Saturday, June 21, 2008

Kailash Manasarovar darshan(yatra) - 8

Fourth Day of the Yatra

Bus travel from Delhi to Ranikhet (350 Km)

The first day was the day we got the first feel of Himalayas the tall emerald mountains and undulating rivers.

The actual journey started on the fourth day. Those who were rejected in the medical examination wished us a Happy journey and Good darshan with tears in their eyes , those who were lucky prayed to the Lord to at least give a chance to those left out in the following year. Those who do not have serious health problem and were rejected for blood pressure have a chance to clear the medical exam and undertake the yatra subsequently. In that early morning also members of “Dharma yatra maha sangam” members had assembled there to bid us farewell, they also offered light snacks and a pouch containing pooja articles which included a silver Bilva leaf which can be offered to the Lord. We prayed to the Lord by singing the Pansakshara song ( Five syllable ) taught to us by Kailash Manasarovar yatra samiti members and started our yatra in the bus of KMVN chanting

Dharma yatra sangh members bidding us farewell.
The lady in picture is Seema pandit who undertook the yatrs for second time at the age of 70)

Namaste Asthu Bhagavan Vishveswaraya Mahadevaya thriyambakaya

thripurathakaya thri kalagni kaalaya kalagni Rudraya Nilakandaya

mirthunjayaya Sarveswaraya Sathasivaya sri man Mahadevaya namaha.

( Bow to you Lord of the Universe, the great celestial, three eyed, destroyer of thripura, Rudra, blue throated, destroyer of death, Lord of all and Sathashiva)

First we crossed the Holy river Yamuna on the ourskirts of Delhi and Holy Ganges at a place called Garudamukteswar , via Moradabad, Rampur ( place famous for its knives), Bilaspur and Haldwani reached Kathakodam (550 M altitude) at lunch time, two officers of KMVN travelled along with us to take care of our needs. We had our lunch in the KMVN guest house . Kathakodam is the last rail head point in this route. Up to this place we travelled in plains. After this the ghat section started. So our personal effects were transferred to two smaller buses suitable for ghat travel, as a precursor to the difficulties which we have to face during the course of the yatra, it rained heavily during this time and we transferred our luggage and changed buses in pouring rain. Our travel in the mighty Himalayas most scenic and gracious mountains started from here. Two police men of Uttaranchal Government travelled in the bus along with walkie-talkies through which the progress of the yatra was being conveyed to the District Collector and to Ministry officials at Delhi. They also provided us escort.

Kainchi Vaishno Devi temple

Ranikhet AmbalOn way to Ranikhet we crossed the beautiful Bim Tal lake enjoyed the enchanting beauty of the Himalayas and captured in video the undulating rives flowing in the mountains, in between we worshipped Mother Parvati at Kainchi where a beautiful temple is built called Vaishno devi temple. We reached Ranikhet ( 2000 M) one of the tourist destinations of Uttaranchal by evening. A picturesque town and the gateway to the Holy places of Kedarnath and Badrinath. We were told that we get a beautiful view of Himalayas here, since we reached late and as it was cloudy we were not lucky enough to have that grand view.

The ladies who sang bhajans

Ranikhet Ambal

The mother's who sang bhajan'sAt Ranikhet also the merchant’s association gave a reception to us in the local Shiva temple. The ladies who sang bhajans started weeping by seeing us, such is the reverence these people attach to the yatris. We stayed at the KMVN guest house and experienced the first cold night of the yatra . On the first day we traveled for about 350 Kms and had the first feel of the mountains and enjoyed the greenery and the undulating rivers of Himalayas.

The first day was the day we got the first feel of Himalayas the tall emerald mountains and undulating rivers.

Ranikhet Shiv temple
( Shri Joshi who completed the yatra without wearing chappels)

An introduction about Kumoan region in which we travel during the yatra. The northern hilly region of the erstwhile integrated Uttar Pradesh is now Uttarakhand (Uttaranchal) state. This state is divided into two regions namely Garwhal in the west and Kumoan in the east. During the yatra we travel in the Kumoan region. The legend of Lord Vishnu’s second incarnation Kurma (Tortoise) is linked . We saw in the legends of Kailash that Lord Vishnu took the form of Tortoise and supported the Manthara mountain used to churn the milky ocean. After that Lord Vishnu as tortoise is said to have rested on these hills for three months. It is believed that still the marks of the feet of the Lord are available in the mountains. So these mountains were called Kurmanchal which got transformed to Kumoan an interesting anecdote indeed. It is because of Kailash Manasarovar which is 865 Km from Delhi Kumoan region is also called Manaskhand. The region is serene, calm, peaceful and when we travel through this region we experience a rare serenity, a feeling unbelievable yet true, exhilarating, breathtaking, these words just fail to describe the beauty of Kumoan Region.

Yatra continues.........

Friday, June 20, 2008

கண்டேன் அவர் திருப்பாதம் (திருக்கயிலாய யாத்திரை) -8

யாத்திரையின் முதல் நாள்

டெல்லியிலிருந்து ராணிகேத் வரை 350 கி.மீ பேருந்துப்பயணம், யாத்திரையின் முதல் நாள் மலைகளின் ஸ்பரிசம் கண்டோம்.

அப்பர் பெருமான் அருளிச்செய்த போற்றித் திருத்தாண்டகம்


ஒம் நமசிவாய
வானத்தார் போற்றும் மருந்தே போற்றி

வந்தென்றன் சிந்தை புகுந்தாய் போற்றி

ஊனத்தை நீக்கும் உடலே போற்றி

ஓங்கி அழலாய் நிமிர்ந்தாய் போற்றி

தேனத்தை வார்த்த தெளிவே போற்றி

தேவர்க்கும் தேவனாய் நின்றாய் போற்றி

கானத்தீ யாட லுகந்தாய் போற்றி

கயிலை மலையானே போற்றி போற்றி (4)

நான்காம் நாள், யாத்திரையின் முதல் நாள் காலை 5 மணிக்கு பேருந்தில் யாத்திரையை

நமஸ்தே அஸ்து பகவன் விஸ்வேஸ்வராய மஹாதேவாய திரியம்பகாய திரிபுராந்தகாய திரிகாலாக்னி காலாய காலாக்னி ருத்ராய நீலகண்டாய ம்ருத்யுஞ்ஜயாய சர்வேஸ்வராய சதாசிவாய ஸ்ரீமந் மஹா தேவாய நமஹ:

தர்மயாத்ரா சங்கத்தினர் அதிகாலையில் வழியனுப்புகின்றனர்

( அம்மையார் தான் சீமா பண்டிட் 70 வயதில் இரண்டாம் முறை யாத்திரைக்கு வந்தவர்)

என்று அந்த கயிலை வாசனையும் அம்பிகையையும் வணங்கி நாங்கள் தொடங்குகின்ற, இந்த யாத்திரையை சுபமாக வழிநடத்தி முடித்துக் கொடுக்க வேண்டும் என்று வழிபட்டு ஓம் மங்களம் பாடி எங்கள் பயணத்தை துவக்கினோம். அன்று அந்த அதி காலையிலும் "தர்ம யாத்ரா மஹா சங்கத்தினர்" காலை சிற்றுண்டி அளித்ததோடு, ஒரு ஜப மாலையும் அணிவித்து யாத்திரை சுபமாக அமையவும், நல்ல தரிசனம் கிடைக்கவும் வாழ்த்தி வழியனுப்பி வைத்தனர். பூஜை சாமான்கள் கொண்ட ஒரு சிறு பையும்(pouch)வழங்கினார்கள், அதில் ஆரத்தி பாட்டு புத்தகமும் வெள்ளி வில்வ தளம் ஒன்றும் இருந்தது மிகவும் சிறப்பு. யாத்திரிகள் அனைவருக்கும் கண்களுக்கு மருந்திட்டு அனுப்பினர்.

எங்களுடன் KMVN அதிகாரிகள் இருவர் கூட வந்தனர். எங்கள் யாத்திரை புண்ணிய நதிகளான யமுனை மற்றும் கங்கை நதிகளை கடந்து துவங்கியது யமுனையை டெல்லியிலேயே கடந்தோம் கங்கையை கருடமுக்தேஸ்வர் என்னும் இடத்தில் கண்டு வணங்கி, உத்திர பிரதேசத்தில் மொரதாபாத், கத்திகளுக்கு பெயர் போன ராம்பூர் , பிலாஸ்பூர், ஹல்த்வானி வழியாக காத்தகோடம் (550 மீட்டர் உயரம்) என்னும் இடத்தை மதிய உணவிற்கு சென்று சேர்ந்தாம். இரயில் இருப்புபாதை காத்தகோடம் வரைதான் உள்ளது.

