As believed in Hindu religion, Mt Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva. Shiva sits there in a state of perpetual meditation.
For Buddists, Mt Kailash is the center of Universe and it represents supreme bliss.
It is believed that circumambulating 32 miles long path around Mt Kailash will bring good fortune. But setting foot on its slopes is a sin and that is the reason climbing Mt Kailash is not permitted, only circumambulation is permitted.
Usually, journey to last lap of Mt Kailash starts from Darchen but in my time starting point remained Mansarovar, due to the shortage of accommodation at Darchen. In Tibet, there is acute shortage of accommodation for Kailash Mansarovar travelers. Everywhere, I had to share room with 3-4 fellow travelers.
All travelers went upto Yam Dwar to catch a glimpse of the north face of Mt Kailash. Yam Dwar is also the entry point to circumambulation (parikarma) of Mt Kailash.
The travelers, who were shortlisted and permitted for the trek, went ahead and rest of the travelers were driven back to Darchen.
For the last five days I had been getting reports of weather being rough and travelers not granted permission to trek. I was constantly praying, almighty, for not letting that happen to me. I had to touch Mt Kailash. I energized myself to counter any challenge coming my way.
Many of my fellow travelers hired ponies to give them ride. All eatables, ration and water cans were loaded on yaks. Oxygen cylinders were also taken along and unwell travelers were immediately treated on the way.
By night, everyone reached Dirapuk without any major hurdle. All were served hot masala tea with popcorns and other light snacks followed by khichdi (a meal cooked by mixing rice and lentil ) in dinner.
At night, I got the news that groups will not be allowed to go beyond Dirapuk. I was heartbroken and decided if going through routine route was not possible then I will do solo trek in higher reaches, towards Charan Sparash and beyond. Charan Sparsh, literally, means touching feet of Shiva at the base of Mt Kailash.
Best view of north face of Mt Kailash was visible from Dirapuk. Next day, everyone was awake before dawn and went up a hill to witness golden hue of sunrise shining over Mt Kailash. I took my camera along. Sky was partially overcast and I was hoping that clouds do not obstruct the sunrise view. At the nick of time sky got clear and I had a perfect view of sunrise encircling Mt Kailash.
Golden view was so captivating that I just knelt down and gazed at Golden Shiva as if I was in a trance. Moments later I realized, I need to capture those precious images in my camera so that I can treasure them for life.
After breakfast served, everybody was getting ready to return. Now, it was time for me to convince my guide Babu to let me trek to higher reaches of Charan Sparsh. When I saw Babu getting reluctant, I strongly told him that I need to go, moreover, I had given him my signed life bond so he should not worry so much. Then he relented and told me that he, absolutely, believed my capabilities as he had been observing in earlier treks. He explained to me the exact route of ascend and descend so that he can get me traced and rescued in case something goes wrong.
My spiritual quest continues…..