A journey into the land of Gods

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lake Manasarovar - Part 4

21st June 2005: Paryang to Manasarovar

The mood early in the morning was somber and people talked less often than before. It was pretty difficult to get over the whole incident and digest the fact that uncle was no more.
We left for Manasarovar 250 kms away via Mayum La pass(Elevation - 5151m/ 16895 feet).

The route to Manasarovar(map courtesy: ecotrek.com)

The last stretch was a small climb after which we got our first view of the Majestic Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. It was the moment that we all were waiting for and was indeed a beautiful feeling. Prayer flags and Mani stones were placed (small area specially created) forming mounds as a mark of respect for the Holy Mountain and Lake. All vehicles reaching this point come to a halt only after circumnavigating the Prayer flags and Mani stones.

Prayer flags and Mani Stones

First view of Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar(pic courtesy: Prachee)

We waited there until all the 5 Land cruisers arrived (6th one had left for the border) and then headed closer to the lake. We pitched our tents on the banks, a good 500 meters away from the lake. I helped the guides in pitching the tents and got my muscles moving which had become stiff due to lack of activity.

Inside the tent

Later in the evening, I and my dad went to the lake and sprinkled some pure cold waters of Manasarovar praying for uncle’s soul to rest in peace.

We were standing right in front of the Lake facing the Sun i.e west. To the south was Gurla Mandata and to the north was Mount Kailash(Abode of Lord Shiva) and in between the 2 giants was the colossal Lake Manasarovar. Elevation- 4550m/14924 feet.

Map showing Mount Kailash,Lake Manasarovar, Rakshas Tal and Gurla Mandata (map courtesy: ecotrek.com)

Lake Manasarovar

Gurla Mandata soaring over 7728m /25348 feet was spectacular and it was beginning to turn golden as the Sun began to set. While the 6714m/22022 feet Mount Kailash looked equally stunning. The lake or should I say sea, with small waves lashing the sand at our feet displayed various hues as one looked farther and farther away towards the horizon. Even the sky developed remarkable patterns with astonishingly beautiful colours leaving us flabbergasted. 4th time beat skipped :)

Gurla Mandata, Lake Manasrovar and Mount Kailash(pic courtesy:Prachee)

We turned around to see the Moon rise from east. Poornima-Full moon it was, that day. It started getting really cold and we returned back to our camp to have dinner.
That night, many ladies opted to stay out of their tents as they wanted to catch hold of a rare spectacle- the shooting star and they were fortunate to see one. I missed it :(

22nd June 2005: Rest Day at Lake Manasarovar

I wanted to see the Sun rise but unfortunately I couldn’t get up that early.

Sunrise (pic courtesy: Prachee, 2006 Yatra)

Bed tea was served and out I came from the tent. Brrrr….it was cold. I went into the kitchen tent to have some hot water and saw the cooks preparing breakfast for us. Those men were really terrific.

Campsite, Manasarovar

It was rest day at Manasarovar so that we could take the holy dip and perfom Pooja. Meanwhile, we also waited for our guide to return from the border. And late in the afternoon, they arrived. Seemingly stressed out and tired, I asked him, “how are u?” He gave me a smile and said, “don’t worry, I am alright.”

It was now time to dive into the cold waters of the Lake. Basant(guide) said that we should have taken bath early in the morning when the water was less cold. As the day progresses the melt snow enters the lake making the water colder. I got a serious chill down my spine right there.

But nothing could be done now. I was the first to enter the lake while my dad kept shooting. The water was pretty ok when I first stepped into it and it was pretty shallow too. I had to immerse myself completely and there wasn’t sufficient water to do so. I walked deep inside the lake till I felt that the depth sufficed. I took 2 dips successfully and just couldn’t complete the 3rd one properly. I could sense my body temperature coming down drastically. I came out of the lake quickly and had myself covered in a towel for a few minutes. But naturally, I had goose bumps all over my body.

I then took over the camera and it was dad’s turn to take a dip. He managed to take 3 dips but none got him completely immersed…haha…at least I was better off on that front.

In the evening we performed Pooja sitting close to the lake facing Mount Kailash. Mount Kailash- The Abode of Lord Shiva-The Center of the World. The unruffled ambience evoked immense spirituality leading to ecstasy of salvation. It was an amazing feeling!

Pooja on the banks of Lake Manasarovar

Sunset was magnificent that evening. Nothing can beat high altitude Sunsets and Sunrises. Look at the first pic below. The peak peeping is Mount Kailash.