இந்த நகரத்திற்கு அப்புறம் மலைப்பகுதி தொடங்குகிறது, எனவே இது வரை ஒரு பெரிய பேருந்தில் பயணம் செய்த நாங்கள் இங்கிருந்து இரண்டு சிறிய பேருந்துகளில் பயணம் செய்ய ஆரம்பித்தோம். ஆகவே எங்களது பொருட்கள் அனைத்தையும் இறக்கி மாற்ற வேண்டி வந்தது, காத்தகோடத்தில் நல்ல மழை பெய்தது அதிலேயே பைகளை சிறிய பேருந்துகளுக்கு மாற்றினோம். இரண்டு பேருந்துகளிலும் இரண்டு உத்தராஞ்சல் போலீஸ்காரர்கள் வயர்லெஸ் உடன் காவலுக்காக வந்தனர். அவர்கள் மாவட்ட ஆட்சியாளர்களுடன் தொடர்பு கொண்டிருந்தனர், அவர் மூலம் டெல்லிக்கும் யாத்திரையின் முன்னேற்றம் தெரியப்படுத்தப்பட்டது. அடுத்த 20 நாட்களுக்கான இமயமலையின் எங்கள் பயணம் இங்கிருந்து தொடங்கியது அந்த அம்மையப்பரின் மாப்பெரும் கருணையினால்.

பின் பீம் தால் என்னும் பெரிய ஏரியை கடந்து , பொவாலி, கைர்னா பாலம் வழியாக ராணிகேத் என்னும் இடத்தை அடைந்தோம். வழியிலே கைஞ்சி என்ற இடத்தில், நெடிதுயர்ந்த மலைகளின் அடிவாரத்தில் அழகிய பூந்தோட்டங்களுடனும் அமைதியாக ஓடும் நதியின் கரையில் இரம்மியமாக அமைந்திருந்த வைஷ்ணவ தேவி கோவிலில் அம்பாளை வணங்கினோம்.

ராணிகேத் (2000 மீட்டர் உயரம்) தேவ பூமியாம் குமோன் பிராந்தியத்தின் ஒரு கோடை வாச ஸ்தலம். இமய மலையின் பனி மூடிய சிகரங்களின் அருமையான காட்சி இவ்விடத்திலிருந்து கிடைக்கின்றது, இங்கிருந்து ஒரு வழி கேதார்நாத், பத்ரிநாத் செல்கின்றது. இவ்வூரில் இருந்த சிவன் கோவிலில் ராணிகேத் வணிகர் சங்கத்தினரால் எங்களுக்கு வரவேற்பு வழங்கப்பட்டது. எங்களுக்காக தாய்மார்களின் ஒரு குழு பஜனைப்பாடல்கள் பாடினர், அவர்களில் பலர் எங்களை பார்த்த சந்தோஷத்தில் அழுதே விட்டனர், அவர்கள் அன்பும், பக்தியும் எங்களை மிகவும் நெகிழ வைத்தது. நாங்கள் எம்பெருமானுக்கு அருகில் இருந்தும் கூட எங்களுக்கு இந்த் அரிய வாய்ப்பு கிடைக்கவில்லை. கைலாயம் செல்லும் தங்களைக் காண்பதே ஒரு பெரிய பாக்கியம் என்று அவர்கள் கூறியபோது மிகவும் நெகிழ்வாக இருந்தது. இராணிகேத்தின் வணிக சங்கத்தினர் சிற்றுண்டி, அக்கோவிலின் அம்பாளின் ஒரு புகைப்படம் மற்றும் நிணைவுப்பரிசும் வழங்கினர்

இராணி கேத் சிவன் கோவில்

(காலணி அணியாமலே யாத்திரை செய்த அன்பர் திரு.ஜோஷி)

அவர்களின் துக்கம் புரிந்தது, அதே சமயம் அந்த சிவசக்திக்கு ஆயிரம் நன்றிகளை தெரிவித்துக் கொண்டோம் எங்களுக்கு தரிசனம் தர திருவுள்ளம் கொண்டதற்காக. மேக மூட்டமாக இருந்ததால் ராணிக்கேத்தில் (Ranikhet) எங்களுக்கு இமய மலையின் அரிய காட்சி கிடைக்கவில்லை. முதல் நாள் மலைகளின் ஸ்பரிசம் கண்டோம், நெடிதுயர்ந்த மரங்கள் சிகரங்களில் பச்சை போர்வை போர்த்தது போல் காட்சி தந்தன, ஆறுகள் வளைந்து வளைந்து ஓடின. முதல் நாள் நாங்கள் கிட்டத்தட்ட 350 கி,மீ தூரம் பேருந்தில் பயணம் செய்தோம். பின் KMVN சுற்றுலா மாளிகையில் இரவு தங்கினோம்.

இராணிகேத் அம்பாள்

பஜனைப்பாடல்கள் பாடி அழுத அன்புத்தாய்மார்கள்

இனி உத்தராஞ்சல் மாநிலத்தைப்பற்றி ஒரு சிறு குறிப்பு. பழைய உத்திரப்பிரதேசத்தில் இருந்த மலைப்பகுதியே உத்தராஞ்சல் மாலம் ஆகியது, இம்மாலத்தின் மேற்குப்பகுதி கர்வால் என்றும் , கிழக்குப்பகுதி குமோன் என்றும் அழைக்கப்படுகின்றது. நாம் யாத்திரை செய்யும் பகுதி குமோன் பகுதி. இந்த பகுதி முழுதும் தேவ பூமி, பல்வேறு ஆலயங்களும், பனி மூடிய சிகரங்களும், வளைந்து வளைந்து ஓடும் ஆறுகளும் நிறைந்த பகுதி. இனி இப்பகுதிக்கு குமோன் என பெயர் வரக்காரணம் விஷ்ணு பகவான் எடுத்த கூர்ம அவதாரம். இரண்டாவது அவதாரமாக கூர்ம அவதாரம் எடுத்த போது எம்பெருமான் இம்மலையில் மூன்று மாதங்கள் தங்கியதாக ஐதீகம். அவரது காலடித்தடம் இன்னும் இம்மலைகளில் உள்ளன, கூர்மாச்சல் என்பதே மருவி குமூ ஆகி பின் குமோன் என்று இன்று அழைக்கப்படுகின்றது. மானசரோவருக்கு நுழைவாயிலாகத் திகழுவதால் இந்த குமோன் பகுதி மானஸ்கண்ட் என்றும் அறியப்படுகின்றது.

யாத்திரை தொடரும்...............

Thursday, June 19, 2008

கண்டேன் அவர் திருப்பாதம் (திருக்கயிலாய யாத்திரை) -7

டெல்லியில் மூன்றாம் நாள்

அப்பர் பெருமான் அருளிச்செய்த போற்றித் திருத்தாண்டகம்


ஒம் நமசிவாய

மருவார் புரமூன்றும் எய்தாய் போற்றி

மருவியென் சிந்தை புகுந்தாய் போற்றி

உருவாகி என்னைப் படைத்தாய் போற்றி

உள்ளாவி வாங்கி ஒளித்தாய் போற்றி

திருவாகி நின்ற திறமே போற்றி

தேசம் பரவப்படுவாய் போற்றி

கருவாகி ஓடும் முகிலே போற்றி

கயிலை மலையானே போற்றி போற்றி (3)

தீர்த்தா யாத்திரா கமிட்டி தலைவர் மற்றும்

L.O திரு பொனால் அவர்களுடன் ஆசிரியர்

டெல்லி அரசின் பை வழங்கும் போது

மூன்றாம் நாள் காலையில் அந்த வேயுறு தோளி பங்கர் விடமுண்ட கண்டரின் மாப்பெருங் கருணையினால் இந்திய அரசின் விருந்தாளிகளாக வெளியுறவு அமைச்சகம் சென்றோம் அங்கு எங்களுக்கு கைலாஷ் மானசரோவர் யாத்திரை பற்றிய ஒரு வீடியோப் படம் காண்பிக்கப்பட்டது. சீனப் பகுதிகளில் எவ்வாறு நடந்து கொள்ள வேண்டும் என்பது பற்றிகூறினார் இணை செயலாளர்.

