On the first day we were blessed with only this darshan
The day for which we undertook this arduous journey dawned and we all were ready for the darshan of the Lord as usual early morning we had the breakfast provided by the Purang Guest house and waited for the bus which will take us to the Holy land with our luggage in readiness . As many of us had read in articles even after making it to Kailash many do not get the proper darshan of the Lord prayer was on our lips . Our bone rattling bus journey started and it was a climb on the Gurla Mandata mountains.
14th Batch members at Rakshas Tal shore
Gurla Mandata is the Grand father of Ram ( incarnation of Lord Vishnu) as he had done penance towards Lord Shive in these mountains, this mountain ranges were named after him. According to mythology Lord Ganesh and Karthik son’s of Shiva and Parvati were born in this mountain, so this mountain is also sacred one. In between Gurla Mandata and Kailash ranges only both Manasarovar and Rakshas Tal lakes are situated. The waters from both these mountain ranges gets accumulated in this lakes and they flow all the four directions to irrigate the whole of Asia.
We passed through a Tibetan village, a dam and cultivated land and crossed the 16200 ft Gurla pass and when we descended we had the Rakshas Tal lake before us. The azure waters of the lake and the ambience was breath taking. Though Rakshas Tal is considered unholy every body gets the first darshan of Mount Kailash from the shores of this lake only. Ravana the demon king had done penance in the midst of this lake and obtained boon from Lord Shiva. But we were not lucky as it was cloudy we didn’t get the darshan of Kailash from here. With heavy heart we took some snaps of Rakshas Tal and proceeded onwards , Mudgal assured that we will get full darshan of the Lord.
First dip in Holy Manasarovar
Our next stop was Qihu , normally when the group is divided into two groups one group stays here for parikrama of Manasarovar and the other group leaves to Darchen the base camp of the Kailash parikrama. Mudgal suggested that we will have our holy immersion though we are not going to stay at Qihu. He also took us to a place where the water was crystal clear and we all took our first immersion in the Holy Manasarovar which frees us from the bondage of birth and death. Every stone of Manasarovar is considered as Shivalinga ( symbol of Lord Shiva) and so we took some stones from the bed of the Holy lake by the Grace of the Lord the author got a stone which resembles Lord Ganesh, the author felt very happy as he is a collector Ganesha idols. He is keeping this idol in his pooja room and is doing pooja to this idol along with his other Pooja Murthis. We all thought that the Lord purified us before His darshan. We then proceeded to Darchen (4870 m) the base camp of Kailash Parikrama.
A view of Holy Manasarovar
The land is just barren and only some grass and violet flower and the route was fully rocky. We were all eagerly looking towards the direction of Holy Kailash and this day was not our day and the clouds stood between us and the Lord. Tapaswi sighted a blue bird ( Blue Jay, supposed to be Lord Shiva and worshipped during Navarathri time) and predicted that it is a good omen and definitely we will get the darshan of the Lord. We reached Darchen around 2 o’ clock and we were accommodated in the new Guest house and from the windows of the guest house we were waiting for the cloud cover to clear so that we could have the darshan of the Lord but it never happened that day. When the wind below the cloud cover will move a little and we will wait with bated breath but more cloud will reach and we never got the full darshan that day. We could see the five colour flags representing the five elements fluttering in a circular fashion on Asthapath mountain at the feet of the Lord.
Gurla Mandata ranges from view from Darchen
We had a clear view of the Gurla Mandata mountains on the other side from Darchen. As no communication facilities are available at the other camps of Kailash and Manasarovar we telephoned (ISD) and informed our homes that for the next one week we will not be able to communicate to them. We engaged four people for cooking and they doubled as our porters also our dinner was prepared by them from the common items we brought from Delhi. As the Lord didn’t give his darshan that day the author recited Rudram ( a hymn in praise of Shiva) to please the Lord. With prayers in our lips and expectation in our hearts we went to bed requesting that the Lord should give his darshan in the days to come.