Trek to Kailash Mansarovar (India & Nepal Routes)
Kailash Mansarovar is located on the magnificent and treeless Barkha Plain in Tibet and is one of the holiest pilgrimages known to mankind.
Mansarovar Lake and Mt. Kailash are probably the holiest places in the world and also the hardest pilgrimages. Several legends and mysticism abound the Kailash Mansarovar region. Mt. Kailash is said to be the eternal abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Hindu mythology says that Mount Meru is the center of the world and many believe that Mt. kailash is the physical form of Mount Meru. The Vishnu Purana clearly mentions Ganga coming out of Meru's summit and then dividing into four mighty rivers. At Kailash Mansarovar, we see that it gives birth to four great rivers: Brahmaputra, Indus, Sutlej and Karnali.
Lake Mansarovar itself is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma. It is said that divine beings descend from the heavens at night to take a holy dip in the Mansarovar Lake. A single dip is said to wash away a lifetime of sins and wrongdoings. Mt. Kailash is 22,027 ft high and is unique in the fact that a parikrama around the mountain is possible. It's said that those who can complete the parikrama get free from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Gaurki Kund, highest freshwater lake in the world at 18,536 ft, lies just above Dolma La, which is the highest point in the Kailash Parikrama. Gaurki Kund is said to be the place where Goddess Parvati came for her bath and its waters are said to bring fertility to women.
The Indian Route
The Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India, organizes the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. The 26-day round trip from Delhi is held between June and September every year. The route involves a gradual acclimatization of the Tibet weather and goes past the Indian Himalayas to the Lipu Lekh Pass on the Indo-Tibet border. On the way, you pass through the sacred sites of Om Parvat, Bhimtal, Almora, Jageshwar and Pataal Bhuvaneshwar. Return trek is across Uttarakhand. A Liaison Officer, two doctors and a lot of support from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police makes the Yatra a lot simpler.
On the Indian side, it's 629 Km from Delhi to Dharchula in Uttarakhand. Then take a pony or trek 65 Km to the Tibetan side. From here, it's 162 Km by bus to Darchen. Kailash Parikrama is 53 Km, which is completed by bus and by trek. Mansarovar Parikrama is 95 Km by bus, but can be completed on foot as well. Total duration for the entire trip is 26 days.
Route from Delhi:
NH24 to Rampur via Hapur and Moradabad. Then take NH87 to Haldwani/Kathgodam. Follow state highways to Mangti via Bhimtal, Bhowali, Garampani, Almora, Dharchula and Tawa Ghat. Tawa Ghat is 280 Km from Kathgodam. Take a pny ride/trek to Lipu Leh Pass via Gala, Budhi, Gunji, Kalapani and Navidhang. The final route involves going by road on the Tibetan side to Kailash-Mansarovar.
MEA, Govt of India, publishes advertisements for applications in all major newspapers in mid-Jan to mid-Feb. It could also be seen at meaindia.nic.in.
The Nepal Route
Nepal offers several different routes to reach Mt Kailash and Masarovar Lake. The Nepal route is generally accomplished in 25 days time. However, this route is not regulated by Indian Govt and can lead to unscrupulous tour operators taking advantage. Some tour operators promise to complete the entire yatra in just 12-14 days and in the process, yatris generally fall sick. So prepare yourself accordingly, take good care of your warm clothing needs, and exercise regularly before embarking on the pilgrimage.
The Nepal route options are:
1. By road from Nepal via Kodari
2. By air to Lhasa and then by road
3. By air to Simikot, via Kathmandu and Nepalgunj and then:
- Trekking to the border at Hilsa near Taklakot and then by road to the Barkha Plain.
- By helicopter to Hilsa near Taklakot and then by road to the Barkha Plain.
Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra 2012 will begin on 29th May and end on 26th Sep 2012. A total of 16 batches will be sent with each batch having a duration of 27 days and a total of 60 pilgrims. Deadline for online application is 5th March 2012 and deadline for filing paper application is 12th March 2012.