கேமராவில் படம் எடுக்கும் போது சீன கட்டிடங்களை படம் எடுக்க வேண்டாம், அதே சமயம் இந்தியப் பகுதியில் எடுத்த புகைப்படங்களை சீனப்பகுதியில் கொண்டு செல்ல வேண்டாம்.

சீனக்கடைகளில் பொருள்கள் வாங்கச் செல்லும் போது கவனமாக இருக்கவும். ஒரு யாத்திரி ஒரு கணணிக் கடையில் ஏதோ பார்த்துக் கொண்டிருந்த போது அவர் கைபட்டு ஒரு கணணி பழுதாகிவிட்டதால் அவர் மீது கடைக்காரர் வழக்கு பதிவு செய்தார், அவர் துன்பத்திற்கு உள்ளாக நேர்ந்தது L.O அவர்களின் அரசை கலந்துகொண்டு பின் நடவடிக்கை எடுத்து வழக்கு திரும்பப்பெறப்பட்டது ஆனால் அவர் நஷ்ட ஈடு வழங்க வேண்டி வந்தது, எனவே சீனப்பகுதியில் கடைகளில் கவனமாக இருக்கவும்.

அங்கு தலாய் லாமாவைப்பற்றி யாருடனும் ஏதும் பேச வேண்டாம்.

யாத்திரிகளில் சிலர்

நாங்கள் தினமும் உங்கள் L.O உடன் தொடர்பு கொண்டு உங்கள் நலன் பற்றிய செய்திகளை அறிந்து கொண்டிருப்போம் பயப்படாமல் சென்று வாருங்கள் என்று ஆசி கூறி அனுப்பினார்கள். மேலும் KMVN க்கு தர வேண்டிய மீதி ரூபாய் 10500/- செலுத்தி இரžது பெற்றுக்கொண்டாம் எங்களது பாஸ்போர்ட்டும் திரும்பக்கிடைத்தது.

மதிய உணவிற்கு குஜராத் சதன் வந்து விட்டோம். அதற்குப்பின் டெல்லியில் கைலாய கிரிவலத்தின் போது வேண்டிய உணவுப் பொருள்களையும், மருந்துகளையும் அவரவர்களுக்கு வேண்டிய சொந்த பொருட்களையும் வாங்கிக் கொண்டோம்.

இரவு டில்லி அரசின் சார்பாக தீர்த்த யாத்திரை கமிட்டியினர் விருந்து வழங்கி கௌரவித்தனர். அப்போது டில்லி அரசின் சார்பில் அனைவருக்கும் ஒரு பை வழங்கப்படது அதில் ஒரு தொப்பி, ஒரு மழை கோட், பூஜை சமான்கள் அடங்கிய ஒரு பெட்டி முதலியன இருந்தன. பெட்டியில் கற்பூரம், ஊது பத்திகள், செந்து‘ரம், அட்சதை , ஒரு 108 ருத்ராக்ஷ்ங்கள் கொண்ட ஒரு மாலை முதலியன இருந்தன. டெல்லி வாசிகளுக்கு அந்த அரசு ரூபாய் 10000/- சன்மானமனமாக வழங்கியது அது போல குஜராத் அரசும் அந்த மாலத்தில் இருந்து யாத்திரைக்கு வருபவர்களுக்கு ரூபாய் 20000/- சன்மானம் வழங்குகின்றது. மேலும் அவர்களுக்கு ஒரு தொப்பி, ஒரு பை ஒரு பௌச் முதலியன வழங்குகின்றது, அவர்கள் டெல்லி வந்து செல்வதற்கான கட்டணத்தையும் குஜராத் அரசே வழங்குகின்றது. எனவே தானோ என்னவோ எங்கள் குழுவில் 12 பேருக்கு மேல் குஜராத் மாநிலத்தவர்கள் இருந்தனர். மற்ற குழுவினரிலும் குஜராத்தை சேர்ந்தவர்கள் அதிகம் செல்கின்றனர் என்று அறிந்தோம். மற்ற மாநில அரசுகள் ஏதும் மானியம் தருவதில்லை.

யாத்திரை சுபமாக நடக்க சிவபெருமானுக்கு பூசனை

தீர்த்த யாத்திரை கமிட்டி தலைவர் திரு ஷிவ் குமார் சர்மா ஒரு கடிதம் வாசித்து காண்பித்தார் அதில் போன வருடம் சென்ற ஒரு அம்மையார் மானசரோவர் தடாகத்தில் இரவில் தேவர்கள் நட்சத்திர ரூபமாக வந்து நீராடி கடல் தனில் அமுதொடு கலந்த நஞ்சை மிடறிலினிலடக்கிய விமலனையும், பார்வதித் தாயையும் வணங்கிச் சென்றமை குறித்து எழுதியிருந்தார். அவரும் எங்களை அதன் அற்புத காட்சியைக் காணுமாறு வேண்டினார்.

அன்று இரவு பொது பொருட்களான உணவுப் பொருட்கள் மற்றும் மருந்துகள், பூஜை பொருட்கள் அனைத்தையும் முதலில் தண்ணீர் புகாத வகையிலும் அதே சமயம் மட்டக் குதிரைகளில் எடுத்து செல்லும் விதமாகவும் கட்டி வைத்தோம்.

முதலிலேயே சொன்னது போல் நமது பொருட்கள் அனைத்தும் மேலே கோவேறு கழுதைகள் மூலம் தான் கொண்டு செல்லப்படுகின்றன. மேலும் வழியில் மழை, பனி, நீர் வீழ்ச்சிகள் ஆகியவற்றை கடந்து செல்லவேண்டும் என்பதால் நமது பொருட்களை தண்ர் புகாத வண்ணம் நமது பொருட்களை நன்றாக கட்டி(pack) எடுத்து செல்ல வேண்டும். ஒரு சர்ட், பேண்ட், பனியன், ஜட்டி முதலியவற்றை முதலில் ஒரு பிளாஸ்டிக் கவரில் பேக் செய்து பின் டேப்பால் அதை ஒட்டி விட வேண்டும் அதன் மேல் என்ன பொருட்கள் உள்ளன என்று எழுதினால் எடுக்கும் போது உதவியாக இருக்கும். அதே போல் எல்லா பொருட்களையும் பிளாஸ்டிக் கவர்களில் பேக் செய்து, நமது பைகளில் வைக்க வேண்டும். பின் அந்தப்பையை ஒரு உரப்பையில் வைத்து கட்ட வேண்டும் பின் இன்னொரு பையினால் மூடி து‘க்குவதற்கு ஏதுவாக கட்ட வேண்டும். ஏனென்றால் கோவேறு கழுதைகள் மேலேறும் போது மலையை உரசிக் கொண்டு தன் செல்லும், பாதையின் அடுத்த ஒரம் அதள பாதாளம் அதிலும் காளி நதி வேகத்துடன் ஓடுகின்றது என்பதால் அவை மலையை ஒட்டியே செல்லும். அப்போது நமது வெளி உரப்பை சேதமடைய வாய்ப்பு உள்ளது எனவே இரண்டு பைகளை வைத்து இரண்டையும் தனித்தனியாக கட்டுவது நல்லது. மூட்டைகளின் மேல் அடையாளத்திற்காக தங்கள் பெயர், குழு எண் (Batch No) , வருடம், மற்றும் தங்கள் வரிசை எண்ணை எழுத வேண்டும். இவ்வாறு நாங்கள் எடுத்துச் செல்லும் பொருட்கள் எல்லாவற்றையும் பேக் செய்து எங்கள் சொந்த பேக்குகள் இரண்டையும் பேக் செய்ய நள்ளிரவு ம 12 ஆனது.

இவ்வாறு எதிர்பார்ப்புகளோடும், பிரார்த்தனையோடும், மற்றவர்கள் அன்போடும் மரியாதையோடும், ஆம் எங்களுக்கு கிடைத்த மரியாதையை வர்க்க வார்த்தைகளே இல்லை. என்னுடன் பணி செய்த சகோதரி முதலிலேயே கூறி இருந்தார் மாலைகளை சுமந்து சுமந்து கழுத்தே வலித்து விடும் என்று, அவ்வாறே நடந்தது ஒவ்வொரு சமிதியினரும் வழியில் உள்ள கிராம மக்களும் காட்டிய அன்பும், மரியாதையும், பக்தியும் அளவிடமுடியாதது நம்மை சிவ சொரூபமாகவே அவர்கள் கருதுகின்றனர். இவ்வாறு டெல்லியில் மூன்று நாட்கள் கழிந்தன. அடுத்த நாள் காலை ஒரு ஆனந்த யாத்திரைக்கு புறப்படுகின்றோம் சகல புவனத்தையும் படைத்தும், காத்தும், அழித்தும் விளையாடும் அந்த சர்வேஸ்வரனையும் சர்வேஸ்வரியையும் கண்டு தரிசனம் செய்யப்போகின்றோம் என்ற நிம்மதியில் தூங்கச்சென்றோம்.

