My Spiritual Quest

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.


sivBeyond Mansarovar only few pilgrims were found fit to trek after mandatory medical check up. I was one of the few trekkers granted permit.

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.

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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.

Charan Sparsh Mt Kailash

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.

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64 Comments

  1. I would do it because of the superb views! I love your pictures, have heard so much about this place but have never given it a serious enough thought to visit. Great post!

  2. What a nice article of yours! 18.000 feet is seriously a good altitude, I climbed Annapurna Basecamp and already struggled with altitude sickness! Keep it up!

  3. These quests do mean different things to different people. They’re very personal and offer whatever enlightenment you seek if the journey is embraced. Glad you were above to get beyond Charan Sparsh and keep moving. I hope you got the experience you were looking for on your spiritual journey.

  4. Thank you for sharing this is really interesting. I hope you found what you were looking for, you’ve definitely passed on your inspiration here to us. Good for you and not turning back 🙂

  5. Was it hard to do it on your own? It’s really inspiring – I don’t know if I would dare to do it!! Your pictures (and the video) are great. I’m glad you had a nice weather. Keep up your quest!

    • Yes hard because weather was not good earlier and permission was cancelled to go beyond for security reasons. So hardest part was to get permission for solo.

  6. Beautiful pictures Indu. I guess a journey is different for every person 🙂 For me, I’d probably just climb a mountain because “it is there” 😀

  7. Such and awe inspiring experience Indu! Being Hindu as well, I admire your courage to take on this journey and I’m sure it was amazing! Your pictures of Mt. Kailash are beautiful!

  8. What a great pictures, and I believe we should be more present emotionally and spiritually when traveling and that’s what u did enjoyed reading your blog:) keep writing:) thanks for sharing

  9. I have heard of the magnificence of Mt Kailash. It is bound in so much myth, legend and spirituality. Besides being forbidden to climb for ethical purposes, is it also because it actually impossible to climb the mountain itself?

  10. My parents are just back after their pilgrimage to Mt. Kailash and they haven’t stopped praising the beauty of the place ever since they have returned. I m impressed so much so that I m planning to do the trek next year. It was good to read your experience during the trek.

  11. Honestly we have been seriously thinking about Mansarovar lately
    We plan on doing it in the coming years, soon. This is inspiring. Loved the pictures , nothing can come close to experiencing Mansarovar in flesh. It’s a courageous journey and totally worth it.

  12. What a beautiful experience you’ve had. It’s great that you didn’t give up and continued further until you’ve reached the final destination. I hope you managed to find what you were looking for by climbing this mountains.

  13. The views are definitely out of this world and worth every step of the trek. Good for you for not giving up and pushing through! Fun video/slideshow too!

  14. i totally know how altitude can be difficult to navigate! I never knew a mount could be off limits. The context behind it makes sense though and it’s nice to know the story behind what it means to walk around the circumference of it.

  15. I’m so inspired by your travels. This is destination I only dream of… Omg you have visited here too. I read the post and really enjoyed. Thank you for inspiring other travelers. ✌️✒️

  16. Great pictures. I am glad you were able to make this spiritual journey. It seems like you’re having a grand adventure with your travels. I love long hike and I have always use it as my moving meditation practice too. But, I am not very good at hiking up mountains 🙂

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