December 30, 2010
Trip to Mansarovar and Mt Kailash was on our mind for last several years. This year, all stars were in line and we were able to make this trip with a great success. We were lucky that we had very good company of fellow Yatris for this trip. We were also lucky regarding selection of Himalayan Glacier Trekking Company. They did a fabulous job managing our trip and Lina Patel did a great job organizing our group.
Our trip began in Kathmandu. Kathmandu valley has three major cities. Kathmandu Bhaktapur and Patan. They all have very beautiful temples and durbar square. Great Stupa at Budhnath is worth mentioning. We had a chance to do Puja at holy temple of Pashupatinath .
It took us about 5 days to reach Mansarovar. This was a very difficult journey due to poor road condition and numerous land slides. Walking over landslides, some of them active land slide and traveling in trucks between land slides was in itself experience of a life time. We think Mansarovar is really out of this world. It is difficult to describe the beauty. It is surrounded by snow covered peaks. You can see Mt Kailash clearly from here. We had very quick bath (dubki) in freezing water of Mansarovar. Staying in tents at the edge of water had its own charm.
Next we started Mt Kailash Parikrama..In Buddhist religion also this is considered very important. They call it Cora. We were lucky enough to be able to walk about 32 miles in 3 days. Second day of Parikrama is the most difficult part. We started about 6AM and reached Dolma La Pass at 19500 ft around noon. We think being so close to Mt Kailash is worth all the hardships of this journey. Immediately after Dolma La Pass beautiful Gauri Kund is visible. Sheer ruggedness of this area is amazing. Going down from Dolma La Pass we walked through falling snow initially and rain later. We were very happy to see our SUVs at the end of our 3 days grueling journey.
This has been an experience of a lifetime. We were lucky that we were able to complete this journey. We met another group of Yatris on our way, who had to turn back from middle of Parikrama due to poor weather condition. For us this was a Pilgrimage and a trekking adventure, which we are very glad that we undertook.
Rakshika and Kashyap Thakor
Santa Rosa, California
June 23, 2009
The famous Hindu pilgrimage site- Mansarovar Lake in Kailash lies at 4,556 meter (14947.5 ft) above sea level and is located in Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Substantial number of pilgrims from India and other nationals visit there via Nepal route and prolonged high altitude journey via Tibet. From that perspective, Kathmandu has been established as a gateway to Mansarovar-Kailash area. Majority of the travelers are oriented about the arduous journey that they have to pass through, but few of them face sheer difficulty due to their age, health and acclimatization problem.
Highest place to cross while circumambulating Kailash Mountain is Drolma La Pass which is 5,636m. Since people are prone to altitude sickness above 3000 m, it’s necessary to take precaution to avoid unfateful event while travelling. It has been reported that the death of six Indian pilgrims in Kailash Mansarovar recently in Tibet is clearly due to altitude sickness, not because of starvation. In the past, many people died in this area because of the altitude reason, more than with any other causes.
Major entry points of Kailash Mansarovar are Kodari and Hilsa in Nepalese side. However, Kodari is the only entry point that has been linked with Kailash by motorable road. Distance between Kodari and Kailash is approximately 800 km and it takes minimum five days to reach there from Kodari.
Acclimation is considered as the best and most effective precaution to avoid such sad situation. Apparently traveling to Kailash from Nepal side has become popular due to its natural landscape which is suitable for gradual acclimatization. Therefore, it is highly recommended to spend a few days in Nepalese pilgrimage sites like Muktinath and Gosaikunda situated in higher altitude before proceeding to Kailash in Tibet.