யாத்திரை தொடரும்...............

Kailash Manasarovar Darshan (yatra)-7


Delhi Govt's Thirth Yatra Committe presenting bag to all yatris

Thirth yatra committee chairman Shri Shiv Sharma

and our L.O Bonal with the author

As medical examination was over and those who can undertake the yatra eas known, the third day was a day of joy for those selected and a day of despair for those were left out. This day mainly we spent on making the final preperation for the holy journey.

The lucky yatris

On the third day morning we were taken to North block, for a briefing. by Ministry of external affairs, there the joint secretary assured that every help will be extended by the Government to make the yatra a success and they also showed a video clip about the yatra and its route for the first time we had an idea of the real conditions in which we will be undertaking the yatra. From their side they also advised the yatris to be careful in taking photographs on the Chinese side and be careful while shopping . Some yatris landed in trouble when they photographed buildings in Taklakot, also some other yatri while shopping touched a computer which fell down and broke the shop keeper lodged a police complaint and with great effort L.O could manage to get the complaint withdrawn. As on the Chinese side any problem happens diplomatic efforts are also required so they requested us to be extra careful. Also they requested us not to talk about Dalai Lama on the other side and requested us to deposit our film rolls and memory chip at Nabidang so they will not fall into Chinese hands. Our Indemnity bonds were collected and we paid the remaining amount due to KMVN. Our passports were returned back to us there was no endorsement was there as only group visa was issued by Chinese Government.

The yatris dancing in ecstacy that they got the chance for darshan

After lunch we went to Chandni chowk for shopping. All the common items required like food items, packing materials including fertilizer sacks and pooja articles, havan articles, chlorine tablets , small gifts as token of remembrance to ITBP personnel were bought in Delhi from common fund. The individuals also bought the items required for them.

Pooja to Lord Shiva for a good darshan

In the evening "Thirtha yatra committee of Delhi Government" hosted a reception to the yatris in which the bag was gifted to all the yatris. The residents of Delhi were given an financial assistance of Rs. 20,000/- . Similarly Gujarat Government gives Rs 30,000/- and also a kit containing essential items to their residents, other state Governments do not provide any assistance to the yatris. The president of the committee wished all a successful yatra and also asked us to witness the spectacle of celestials bathing in Manasarovar in the form of stars, he read out a letter written by an yatri who undertook the yatra last year. We had a pooja to pray to Lord Shiva for a good darshan followed by dinner. Later we started packing the common items in secure water proof package which extended up to midnight and went for a nap with the satisfaction that the D day has arrived and we are ready to travel for the darshan of Lord and Mother in few hours.

The yatra continues............

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kailash Manasarovar Darshan (yatra)-6


On the second day of our stay at Delhi we all of us got up early for the medical examination and went to Batra Hospital on empty stomach , where the medical examination was done but to our dismay many were disqualified in the medical examination only 32 were selected and our group became small but there was a benefit in that also that the whole group traveled together during the whole yatra. Otherwise normally the group is divided into two groups as in the Chinese side maximum of 30 persons can only be accommodated comfortably. One group will undertake Kailash parikrama first meanwhile the other group will undertake Manasarovar parikrama after 4 days then they interchange. Here I should mention about Mrs Seema Pandit from Jaipur, she is 62 years old and she could not do the TMT properly so the doctors disqualified her, but there was a doctor from Nasik Dr. Bokre in our group who suggested her to go for echocardiogram which she underwent by paying extra payment from her side. First ITBP doctors were not ready to accept her but she was firm and she was allowed to undertake the yatra. Why I narrated this incident is to show that the devotees unmindful of their health status wish to undertake the yatra, but government is not willing to allow those who are not physically fit to undertake this difficult pilgrimage. On earlier years a medical certificate was enough since some yatris misused that also then the system of conducting the medical examination at Delhi itself started. Always there will be conflict between faith and reality only we have to reconcile to the will of the Lord and take things as it comes. So that only the author undertook the yatra in middle age itself rather than waiting for old age. Most of the aspirants were disqualified on account of blood pressure only the important one being systolic pressure. So it would be better for the aspirants to first have a medical check at their native place itself before leaving to Delhi to avoid disappointment as the government is sending only the fit persons to the yatra because of the difficulties involved when someone gets sick especially on the Chinese side. We have to carry the results as well as the X-rays and tread mill results upto Gunji where the second medical test will be held for verification by ITBP doctors.

14th Batch 2005

By the grace of the Lord Shiva also called as Maheshwara,( The great Eswara) Chandra Sekara,( moon bejeweled) Pannaka Pushana ( snake ornamented), Jatadhara ( one with matted locks) the author and his roommate were selected after the medical examination , those who were disqualified tried to reason with the ITBP doctors that its their lives and they are ready to undertake the yatra, but the doctors didn’t budge and they all returned with heavy heart at around 7PM . Those who were selected then went to Canara Bank at Ashoka Hotel for foreign exchange conversion. Our L.O informed us about the serial nos of dollars which Chinese are not accepting we avoided those and converted the rupees into American dollars.

Felicitation of the yatris by Delhi Government

Before we start our journey a small introduction about the members of 14th batch of 2005 as you will be encountering them through the course of the yatra as you read this book. The oldest member was 66 year old Smt Seema Pandit from Jaipur, about whom we saw during medical examination. The next eldest was Shri Appa Rao from Omargoan , Maharashtra , 65 years old . He was siddha medicine practitioner and gave medicines for cold and diarrhea during the yatra. Apart from Mrs .Seema pandit there were four other lady yatris three came as couples they are Smt & Shri Bokre from Nasisk , Adroja couple and Kimji couple from Gujarat. Smt Sharmistha Dutta came from West Bengal. The other members were my room mate Shri Tapaswi from Nasik, he had a bhel tree in his house and used to worship Lord Shiva with Bhel leaves daily. He was really my guardian during the whole yatra , rather every body called him my elder brother, he took good care of me, normally he used reach the camps earlier and used to reserve the bed next to him for me, our relationship which started in the room no 108 of Gujarat sadan Delhi is continuing today also. An IIT professor from Kharagpur Shri Kanchan Choudahry from Wesr Bengal, Shri Joshi, Shri Goswami, Shri Jairam Donda, Shri Biharilal Purohit, Shri Dinesh Patel, Shri Sushil Kumar Modi and Shri Prjapathi all came from Gujarat. Since Gujarat government offers subsidy to Kailash yatra , in almost all the groups we can find yatris from Gujarat to be a major portion. Shri Joshi is such a sterling devotee of Lord that he walked bare foot without even chapels during the whole yatra in the cold climate and rocky terrain and carried oil for Kalapani temple all by himself , he was undertaking the yatra for the second time. Shri Goswami was well versed in Sanskrit. Modi and Prajapati were also great devotees of the Lord. Shri Mudgal from Delhi was another sterling devotee, he was also undertaking the yatra for the second time, for his credit he has worshipped the Lord at 12 Jyothir Linga temples and has also undertaken the chardham circuit ( Badrinath in the North, Puri in the east, Dwaraka in the west and Rameswaram in the south many times). Another yatri from Delhi was shri Dhanuskodi, a native of Tamilnadu serving at Delhi . Shri Indresh Purohit from Indore was also undertaking the yatra for the second time , he is the driver of Sataphti express train. Shri Sanjeev Mittal from Jaipur was also undertaking the yatra for the second time with us. Another member was Shri Manish Kumar Verma from Ferozabad. The youngest was Shri Amandeep Singh from Ganga Nagar 25 year lad a sikh. Many from our group had visited kailsh during subsequent years also really the author was lucky to have undertaken the yatra which such blessed ones. Thus our group was mix of experienced and the inexperienced, old and young a garland of different flowers.
Yatra will continue..........

