Kailash Manasa Sarovar Yatra - An Exciting Spiritual Experience

22nd Aug 2015

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!!!

Photo of Kailash Manasa Sarovar Yatra - An Exciting Spiritual Experience 1/4 by Shamasundar Shama
Shamasundar and Geetha on the banks of Manasa Sarovar after holy bath 
in the crystal clear lake, with the mount Kailash in the background. Gods 
ordained weather gods to be friendly with us.  it was pleasant and sunny 
through out the yatra with  6-8 C temperature, and mild winds!!! 
No clouds, no rains for all 5 days, which is quite common in this terrain.

Photo of Kailash Manasa Sarovar Yatra - An Exciting Spiritual Experience 2/4 by Shamasundar Shama
Photo of Kailash Manasa Sarovar Yatra - An Exciting Spiritual Experience 3/4 by Shamasundar Shama

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.
Overview of my Kailash Manasarovar Yatra.
Photo of Kailash Manasa Sarovar Yatra - An Exciting Spiritual Experience 4/4 by Shamasundar Shama
Kailash Yatra we took was by helicopter.  The route we went is Bangalore -> Kathmandu -> Nepalganj (not seen in this graphic) -> Simikot -> Hilsa -> Taklakot -> Darchen -> Choi Gompa (Manasa Sarovar) -> Derapuk -> Zuthul Puk -> Hilsa -> Kathmandu ->
From Bangalore, we arrived in Kathmandu  had darshan of Pashupatinat.  It is customary to take the blessings of pashupatinath.  People believe that touching the feet of Nandi in the temple, will prevent them from getting pain in the leg.!!!  We  went to Nepalganj a hot and humid town in Nepal for an overnight stay.   I had seen graphic images of devastation of the floods in Nepal just a few months back.  Surprisingly, not much of the flood effects were visible in Kathmandu or in Nepalganj.  May be the impact was in other tows and cities or in other parts than where we visited!!!
we start from the hotel early in the morning to take a chartered flight to Simikot, a small town (or a village) in the hilly areas of Nepal.  

To be continued..
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