For Hindus Kailas Parvat (Mt Kailash) and Manasa Sarovar represent the epitome of sacred yatra, the ultimate of pilgrimage. We Hindus believe Lord Siva abodes in the peak of Kailash and gods are in the vicinity of Manasa Sarovar Lake. I narrate my experience and some practical tips for those who want to do this yatra. This is a spiritual yatra, a significantly tough mountain trek. The difficult terrains, low oxygen levels, uncertain weather, chilly winds, and low temperatures make this a a challenging trip. Add to this the unfriendly, non-cooperative and rude behavior of Chinese authorities (and many people at large!!!) make the trip more complicated. At the end of the day, it is worth all that!!!
Before you start:
Kailash trek calls for fitness from 3 points of view
- Physical fitness - Stamina to walk, climb is needed. Few months of brisk walking / jogging practice will help. Ability of the lungs to work in low oxygen environment is important. Practice of Pranayama and slow breathing exercises are very useful. Those practicing pranayama should take care of the stay in natural kumbhaka state.
- NOTE: I have seen many who are not normally fit, but are very devout, and pious easily do this trek without any problem. My uncle who had asthma, did the complete parikrama by trekking, when he was 72+ years. In our batch, one person who in around 70 years, did the full parikrama by trekking. There were many people including ladies who were in their mid to late 60s, who did the yatra quite successfully.
- So the lesson I see is, if you are motivated you can do it!!
- Financial readiness- This is not a typical pilgrimage like any other Yatra. It is expensive. Many times, tour organisers, will not mention the hidden costs. For example, if you plan to take a porter or a pony for the trek, the costs are extra. In our batch, we were asked to buy the walking sticks also extra on our own, while it was announced that it would be a part of the kit provided. For me it costed around Rs 220,000/- (about US $ 3450/) from Bangalore in August 2015.
- Time availability: This is an important aspect to be kept in mind. It can be different for different routes. By helicopter, there are options starting from 5 days. Different land routes can take from 18 to 22 days. Understand the route you take and the time that it takes. More importantly, while planning for the Yatra, keep adequate allowance for the rest after the return. Depending on your body condition, you will need some time to relax and come back to normal working.
To be continued..