Kailash Manasarovar Darshan (Yatra) -5


We can divide the whole yatra into different periods of different moods, first you have to wait for the advertisement and apply and wait anxiously to be selected by the Lord for His holy Darshan. Then you prepare for the yatra. When you reach Delhi you tension is at peak because of medical examination. Once you are medically fit your joy is unbound. Then the yatra starts you enjoy the beauty of nature and also you also feel happy that a long goal is going to fructify. When you reach the Chinese side again tension whether you will have a good darshan , because many people have undertaken the yatra but they didn’t get proper darshan of the Lord because of bad weather and cloud cover. But once you get the Darshan and receive the blessings of the Lord your purpose of life has been achieved and you experience the internal bliss and it is very difficult to describe that feeling in mere words.

With great expectation and prayer in lips and mind the author reached Delhi on 14th August from Chennai for the darshan of the Lord of Universe, the ash smeared, three eyed, trident wielding, bull riding, moon bejeweled, blue throated Lord Shiva and His consort Mother of Universe Parvati . The accommodation for the yatris had been arranged in Gujarati Sadan by Delhi Government. When we reached Gujarati Sadan a banner welcomed us telling welcome to silver jubilee year’s yatra. The accommodation transport and food is sponsored by Delhi Government for the first three days. Shri . Joshi from Gujarat helped during the checking in period. Author was allotted room No 108. Shri. Tapaswi from Nasik later joined him as room mate. We discussed about the yatra and prayed to Lord that we should pass the medical examination so that we can have His darshan and slept. Next day early morning we were transported to ITBP Hospital for preliminary medical examination. Normally the yatris undergo medical examination at a recognized hospital, but as it was 15th August , Independence day and the hospital was closed there was a slight change in the schedule for our group. In the ITBP hospital the doctors explained about the difficulties one will face during high altitude trekking the steps to be taken in case of earth quake or blizzards and also assured that on the Indian side they will be there for the help of the Yatris.

Tapaswi and author

The important points they explained that day are

1.Try to start early in the morning and reach the destination before noon and have proper rest.

2. Trek in groups ands slowly and steadily do not over exert yourself.

3. Take lot of fluids while trekking.

4. Always walk nearer to the mountains with caution looking for any debris falling from above.

5. When you come out in the night you cover yourself well.

6. They also gave a pamphlet explaining about the precautions to be during a earth quake or avalanche.

They gave a four word mantra called COLD which one should not forget during the yatra.

C : Keep your body and clothes clean. Do not sleep with shoes on. Do not walk with wet socks which may lead to blisters and subsequent problems.

O : Avoid over heating. Do not run or over exert your self.

L : Put on loose clothes. It is better to wear clothing in many thin layers which can be removed when there is sudden change in weather rather than wearing a single thick cloth.

D : Keep body and clothes dry always. Do not walk with wet socks it will lead to blisters. Always wear rain coat while it rains and when crossing waterfalls, change wet clothing immediately.

Liaison officer called L.O is the leader of the group and is appointed by the Government of Indaia. They are high rank officers of Government Service, who takes care of all the needs of the group and also guides them, he interacts with Govt agencies both Indian and Chinese and also with the committees in between he is regular touch with the District magistrate and also Satellite phone is given to him for use in emergency situations. Overall he is the caretaker for the whole group. Our L.O was Shri Bishen Singh Bonal , Director of Delhi Zoo. He met us at ITBP hospital and took all the details about us . KMVN also collected our passports for Visa.

Then we were felicitated with garlands and facilitated with most essential things which we didn’t think earlier by Kailash Manasarovar Seva Samiti, New Delhi. They also gave a presentation on how to conduct ourselves during the yatra. They advised us to wear the woolen monkey cap always when we are outdoors and to remove that only when we enter into tents, can plug the ears with cotton daily, not to quarrel with others during the yatra, not to use slippers in the mountains and to chant the Five Holy Syllables of the Lord OM NAMAHSHIVAYA always. The main point was their advise not to use ponies in steep descends they also told about four such descends where yatris have fallen from pony and broken their bones. They are 1. The 4 K.M descent from Lipulekh pass into Tibet. 2. The 7 KM descent from Dolma pass during Kailash Parikrama. 3. The descent from Chiyalekh to Budhi while returning. 4.The 4444 steep steps from Gala to Lakhanpur. Also it was told that it is better to use pony on the Chinese side also instead of yak if available because pony can be controlled better. When riding a pony when there is an ascent we have to bend to the front and when there is a descent we have to bend backwards so that the horse will not feel much burden.

Thanks to Kailash yathra samiti for food and medicines

Blood pressure of all the aspirants were recorded on that day and those who had high diastolic (low) pressure were warned about that, we returned to Gujarat Sadan worried about the medical test of next day. Dinner was hosted by Amarnath Seva samiti they also gave valuable inputs some of the important points are that it is by the grace of the Lord and Mother that we have progressed so far and it is their will which brought us here and be thankful to them for that and leave everything at their feet they will take care of everything just don’t worry for anything and just keep chanting their names and everything will come good, exactly that’s what happened, how we went and how we returned we don’t know it’s all their grace that they led all of us all the way gave very good darshan and sent us back to tell the glory of them to the world. Always take the permission of L.O and act according to his instructions. It is better to carry pepsi bottles for carrying Holy Manasarovar water , because sometimes when we carry water in large cans they may break, also porters empty the water and fill them later with ordinary water, so if it is small bottle you can carry that along with us and there will not be any chance for pilferage. . If you choose to carry in water cans you seal it properly with m-seal or fevicol so that they cannot be tampered with. They also advised you carry back also water of Gauri Kund which has medicinal properties and also the water of river from Mount Kailash. They also advised that those who complete the parikrama earlier than others can trek upto Ashtapath. They also advised us not to touch any plant on the way and not to rub the mountain when we trek because some of the plant on the way are poisonous especially a plant scorpion plant when you come into contact there will be irritation for two three hours. As Kailash is the abode of Shiv Sakthi it is the most holiest place and so it is surrounded by celestials and always think positive only whenever you are there and due to this body we have some constraints like passing out the excreta whenever you have to do that first take the permission of the Lord and apologise for the same and do it at the opposite side of Kailash mountain.

Our L.O had a meeting with us at Gujarati Sadan and different committees were formed like food committee, finance committee, transport committee, bhajan committee with all the 45 aspirants as members without knowing the wish of the Lord. It was decided that each yatri will contribute Rs 2000/- to the common fund for the following items, provisions for cooking during parikrama, chlorine tablets, m-seal, packing material, small gifts to ITBP personnel and other common expenses. Thus the first day at Delhi went off nicely. Here I met a couple from Karnataka who were fresh from the yatra and asked them if they had good darshan? They replied in the affirmative and also told they had the darshan of OM parvat, Nag parvat, Nandhi and also blessed that we will also have darshan. I had in many articles that sometimes yatris don’t get the darshan although they travel up to Kailash, by their assurance that fear vanished from our minds.

To Be Continued.....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra (Darshan) -4


Kailash and Manasarovar

Mount Kailash is the abode of Shiv –Parvati, As we will not be able to visit any body’s house without their invitation, it is believed that one gets to visit Kailash by the grace of the dancing Lord Nataraja and He only selects the pilgrims who can reach up to His feet and have his darshan. So the first thing needed is the inner desire that the three eyed Lord who wields the trident should give His Holy Darshan to you. Many yatris confirmed that they fervently prayed to Lord Shiva and then only they got this chance.

Prepare for Yatra by achieving Physical fitness:

The individual should do regular physical exercises or yoga and meditation or breathing exercises to keep the body fit for the arduous yatra. You can also undertake mustard oil massage for the body to make it flexible for long trek.

In order to perform smooth and trouble free yatra, it is advisable to start preparatory morning / evening walk of about 4 - 5 kms per day at least a month prior to Yatra. Apart from above If you can have daily massage of your body with body oil, preferably mustard (sarsom) oil and bathe in the lukewarm water , this will help your body to become flexible and you will not feel tired during trekking. Moreover the effect of sudden change in temperature & climate on you will be reduced to a large extent . As oxygen gets rare some times , It is better to improve your physical fitness . To increase your body efficiency of oxygen , it is very good to start deep breathing exercises . The Yoga exercise like Pranayam can be learnt.
Wait for advertisement and apply: The yatra normally starts in July and continues up to September one group leaves every week from Delhi. A group consists of maximum 60 pilgrims this year ( when the author undertook the yatra in 2005 it was 40 pilgrims per group) out of this sixty 40 are males and 20 are females.. The application for undertaking the yatra are invited by the external affairs ministry by means of advertisements in leading dailies, normally these advertisements are published in the month of January or February and the last date for sending the filled in applications is normally is 30th March. The details about he yatra can also can be had from the following websites and . Total of 16 groups are allowed by the Chinese government per year so the pilgrims are selected by computer generated random gender-balanced selection process. The selected are informed by post and nowadays by email also.

