First day of parikrama of Holy Kailash
Twelfth day – Day of darshan of all the faces of the Lord.
( Trek from Darchen to Deraphuk 20 Km )
On the twelfth day when we were to start our Kailash Parikrama, the Lord woke us up at 4’0 clock in the morning, the first thing we did was to come out and see the beautiful sight of the Lord he didn’t disappoint us that day and what a great sight it was no cloud cover and we had the complete darshan of the Lord. Excited and numbed in disbelief just stood at the feet of the Lord and prayed to Him as follows
Vaagarthaaviva sampraktam vaagartha pratapattaye
Jagatah pitaru Vande Parvati Parameshvaru
( Salutations to the Parvathi and Parameshvara who are inseperable like the word and its sound) ..
The moment had come for which we undertook this yatra for this holy darshan only we took all these troubles and traveled upto this place. The Gracious Lord and Mother didn’t disappoint us but they were bountiful and gave their full darshan to us. Tears rolled down our eyes, after a disappointing first day at last we had the good fortune of getting the darshan of the gracious Lord. The goodness of our ancestors all have fructified into this wonderful darshan , whatever hardships we underwent these days vanished like a dew when the sun rises. How to express that wonderful experience I don’t know. May be how many births we waited for this darshan we don’t know. But we all felt very very lucky and thanked the Golden girl of Himavan Mother Parvati and the father of Ganesha and Muruga crores of thanks.
Then we went inside and woke up all the others and all together we sang the OM Mangalam song. Shri Mudgal explained the significance of the south face. Fully satisfied we completed our morning chores. When we started by bus upto Yamdwar the sun was just beginning to rise and the golden rays of the sun illuminated the eastern face of the Holy Kailash. We could enjoy the changing colours of the holy peak as the suns rays bathed the east and south face, from white to yellow then golden and then to white we were happy that our prayers has been answered. Lord Shiva is called Hiranya varna meaning golden hued we had the darshan of the Lord as such. As the guard mountains obscure the full view of Holy Kailash we get to see only the top portion of this face from Darchen camp.
As the author had read in many articles that after going there also many pilgrims didn’t had the good fortune of having the darshan of the Lord, this was there always at the back of the mind. The colleague of the author had told that don’t worry for those things just surrender to Him and definitely He will give His darshan that came true this day, I thanked my colleague also.
The Holy Kailash mountain resembles a Shivalingam the manifestation of Lord Shiva. In another view it resembles a yogic sitting on a lotus flower in deep medidation. This peak is 2000 m above the mountain ranges and is surrounded on all the four sides by guard mountains. Like the King and Queen sit on their majestic throne high above. The Lord and Mother reside upon this holy peak in perpetual meditation sustaining this Universe by their grace. So the nearer we are to the Kailash mountain the lesser view we get because of the guard mountains. So we get to see only the top part ie the face of the Lord from Darchen, to get the full view we have to travel to Yamdwar. In the aerial view we can clearly see the glaciers and the Kailash peak and the surrounding guard mountains.
We traveled by bus for about 10 Kms to Yamdwar from where the actual Parikrama by foot of the Kailash mountain starts. In between we saw the Nanda Devi peak. We reached the feet of the Lord and from Yamdwar we got the full darshan of the south face of the Lord. Also we had the darshan of Lord Ganesha on the right side of the Lord as a small snow covered peak and Nandi in the form of mountain facing the Lord. Yama is the Lord of death , he keeps the account of the virtues and vices of all the individuals and rewards and punishes them according to their deeds this gate is named after Yama and one who enters through this gate and have the darshan of Lord Shiva is relieved of the worry of unfortunate and untimely death. We entered into the gate had the darshan of the Lord prostrated in the ground and meditated upon him praised him with following mantra
अघोरअघोरॆभ्यॊथ घॊरॆभ्यॊ घोरघोरतरॆभ्य :
सर्वॆभ्य: सर्वशर्वॆभ्या नम्स्तॆऽस्तू रुद्र्रूपॆभ्य:
सर्वॆभ्य: सर्वशर्वॆभ्या नम्स्तॆऽस्तू रुद्र्रूपॆभ्य:
and did archana to the Lord with the bilva leaves which we have taken along with us.
A small brief about this south face of the Lord. As already mentioned this is the first face of the Lord which we get the darshan from Rakshastal when we undertake the yatra both from India and Nepal. This face faces India. In this face only we get the darshan of Lords face with his matted locks, and three eyes. In the lower part also we see the marks of the rope by which Ravana tried to pull the Kaialsh mountain. Early in the morning when we had the darshan , Shri Mudgal explained to us all these details. Also we have the darshan of this face only for major part of this yatra and the east and west faces the least.
According to mythology this Akora face is facing south on the right shoulder of the Lord it is bearded with protruded teeth like that of an old man which produces fear and is black. This face symbolizes Agni ( fire) in the five elements and stands for destruction ( destroyer and stands for annihilation ) and so is considered as Rudra. According to mythology at the end of the final great deluge Pralayam all the jivatmas end at the feet of the Lord and only Shiva and Parvati remain. Out of infinite compassion Mother Parvati prays to Lord to start the creation again and so creation again starts. Of the five syllables this face symbolizes the first syllable ‘Si”. This face is also called Dakshinamurthy. Lord Shiva as the dancing Lord of Nataraja also faces south. The face looks like that the Lord is sitting upon 1008 petalled golden lotus in perpetual meditation.
According to Tibetan mythology this face shines like sapphire akin to that of ocean. Gajasamharar, Virabadrar, Dakshinamoorthy, Kirathamurthy, Vishapakaranar are the aspects of this Ahor face. Worship of this face bestows one with knowledge and cures all diseases and also clears all indecisiveness.
