormous spiritual benefit, the icy waters of which many claim contains miraculous powers. Also collected stones and different coloured sand as souvenirs as a gift to the near and dear ones. Also witnesses the fresh snow fall on the Gurla ranges and a hail storm. Our next stay and last one during the parikrama was Qihu , there we conducted the thanks giving hawan overlooking the Kailsh Mountain for giving one of the most satisfying pilgrimage. Then we returned to Taklakot and then crossed the Lipu pass and then safely reached back to Delhi along the same route and the return journey there was no problem any where.

We returned with profound contentment that we have completed successfully one of the toughest journey of faith, which delivers us salvation. With the contentment that we have circumambulated the dwelling of Mahadev and Gods , only abode of God which we can visit in body and taken bath in the sacred lake in which it is believed, celestials take bath in the night till today in the form of stars.

To conclude I quote from Edwin T. Atkinson “Nature in her wildest and most rugged forms bears witness to the correctness of the belief that here is the home of the great God….. All the aids to worship in the shape of striking scenery, temples, mystic and gorgeous ceremonial and skilled celebrants are present, and he must indeed be dull who returns from this pilgrim unsatisfied”.

Best time to visit:

From June to Sep during other times the lake will be frozen and Lipu pass closed.

By Air : We can fly upto Kathmandu and private operators offer 12 day or 9 day packages by air that begin and end at Kathmandu , capital of Nepal. Fixed-wing aircraft are used to fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and from there to Simikot. From Simikot a helicopter flies to Hilsa. Land cruisers are then used to reach Manasarovar vis Lhasa.

By Road: From Kathmandu by land cruisers to Kailash-manasarovar via Lhasa . private tour operators organize 17 days package tour by road.

The Ministry of External affairs coordinates the Kailash –Manasarovar yatra every year through an advertisement in newspapers in the first half of February. Journey is by bus anf trekking the approximate cost will be about Rs 75000/- ( Rs 15500/- to KMVN, U.S.$ 600 to Chinese Government, about Rs 25000 for porter, pony and other miscellaneous services.). These rates were rates of 2005 yatra. As this yatra is recognised my Mountaineering Federation of India as high altitude trekking expedition all the Government employees are eligible for 30 days Special CL.

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