Collect the essential items needed for the yatra:

Next we will see about the essential things needed for the pilgrimage explaining also the importance of those items. The ministry sends a booklet informing about the items to be brought but exactly we don’t understand the significance of each item. The experience of the author is that he carried a lot of things which were never used also lot of essential items were also left out which were procured during the pilgrimage. Many philanthropists also donated lot of useful items required for the journey.

As the pilgrimage involves trekking and during this time the luggage is transported by mules there is a restriction on the weight of the luggage to be carried by a pilgrim. Each pilgrim is allowed 25 Kgs out of which 5 kgs is allotted for common luggage which includes food items purchased in Delhi for cooking during parikramas and common pooja items. So effectively each pilgrim will be able to carry 20 Kg of luggage. As the weight is calculated for the whole group there is slight advantage for some pilgrims who carry more luggage. Also facilities are there to deposit the unwanted luggage at places like Darchula, Nabidong on the Indian side and Taklakot on the Chinese side it will be prudent to deposit some items at these places. As altitude increases the weather pattern also changes. Hence the items needed also changes.

1. Woolen clothes:- As Kailash Manasarovar Yatra involves a high altitude trekking a minimum two sets of complete woolen clothing is a must. It can comprise full sweaters and half sweaters and woolen trousers, hand gloves and woolen socks and monkey caps. As the weather is very fickle it is better to wear clothing in many thin layers rather than using a single thick layer. As at higher altitudes wind velocity is more and chances of avalanche is there a good wind cheater is a must. It is prudent to wear socks in two layers inner one can be cotton to absorb the sweat and the outer one can be woolen. To protect the head from cold a monkey cap is a must. Carry proper woolen clothing, wind cheater, rain coat and proper shoes to make the journey comfortable.

2. Normal clothing:- Do not carry more than two sets of shirts or pants you can have one shorts for trek at lower altitudes . For men woolen Track suits are best suited two sets will be suffice. Sari is not suitable dress for the Yatra .Ladies can avoid wearing saris as it may be very inconvenient. Salwar kameej, pant shirt or Track suit will be very comfortable. As at higher altitudes because of high wind velocity clothes dry quickly. There are also facilities for washing clothes at Delhi, Gunji, Taklakot , Qihu, Quhu and Darchen where normally the yatris stay. It is better to carry detergents for washing.

3. Goggles:-
As ultra violet rays of the sun are reflected by snow, it is a must that you wear black ultra violet protected goggles to protect the eyes. So buy a good goggle with UV protection for use at high altitude above Chiyalekh the Valley of Flowers.

4. Trekking shoes: - Two pairs of trekking shoes is an absolute necessity. Two pairs are required because if one becomes wet we can change to the other immediately. It is not advisable to trek with wet socks and shoes because that will lead to injuries. You start walking in the shoes before the yatra itself and get accustomed with the shoes. Good trekking shoes are available in Action Shoes (hunter shoes) which do not cost much, many of our yatris bought them. Also carry extra shoe laces, one pair of canvas shoes can also be carried while we trek among water falls and when it is raining. Do not carry Hawai slippers as they may lead to slipping and may sometime lead to accidents. Wear shoes only when you move outside in the mountains, but while sleeping do not sleep with shoes on.

5. Peak cap:-
To avoid sun’s rays falling on the face it is advisable to carry a peaked cap or broad brimmed straw hat which protect the whole face from sun’s rays.

6. Water bottle or flask - : which can be hanged from shoulders is a must it is a better idea to have water added with glucose while trekking. We can also use hot water for preparing coffee or tea as we like. As the water available at higher altitudes contain more minerals we can carry chlorine tablets for purifying the water for drinking purposes. We bought chlorine tablets at Delhi for the whole group from the common fund.

7. Torch light: -
As the trekking will be done in the early morning hours and also it may be necessary to move out in the camps during night it is better to carry a big Torch light. It may please be noted that at camps electricity is available only for limited time that also by generator so torch light is a must. As the battery cells discharge faster at high altitude carry spare cells also. Also if you wrap the cells in woolen clothing they will retain their charge for more time. Also carry one or two spare bulbs for torch light . Also it is better to carry some candle and lighter as match sticks will not be useful please only carry lighters.

8. Rain coat : -
As the trekking has to be done during south-west monsoon season it is better to carry a rain coat, this will also be useful when we trek through water falls on the first two days when we trek from Mangti to Budhi via Gala.

9. Belt pouch :-
To carry all your important documents like passport, cash and small and important items like medicines, cameras, eatables, chocolates, toffees, soup powders etc, a good water proof belt pouch is a must. Always wear the pouch on your hip and keep it under your pillow while sleeping and wear it again when you get up. You can carry a water proof neck pouch also.

10. Cold creams & sun screen lotion :-
Keep cold cream or Vaseline with you to protect skin from cold winds especially the exposed parts like face and hands. Also a good sun screen lotion is a must as in high altitude as sun’s rays contain harmful Ultraviolet rays. We used to mix both cold cream and sun lotion and apply to face and hands before we start the trekking every day morning.

11. Walking stick :-
Good and standard walking stick is very much useful during trekking. It is our personal experience that it is one of the most useful item required for the yatra. You can buy walking sticks at Delhi or at Darchula.

12. Packing material: -
The personal effects of the yatris are transported using mules on the Indian while trekking and by yak on the Chinese side during parikrama so hard suit cases are not allowed . The clothing and other items have to be packed in canvas (soft) bags only and also they have to be made water proof so that they will not get wet during rain and snow. So first pack your clothes in thin plastic covers first set wise and put three or four such sets in a big plastic cover and place them in the soft bag. Next this bag has to be covered by a thick plastic or nylon cover so as the whole bag becomes water proof. As the ponies always travel nearer to the mountains there is chance of the outer cover getting damaged so it is better to put two covers so that our items will not spill out. Two fertilizer sacks for each bag is a must first put the soft bag in the first sack and then tie it with rope and put this in the second sack and tie it on all the sides so that it is secure while being transported by mules and carried by porters also. Have enough length of nylon rope and tie you bags well so that it will not open during transportation on mule so that the items will not fall en route. So good plastic covers and nylon rope are a must. Also write your name, and batch no and year on the outer cover for easy identification. We bought these items at Delhi.

13. Other essential items :
- Small knife, scissors, good non slippery chappels, packet diary, toilet papers, candles, needle and thread. It is better to carry a set of plate , tumbler and metal mug for personal use these will be very much useful during parikrama where cooking is done by the group. The above said items are mandatory next we will see about the optional items which have to be carried.

14. Optional items:-
According to the individual’s requirement still cameras and video cameras of high resolution. Carry spare battery cells as cells discharge faster. Also carry enough film rolls required for cameras and tape or CD required for your video camera. If you carry a digital camera ,carry two memory sticks one for the Indian side and other for Chinese side normally we have to deposit our film rolls and memory stick and tapes at Nabidang and collect it back when we return. As no plugs are available on the Chinese side for charging of battery cells it is better to carry incandescent bulb holders with plugs so that they can be used for charging of cells. Your LO or other yatris who have undertaken the yatra earlier will be able to guide you.

Small umbrella or an umbrella with only Head Cover with Elastic around Forehead and supported by strap around the chin), knee guards, ankle guards will be of great help while trekking. Good quality and unbreakable Water cans or bottles to carry back Manasarovar water, M-seal or fevicol to seal these cans. It is advisable to carry smelling camphor also, these will be very much useful at Lipulekh pass and Dolma Pass when you smell this smelling camphor your breathing becomes normal in those rarified atmosphere. It is advised that you cove the smelling camphor in a hand kerchief and wear it on your wrist and when needed you can smell and breath easily. As the water of Manasarovar will be freezing cold if you apply mustard oil on your body and enter the lake you can bath for more time in the lake so you can carry 500 ml of mustard oil. Those who want to do tharpanam ( offerings to ancestors of the family) may carry black sesame seeds also. It is considered auspicious to do tharpanam for ancestors at Manasarovar. No guide tells about these things and are from our experience of the author and if any future yatri is benefited by this the author will be very happy.

