Journey to Kailash Mansarovar has different meaning to different travelers. For devout Hindus and Buddhists this journey is the ultimate pilgrimage of lifetime. For me, this was a spiritual quest.
At an elevation of 21,778 ft holy Mt Kailash, in Tibet, is the eternal abode of God Shiva, the creator of the universe, as per Hindu mythology
For Buddhists, too, Mt Kailash is equally sacred and worshipped as the pivot of the universe.
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. Religiously this is known as parikarma by Hindus and kora by Budhists.
Trek to Mt Kailash takes place at sacred Mansarovar lake which is claimed to be the highest freshwater lake in the world at an elevation of more than 15,000 ft. Lake Manasarovar is personification of purity. It is believed one who drinks holy water from the lake will be cleansed of all sins.
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. Best view of Mt Kailash was visible from Dirapuk at sunrise. That day I woke up before dawn. Sky was partially overcast. I was hoping that clouds do not obstruct the sunrise view. At the nick of time 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.
At night, I got the news that pilgrims and trekkers will not be allowed to go beyond Dirapuk due to unfavorable weather. 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.
Next morning everybody was getting ready to return. Now I had to convince my guide Lamababu to let me trek to higher reaches of Charan Sparsh. He was reluctant to let me trek solo as it was not possible for him to come along. He had to be with other pilgrims. 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 in my capabilities as he had been observing me in earlier treks. He explained to me the exact route of ascend and descend so that he can trace me in case something goes wrong.
My solo Trek to Charan Sparsh and beyond was extremely challenging. There was no defined path, just the rolling stones scattered everywhere. I had to balance my each step with caution or, else, I would fall down in deep gorge. It was so tricky that at one point I even thought of giving up on ascending further. Undecided, I stopped, took a deep breath, surrendered to Shiva and recharged myself with the thought that I was on the path to enlightenment so I have to keep moving.
And that blessed moment arrived. I was face to face with Kailash Shiva, touching feet and embracing God. This was not my imagination anymore. Felt like being an inseparable part of Kailash Shiva. I meditated for sometime, wanted to stay long but realized my guide will get worried for my safety. I looked at Shiva with teary eyes and left.
This post is the summery version of my series on Kailash Mansarovar which comprises details on my spiritual journey.
Sharing few glimpses of my Kailash Mansarovar journey in this short video.