To the right side of the Lord is a small peak which represents Lord Ganesha. According to mythology when there was a quarrel between Lord Ganesh and Lord Muruga (Karthik) for the fruit of wisdom, Lord Ganesha won the same by circumambulating His father and mother Shiva-Parvati. Thus the practice of circumambulation of Holy Kailash we do today was started by Lord Ganesha from that day. We also see Nandi in the form of mountain facing the Lord. .Nandi is the leader of bootha Ganas and the first and foremost servant of the Lord. He is the vehicle of the Lord and also figure in the flag of the Lord. According to mythology Nandi cools the coral hued Lord and emerald hued Mother who are majestically seated in the Golden swing set with nine gems in Holy Kailsh. All the other celestials stand around the Lord with folded hands and pray to the Lord and sing His praise. Though we could not see that with our naked eyes we could visualize that great darshan. We again and again thanked the Lord for the beautiful darshan as the weather was clear. On the following days also the weather was very clear, we now only understood that the previous day the Lord had just tested us whether we have the resolve to have the darshan of Him. We just stood at the foot of the Lord and prayed for the welfare of the whole humanity and thanked him profusely for being so much considerate to us for having selected us and brought us there and gave His darshan.
At the feet of the Lord we could see the prayer place of Tibetans. There is a big pole and and on all the sides flags are tied to form a cone like structure. Normally Buddhists fly these prayer flags at their place of worship there are five color flags white, red, green, blue and yellow representing the five elements of nature namely sky, water. Fire air and earth. As this mountain is considered holy by the native Tibetans according to their myth when they die they wish that some part of their body should be thrown on this mountain. Our guide told that once we climb the first guard mountain we can see bones lying at the feet of the Lord. According to Hindu mythology also Lord Shiva resides in crematoriums. Some of us collected the flags as souvenir as it is believed it will bring good luck. The 52 Km trek of Paikrama of Holy Kailash starts from here.
After the satisfactory darshan of the Lord, Mother, Ganesha and Nandi the parikrama on foot on the holy hills of Kailash starts from the Barkha Plains a flat barren stretch of land. The first day’s trek is to Deraphuk 20 Km from Darchen. We trek in the La-chu valley or the valley of the River of Gods. the Those who did the parikrama on foot started straight away , those of us who did the parikrama on pony waited for some time for the ponies to arrive. Though yaks are little cheaper, as ITBP authorities have advised us against using yaks for parikrama as many yaks are controlled by a single keeper some times accidents do happen when we travel on yaks. So we opted for ponies and luckily all of us got ponies. The charges for pony and porter was 1000 Yuans ( Rs 8000) for parikrama . The ponies were allotted to the yatris on lot basis. Their tribal leader controls the group. As language is a problem we communicated with them in sign language only.
Holy Kailash is pyramidal and symmetrical with four faces and a dome – shaped top peak rising above 2000 meters above the surrounding mountains is Lingam shaped with the eastern extension and stands desolately beautiful 13000 ft pleatue of rainbow coloured rocks. Kailash stands like a giant Shivalingam representing all the lingams in this Universe. The serenity and peace is overwhelming, time seems to stand still and reinforces our belief in supreme creator. This is definitely centre and birthplace of the entire Universe.
We traveled along the Lang Chu (Indus) river the land is fully barren and we traveled looking towards Mount Kailash along the holy path in which thousands of faithful have trekked thousands of years for salvation. The pilgrimage is truly cathartic and therapeutic. As one treads along the path of Parikrama (kora) one sheds a lot of negativity and confusion. The pilgrimage is an amalgamation and fusion of the physical, the aesthetic and spiritual worlds. The majestic beauty of Kailash–Manasarovar from every angle during the parikrama manifests in plain reverence, “viewed through the right eyes it gives a glimpse of infinity”. The Chinese government does not care for this place and we found the bones of animals lying allover the place. This first day’s trek is normally on a flat terrain .
What the yatris do is the outer parikrama, there is also a inner parikrama in which yatris circumambulate Nandi also. But only those who undertake yatra in the Chinese Horse year and who undertake yatra in the Kumbh Mela year are only allowed to do this inner Parikrama, The Mela is held every 12 years and last Kumbh Mela was held in 2002. Special permit is needed from Chinese authorities for undertaking the inner parikrama.
The guard mountains which surround holy Kailash are Ravan parvat, Hanuman parvat, Padma Sambava parvat, Manjushri Parvat, Vajrathara Parvat, Avalaokeshwara parvat Jambayang parvat and Shavari parvat. As all the celestials reside at Holy Kailash we should not set foot on that mountain so these guard mountains prevent anybody from approaching the Kailash as in between these mountains and Kailash there is a big gorge and from these glaciers only the rivers flow. Every step along the sacred route of Kailash–Manasarovar route is suffused with sacredness, emanating from every rock and blade of grass. We can feel the vibrations and the pilgrimage blends the worldly and the divine and we are forever changed. The immensity of the pilgrimage cannot be defined in words. It evokes mystical emotions which often lies too deep for human thoughts.
We trekked along always having the darshan of the holy mountain as we trekked in parallel to La Chu river. When we were doing the parikrama we felt that we have achieved the purpose for which we took this birth and thanked Shiv-Sakthi for this wonderful opportunity . The hymn of Thirunavukkarasar called Body Garland ( Anga Malai in Tamil) came to my mind in this hymn Appar extols that head is there only to bow and worship the Lord with skull garland, the eyes are there only to see Him, ears to listen to His glory, mind only to think about Him, hands are given to do service to Him, there is no use of the legs which are not used for circumambulation of the temple of the Lord. We felt happy that our legs are being used for the real purpose. The magnificent rock cliffs resemble many shapes they seemed to me that they represent the thousands of temples dotting our holy land. We also found many rocks have inscriptions of Buddhist mantras on them.