Snacks : Next we will see about the personal food items to be carried. As explained earlier when you travel through Nepal normally the tour operator takes care of your food during the whole yatra ie from Katmandu to Katmandu. But when we undertake the yatra through India the Chinese Government does not provide food during parikrama, so the yatris have to only make the arrangement themselves. Normally money is collected and food items needed are bought in Delhi and is carried along with the yatris. Cooks who travel to Chinese side during the yatra period are engaged for cooking they also double as porters and travel along with you during the parikrama. Also the food provided at Taklakot is not to our liking because they provide only Chinese style food. Also during Kailash parikrama lunch is not cooked as there is no time to stay while doing the circumambulation as this means reaching late at the night camp. Also sometimes diesel was not made available at one camp by the Chinese authorities and also cooking takes more time at high altitudes. So one have to have something to eat in these contingencies. So it is mandatory that you carry enough eatables along with you to sustain yourself. It is good to carry juice powders, soup powders, dry fruits, baked grams, chocolates like five star, toffees, sweets, snacks, chips, dates, coffee powder, chewing gums, biscuits, lemon drops, cheese cubes, instant drinks etc within the overall limit of your luggage weight. If you are interested carry some chocolates for distribution to children who you will meet during the yatra.

Pooja Articles: -
As per one’s custom one can carry pooja items like bell, plates, camphor, agar bathies (incense sticks) , small statues of Gods, religious literature, lamps, bhel leaves for archana of the Lord , offerings to the Lord by way of dry fruits, dates, sugar candy and the like. Some brought silver tridents and silver bhel leaves which were purified with Manasarovar water and taken back for worship in their house. As yagna is done on the shores of Manasarovar and at Ashtapat collectively ghee and other havan articles may be carried for the whole group. One can carry a dhoti (loin cloth) to be worn during havan and also when they take bath in Manasarovar.

Essential medicines:-
Along the trek route on the Indian side one doctor of the state government accompany the yatris who will take care of small ailments, also ITBP centers also have some stock of medicines but on the Chinese side there is no medical support available especially during parikrama it is nil, so it is better to carry some personal medicines which can control fever, pain, diarroreah, throat infection etc. Common ointments, cotton, dressing gauges, tincture, electral powder, C vitamin will be very much useful during the yatra which provides some protection against cold. Pulmonary odema is a major high altitude sickness, but as the yatra through India is well spaced there is minimum chance for anybody to fall ill but somebody can carry homeopathy medicine for this. Also carry regular medicines which you take . Though we didn’t consume any medicine which we took but it is wise to carry some for any emergency. Also carry sufficient quantity of special medicines prescribed for you.

You have to pay Rs 15500/- to KMVN out of which Rs 5000/- has to be sent by way of draft in the beginning itself while confirming participation in the yatra. The remaining amount of Rs 10500/- can be paid either by DD or cash at Delhi . You have to pay Rs 2000/- as medical examination fees at the hospital where medical examination will be done and Rs 200/- as visa fees to Chinese embassy. Group visa will be obtained by KMVN. In 2005 when the author undertook the yatra the fees to be paid to Chinese Government was U.S $ 601/- but in 2008 it is U.S $ 701. As this amount has to be paid in foreign currency you can obtain it in your native place or you can convert your rupees into U.S $ in Delhi. Also if you want to engage porters or pony during the Indian leg and Chinese leg you have to carry money for that also. The approximate cost will be Rs 7500/- for both pony and porter on both the legs. For common expenditure we paid Rs. 2000/- and for other expenses you can carry Rs 5000/- extra and if you want to make any purchase carry cash as required.

An Indemnity Bond in Rs 20/- stamp paper has to be submitted to Government indemnifying that we are undertaking the yatra on our own volition, cost risk and consequences and in no way Government of India is responsible for any misfortune because there is always a considerable element of risk to life and property. The same has to be attested by a notary public. You can complete this formality in your native or this can be done at Delhi also. The specimen for the bond will be sent along with the yatra guide . The same has been also included in the Annexure in this book to serve as a reference.

Till now we saw about the most important items needed for the Yatra. The experience of the author is most of the essential items were given free by many philanthropist organizations at Delhi and enroute. The love and devotion shown by them and the people we encounter during the yatra is simply amazing , there is no words by which this can be explained. With thousands of thanks here I mention those organizations. First organization to facilitate and felicitate us was Kailash Manasarovar yatra Samiti, New Delhi. They provided every yatri with a belt pouch which contained many important items which we have not thought about at all but are essential. The pouch contained smelling camphor, needle and thread, lighter, coffee powder, soup powder, dried Indian gooseberry , toffees. They also gave books for recitation during the yatra. As the organization’s members are former yatris who have undertaken the yatra earlier they shared their experience and also advised on finer points. They hosted lunch on the first day also sold essential items like cotton socks, woolen socks, woolen hand gloves, ankle guards, knee caps, goggles, peak cap at cost price. They also gave food articles and medicines for the whole group which consisted two BP machines also. Dinner was hosted by Mahadev Amarnath Yatra Samiti, they also shared their experience and gifted the most useful item namely walking stick, holders useful for charging of cells , a book , an audio cassette and a beautiful statue of Lord Shiva. The Thirth yatra committee of Delhi government arranged for a reception on the second day night and hosted dinner they also donated a trekking bag which consisted of a rain coat, rain proof peak cap, a garland of 108 rosary beads and a box containing pooja items. It was the Silver Jubilee year of resumption of yatra after the Chinese aggression. In the morning we were facilitated by “ Dharma yatra Maha Sangam” they also gave a japamala (garland of beads) and a box containing havan articles which included a silver bhel patra also. Thus many useful items were given to the yatris at Delhi. You can go to Delhi with essential woolen clothing and food items and most of the other items can be procured there or enroute.

When you travel through Nepal as the tour operator takes care of the food needs during parikrama you need not carry too much snacks with you, also as the luggage is transported along with you in jeep packing is not that much important , but better to carry light luggage in flexible bags. Also since you travel in hilly terrain where lot of dust is there nose guards are a must . Most of the tour operators offer you essential items like woolen clothing, wind cheater and walking sticks and flexible package to every yatri, so you talk to your tour operator and decide about the items to be carried along with you.

To Be Continued..........

Kailash Manasarovar Darshan -3

The pilgrimage routes

Pilgrimages are considered quite important in Hindu religion. There are many centers of sacredness, which are held in high esteem by the ardent devotees. So they travel to those places to worship their God in those places. While crossing all the hurdles on the way when one moves ahead with only focus of worshipping their God for salvation, this becomes a form of yoga and the benefit is quite marvelous. So that only many sages and saints and others have undertaken to this arduous Kailash Manasarovar yatra from time immemorial and the same trend continues now also as Kailash yatra is considered the ultimate .

There are two routes available for Indian citizens to undertake this holy trip to Kailash and Manasarovar , revered by millions , its sheer beauty and magnificence, magnificent landscapes sacred mountains, tranquil lakes beckons the pilgrims and travelers alike. First is the yatra sponsored by Government of India through Ministry of External affairs in co-ordination with Chinese Government. The second route is through Nepal, which is organized by private tour operators.

Almost all the major passes of Uttaranchal lead to Kailash . Some of these are Lipulekh, Lampiya Dhura, Nuwe Dhura, Lowe Dhura, Unta dhura, Jayanti and Kunggri Bingri. From 1981 Chinese Government is giving permission through Lipulekh pass. So pilgrims travel from Delhi upto Darchula by bus , from Mangti trekking starts and via Lipulekh pass they enter into Tibet. Except for parikrama of Kailash most of the travel in Chinese side is by bus.

In the Government sponsored pilgrimage all the arrangements are done by Kumoan Mandal Vikas Nigam, (KMVN), tourism promotion corporation of Utharakhand Government on the Indian side. KMVN takes care of food, shelter, transportation, medical facilities, while Indo-Tibetan Border police provide security. On the Chinese side Chinese Government provides shelter, transport and a guide, food is provided only in Taklakot where pilgrims stay before and after Kailash- Manasarovar parikrama, but during parikrama they have to make their own arrangement for food, which is managed by engaging cooks who cross over from India to China during this season, but the ration for this is to be purchased in Delhi and is carried along with the pilgrims. Only fresh vegetables are purchased in China. Pass port and visa is needed for travel through both the routes as Kailash is situated in China now, Chinese Government issues only group visa and no stamping is also done in the passports. The duration of yatra is 30 days, 3 days for stay in Delhi to complete the medical, visa formalities and the yatra proper is for 26 days. The trip consists of bus travel as well as trekking both on the Indian side and Chinese side. Those desirous of using ponies can hire them. Though little tough compared to the other route there are many advantages in undertaking the yatra through this route.