That day was Mr.Naik’s birthday. A pleasant surprise was waiting for us. We saw a big cake and a big pizza on the table inside the kitchen tent that night. Hats off to the cooks. They even managed to prepare a dessert in the cold desert :)

23rd June 2005: To Darchen after Parikrama of Lake Manasarovar

Overnight change in weather caused frost to settle on our tents. The sunny and bright sky then, looked dull and gloomy now. It was overcast and peaks were shrouded in clouds.

We began circumambulating Lake Manasarovar on our cruisers and headed towards Darchen (30 kms from Manasarovar, Elevation- 4560m/14957 feet) which is the base camp of Mount Kailash. En route we saw Trugu Gompa, Rakshas Tal and Chiu Gompa.

There’s a small tract which goes uphill from where one can view both the lakes simultaneously. To the west of Manasarovar lies Rakshas Lake-the demon lake or Lake of Ravana. It is believed that even birds and animals don’t drink water from Rakshas Tal. Nevertheless, it looked beautiful and at that point of time it was much bluer than Lake Manasarovar.

Rakshas Lake

We then headed towards Chiu Gompa located on a hilltop. The climb was tough.

Lake Manasarovar from Chiu Gompa

It took around 4 hours to complete the circumambulation of 100 kms which is the circumference of Lake Manasarovar. Now we were getting closer to Darchen.

Approaching Darchen, Mount Kailash view

We lost some time tackling a small stream in which we were stuck for 15 mins. Like all cruisers, our cruiser too entered the stream but like all cruisers, our cruiser didn’t make its way out. We were stuck right in the middle of the stream.

Saachi (driver) opened the door. Without putting his feet in water, he made his way onto the bonnet, then stood on the mudguard, opened the bonnet, repaired the fault and came back inside the car the same way. Mind u, he had still not put his feet in water. Key turned, car started and we were out of the stream. Mi-nd-Bo-gg-li-ng stuff!

Another cruiser broke down some kms before Darchen. It then had to be towed. We reached Darchen by 3 pm and stayed in guest houses.

View of Gurla Mandata from Darchen

There were quite a few shops in Darchen. Dad bought himself a stick for the trek, a torch and a monkey cap. It was really very cold there.
The weather was still really bad and it looked like it might start snowing any moment. We prayed for a bright sunny next day as we hit our beds.

Click here to go to Part 5

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Blogger Saibal Barman said...

Nice! You're too fortunate to have experienced the Heavenly bliss at so early age !
Great snaps too !

September 13, 2007 at 10:52 PM

Blogger Divya said...

Thanks once again after reading about Mansarovar n now looking at the pics it feels so good.
keep up the good work.
long way to go for you.

September 14, 2007 at 10:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful Blog... keep going..

June 29, 2009 at 9:30 AM

Anonymous prachi said...

hey the pics are really awesome!!!!!! you are very fortunate to visit such places.. and i liked the way you discribed the tour... keep up!!!!!

July 16, 2009 at 8:48 AM

Anonymous Savaari said...

Wow, great collection. I like the pics very much.

November 24, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anand, you did a great job making this blog and telling so beautifully about your trip to Mt.Kailash! I am planning to go there this June, and would like to ask a bit unusual question. Will I be endangered by fleas and lice?

December 28, 2010 at 6:59 AM

Blogger Ritesh Shah said...

Hi Anand

My name is Ritesh Shah and I reside in USA. I am an avid backpacker and wanted to go Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar.

Can you give me a few pointers on how to go about planning for the hike?


April 12, 2011 at 1:02 PM

Blogger Lakshmi said...

I want to send me 12 year old son from USA along with my Dad. is it advisable for 12 year old?

May 9, 2011 at 11:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We r going next month. Mugdha

July 16, 2011 at 4:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

AWESOME travelogue! so want to go to this blissful place..

July 30, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Anonymous Navin Dhoundiyal said...

Very Good Work

December 21, 2011 at 4:58 AM

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Blogger Krishnamohan vaddadi venkata said...

It is a nice writeup. I Congratulate Anand for returning safely.All are not that Lucky. My Daughter went on Manasarovar trip along with husband and in laws and her ashes were only returned.This happened pn 07/06/2012. She has no health issues and earlier gone on a tour to Colorodo also. I was told that while crossing Dolmala pass during the Parikrama on second day, She complained of breathlessness, fainted and could not be revived. I don't know whether the guide/Sherpas are suffciently trained to handle such critical Cases and the bottom line is I lost my dearest Daughter. So readers please beware and ready to face any circumustances during this kind of trips.

January 14, 2013 at 11:12 PM

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really nice blog...about Manasarovar...and thanks for sharing the useful info and pictures

May 5, 2013 at 12:13 PM

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