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A Trip to Kailash, Mansarover
2004-10-27

Kalyan Raj Sharma

It was a dream. And few months ago the dream came true, when I visited Mansarover where most of the Hindus always wish to visit once in their lifetime. By the Grace of God, few months ago I got an opportunity to join a group of 25 pilgrims mostly Indians. It is believed that only after the God’s permission we could enter those holy places, which now I think is very true.

A travel agency based on Kathmandu organized the journey and for a month various programmes were held to be familiar with the climate and other regional change we could face there. And I was thinking that it was the Lord’s blessings to visit the shrine. Very few get such an opportunity.

We began the 900 km long journey in a luxury tourist bus. At Kodari, Nepal-China border we halted for an hour to complete our visa procedure. As Tibet is an autonomous region of China, we needed special permit to get there.

After our immigration formalities were over, we shifted our belongings from buses to the land cruisers waiting on the Chinese side. Our Tibetan guide and lorry were also waiting for us.

A couple of hours later we crossed the Friendship Bridge and reached the Tibeten area, a town called Zhangmu (Khasa), where most of the Nepali businessmen go for shopping. We headed towards Liping, which was the first village we came across.

From that day the journey was on land cruisers. That evening we reached a hotel in Nyalam. The journey was quite scenic and impressing as we passed through various water falls, thundering stream from hundred feet down hill as well as tiny waterfalls above the road.

Nyalam was already more than 3750 feet above sea level and our target was around 4800 meters. In Nyalam our travel leader decided to halt for a day for acclimatization and we had a short walk. Next day early in the morning we trekked a little and our body felt some comfort.

In the few shops of this small village, pilgrims bought necessary things. The most interesting thing was that even in that small village, dance club and restaurants with Nepali food were available.

From there we began our 15 day long journey. On the way we could see Himalayan range in southern part. We passed through one valley after another, bigger than Kathmandu and looked like desert with very little vegetation.

Till hundreds of kilometers one could hardly see any inhabitants and only in some places few Tibetans and tents of Nomads were seen. We could feel the cold mountain air as we were in high altitude.

When we started our journey from Kathmandu, the capital of the temples and the Kingdom of Lord Pashupatinath, the mind was full of thankfulness and enthusiasm for the most attractive days ahead. And throughout the journey philosophical ideas were shared and devotees also chanted vedic mantras.

We had to cross Brahmaputra river with the help of boats before 6 pm. With the Grace of God we managed to cross it in time and reached the camp Saga. Till this point telephone facilities were available. Now we were at 4800 meter above sea level and the breathing could be a bit difficult.

Next day on our fourth day tour we started off to the next camp, Paryang and the journey was alongside river Brahmaputra. For the first hundred kilometers road was comparatively good.

Travelling 200-km everyday, on the fifth day we were told that we would get first darsan of Mount Kailash. It created a great zeal and enthusiasm, when the Tibetan driver started shouting, Khang Rimpoche, Tso Mapa’ (Kailash, Manasarovar is approaching).

I was thrilled at the sight of the Great Holy Lake Mansarovar. That day we stayed in the Tsu Gompa camp on the bank of Manasarovar. Then next morning we went on for the parikrama , circumambulating of the lake Mansarovar.

We prayed to the Lord on the Holy feet and from there visited the Tibetan monastery and continued towards a hot spring called Tsu Gompa that lies just below the Gurla Mandap Mountain. According to a myth, Goddess Parbati used to keep her jewelry there.

And on the way to the left was another huge lake called Raaxastal. It is believed that Ravana, king of the demons created this lake, when he failed to lift up the Holy Mount Kailash.

Both the Hindus and the Tibetan Buddhists consider the Mansarovar as holy shrine and the Raaxastal Lake is not considered good. From there we headed toward the Kailash base camp Tarchen.

Just after reaching to Tsu Gompa all the pilgrims went to take holy bath. Then they prepared themselves for the homa. Our cook made food and some prepared prasadi for the puja.

Mount Kailash is 6714 meters above sea level. It is believed to be the center of the world of Buddhism where founder of Buddhism Shakyamuni Buddha used to be perform Buddhist rites. Hindus believe that Lord Shiva resides in Mount Kailash.

In Tibetan Buddhism the holy lake is also called mother of all rivers. Karnali and Brahamaputra rivers have their sources in this holy lake. It is 4588 meters from sea level and covers 412 square kms and is as deep as 70 meters.

Staying two days on the banks of Mansarovar with lots of wonderful memories of the place we returned with much delight. On the way back we could see the clear view of Ashtaparvatas and a mountain right in front of Kailash resembling the Nandi, carrier of Lord Shiva.

We were back from Tarchen in the early morning and headed to Kathmandu. Within next three days we were back.

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