Land slides enroute
யாத்திரை வழியில் நிலசசரிவு

1.Proper medical examination is done and only the fit are allowed to proceed to the yatra. As the yatra involves high altitude trekking where oxygen and pressure is less and the body also get tired easily and the weather is fickle and uncertain, one moment you have scorching sun , the next moment it begins to hail and snow and shortly after a nap and coming out of the camp you will see a clear blue sky and bright sun above and a bed of pearl-like hail and white snow on the ground. As no medical facilities available, only the able bodied will be able to complete the yatra. Also if some medical problem occurs in Chinese territory they have to return by helicopter only which will cost a lot and also involves lot of diplomatic effort. So two medical examinations are done one at Delhi where blood tests, test for diabetics, TMT for heart health, pulmonary function test is done to ascertain the health of chests. Also the health of kidneys, and liver are examined. The aspiring yatri should not have high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, epilepsy , any kind of infection . Those who have any of these medical problems are not allowed to make the trip. The second medical test is done at Gunji at an altitude of 1000meters, after two days of trekking to assess the blood pressure at high altitude, those who fail in medical test are not allowed to cross into China but are taken for a trip to Chota Kailash or Adi-kailash situated in Indian territory and they return back to Delhi.

2. Because of proper spacing of bus travel and trekking when we have to do the parikrama of Mount Kailash at an altitude of 18000 ft the body will be used to cold and will easily adjust to the environment. Thus proper acclimatisation is possible in this yatra. Whereas in the trip through Nepal all the travel is by jeep and only the parikrama is by trek at the highest altitude many people face problems.

3. The Indian Government, Delhi Government, Utharakhand Government, KMVN, ITBF take full care of the pilgrims. One officer of the Govt accompany each group and he is called Liaison officer who is always in touch with External affairs ministry officials to solve any problem which may occur during the yatra. Union Govt arranges for Visa, Delhi Govt provides accommodation and transport in Delhi, KMVN takes care of food, shelter and transport from Delhi up to Indian border and also transport our luggage by ponies. Utharakahand Govt provide security by deploying police men during bus travel along with wireless set and also provide one doctor for any medical emergencies in the Indian side. ITBP soldiers provide security during trek and also offer refreshments for the pilgrims from their rations. Their engineering wing GREF clears any land slides quickly and help to maintain the schedule of yatra.

4. Government employees and public sector employees are entitled for 30 days special casual leave as Kailash Manasarovar yatra is recognized by Indian Mountaineering Foundation as high altitude trekking program. Before leaving for the trip they have to take permission to visit foreign country as Kailash is situated in China. As many aspirants who wish to undertake the yatra has written to the author after reading his Tamil book asking about the G.O No the same is now included here
“The Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) has recognized the Kailash Manasarovar yatra as a trekking expedition, for which Government servants are eligible for grant of special casual leave as per notification issued by Ministry of Personnel & Training vide O.M. No. 28016/2/84(A)-Estt.(A) dated April 11, 1985.” A certificate is signed by the Deputy Secretary is issued to the participants who complete yatra successfully. L.O takes care of this formality also and we got the certificate before we left Delhi.

The time taken for the journey is more compared to the Nepal route hence the cost is also little higher. When you travel through Nepal the tour operator plans the trip to Kailash in a way that you are on the banks of Manasarovar on full moon day, but in Govt sponsored yatra as the groups leave every week, only some groups get this opportunity.

This yatra costs approximately Rs 75,000/-, the major portion being the fees paid to Chinese Govt, it is U.S. Dollars 700 in the year 2007. KMVN collects Rs 15,500/- .Rs 2000/- is paid to the hospital for medical examination at Delhi, Rs 200/- is to be paid as visa fees. Around Rs 2000/- for common expenses including food articles, cook charges, and gifts to ITBP, guide etc. Optional expenses include porters and ponies to be hired by the individuals both on the Indian side and Chinese side as desired by them which will be about 10000/- for both porter and pony on both the sides.

Private tour operators in India in collaboration with tour operators in Nepal arrange for the yatra through Nepal. There are two options available for pilgrims taking this yatra through this route one is by helicopter and the other by land cruisers. The cost of helicopter journey is about Rs Two lakhs and the period of yatra is 9 or 12 days. The pilgrims reach Kathmandu by air, from there fly by small aircraft to Simikot via Nepalkanj, by helicopter to Halsa and from there by land cruiser they reach Manasarovar. As proper acclimatization is not possible in this trip it is better to be avoided.

Those who travel by road leave Kathmandu enter into China via friend ship bridge near Kodari, travel along Brahmaputra via Nailam, Lalangla pass , Pekdaso and cross Brahmaputra at Saga, afterwards through Prayang and Majom pass reach Hore on the banks of Manasarovar. Have a holy dip in Manasarovar and they reach the base camp of Kailash namely Darchen, those who undertake the parikrama undertake the parikrama others stay at Darchen and then they all return by the same route. The journey time is 21 days.

Waterfall enroute on the Nepal route

அழகிய நீர் வீழ்ச்சி நேபாள் வழியில்

For travel through Nepal also passport and visa are needed. The visa is obtained in Nepal by tour operators. Here also individual visa is not issued only group visas are issued, the group should consist of minimum five pilgrims. The weather is almost same and land slides are a part of the journey through this route also. The cost is almost the same or little less, the only difference is that except the parikrama no trekking is involved in this route and the duration of the pilgrim is less. For those who want to have only the darshan of Kailash with minimum difficult can undertake this yatra but should have good health to undertake the high altitude journey. The private tour operator also takes care of the food during the parikrama, as told by the author’s friend the food provided by them may not be fully sufficient so you can carry little dry fruits, biscuits for consumption during the parikrama.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Kailash Manasarovar Darshan -1

Beautiful HImalayan mountains

Mountains are there all over the world . but Himalayas are unparalleled for their beauty , ferocity and above all spirituality. It is dotted with a number of holy places like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Amarnath, Gangotri, Yamunotri, Rishikesh, Haridwar Khamakya etc. The world’s tallest mountains, Himalayas meaning “Abode of Snow” is also the youngest mountain chain. These were formed 30 million of years ago and are un spoilt because these are covered always with snow . The highest peak of the world starting from Mt Everest are all situated in these ranges. The Himalayas spread east west from Afghanistan to Myanmar . These mountain forms the natural northern boundary of Indian peninsula. Many rivers originate from these mountains and irrigate the whole of Asia. The Himalayas are broadly divided into three parts the lower Himalayas, the greater Himalayas and the Trans-Himalayas. Mount Kailash and Manasarovar lake are situated at an altitude of 20000 ft in trans- Himalayas.

The glory of Himalayas is described as follows in Skanda Purana an ancient Hindu Scripture as follows , “ In a thousand ages of the Gods the Glory of the Himalayas cannot be described. Just as the dew is dried by the morning sun so are the sins of the mankind by the sight of Himalayas”. There are no mountains like Himalayas for in them are Kailash and Manasarovar declare Hindu Scriptures.

Himalayas are not merely a geographical feature , a range of mountains, but people’s civilisational identity which dates back to dawn of history. If these majestic mountains were not there the rain clouds sweeping up from Indian ocean would have passed over Indian sub-continent into Central Asia leaving it a barren desert. Archaeological evidence that urban civilization first started from the valleys of rivers flowing from Himalayas.

According to mythology, Himalayas is the birth place of Parvati the consort of Lord Shiva. Sati was reborn as the daughter of Himavan, the King of Mountains. It was here that Mother Parvati played as a child and did penance to marry Lord Shiva and their celestial marriage also took place in Kailash . So in many of the hymns Mother Parvati is hailed as Girikanya, Girija ( daughter of mountain). Also Lord Shiva is hailed as son-in-law of mountain (Himavan). Thus the whole of Himalayas is holy to Hindus.

The ancient Hindu text Rig Veda has a mention of the Himalayas, its formation and sacredness. The most sacred peak in the Himalayan range Mount Kailash is said to have formed 30 million years ago during the early stages of formation of Himalayan region.

Nabhidang to Lipulekh

இந்திய சீன எல்லையை நெருங்கும் போது.