Lifetime dream: visit to Mt. Kailash


Lifetime dream: visit to Mt. Kailash
Lifetime dream: visit to Mt. Kailash
By Divakar Rudrapatna
Om Shambhave Namah
Namaste astu bhagavan vishveshvaraya, mahadevaya, tryambakaya,
tripurantakaya, trikagni kalaya, kalagnirudraya, nilakanthaya, mrutyunjayaya,
sarveshvaraya, Sadashivaya, shriman mahadevaya namah.
Hello would be visitors to Mt. Kailash,
I am really blessed to share my experience of Divya Darshan of Kaliasapathi along with
my family. It is indeed my lifetime dream come true. I never expected that I would be
visiting Mt. Kailash, along with my wife Radhika, Prerana and Srikesh (children), so
early in my life! Now I feel much younger than before, after trekking 57 Km in and
around Mt. Kailash. We all have heard this “Keep thinking positive, do not stop
dreaming, focus on your goal, have faith, you will succeed in achieving what you want,
etc.” Some of us know how the law of attraction has worked in our life. In simple words,
it is a belief that "like attracts like" and that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts,
one can bring about positive or negative results. In my case, this was true. In the year
2012, two of my most important dreams came true! Thanks to almighty. I wanted my
daughter to pursue Medical Studies after her undergraduate studies and before that I
wanted to visit Mt. Kailash along with my family. Friends, now the story begins, my
story, which might motivate you to visit Mt. Kailash. I swear, I cannot express the
positive experience one goes through after taking a holy bath, in the sacred lake “Manas
Sarovar” and viewing “Mt. Kailash.” This spiritual, life changing experience is not just
for Hindus, Jains or Buddhists. It is for all-Homosapiens! There are no temples, priests or
devotees crowding around Mt. Kailash! Those who seek divine peace, quiet place away
from the modern busy life should visit at least once to these places in Tibet. Hindu
puranas and other religious texts speak about this holy place on earth. Thus, this
destination is popular. Lots of people from around the world, who do not practice any
religion also visit Mt. Kailash and enjoy the bliss!
It all began on September 24, 2011. Myself & Radhika were in Brampton-Canada at
Ganapathi Sacchidananda temple for “Trimurti’ Retreat” a day of Yoga, Meditation &
Music for Inner Healing under the guidance of the renowned meditation leader Sri Datta
Yogi Raja, who happens to be our Veda Paata Guru Sri. Raghu Ranganathan’s cousin.
During this spiritual exercise & Rudra Abhishekam (performed by Raghuji) we heard the
wonderful Mt. Kailash visit / experience of Raghuji’s family. At that time I was in the
front, chanting and thought for a second “GOD, I wish I can visit Mt. Kailash very soon
and hope this can be our 25th wedding anniversary trip”. Coincidentally Radhika too
thought of visiting Mt. Kailash sometime in 2012 as a family trip instead of going on an
Alaskan Cruise. On our return from the retreat, Radhika asked me “Why shouldn’t we go
to Mt. Kailash trip? Immediately my face lit up and with a joy I said “What a coincidence
Radhika, I was thinking the same. For our first wedding anniversary in 1988 we went to
Badri / Kedar and now for 25th why not Manas Sarovar / Mt. Kailash”. Thus, we both
decided to plan a trip and informed our kids. To our surprise they right away agreed to
join us without any hesitation. The budget for this spiritual trip would be more than
Alaska Cruise for sure and we thought it is worth spending now (physically we are fit
now!) than later! The search began! We gathered as much information as we can from
those who had visited Mt. Kailash from India and USA. Contacted quite a few travel
agents but nothing materialized! No one was confirming our status, booking or schedule!
It was hard for us to block dates, book air tickets and apply for vacation with out
confirmed dates! Anxiety increased as the days passed. We thought by Shivaratri 2012
we would know something, but that did not happen. We waited, contacted a couple of
travel agents in USA, India and Nepal. No progress at all. In the meantime there was a
political disturbance in Nepal & Tibet. (Those groups, who were confirmed with all
necessary documents, couldn’t continue Mt. Kailash Trip beyond Kathmandu-Nepal.
They all lost an opportunity / money & peace of mind.) A couple of supporters of Tibet
Cause from Europe committed suicide, disturbed the local peace and forced China Govt.,
to cancel “Permits to Tibet”. We need both Permit and China VISA for Mt. Kailash Trip.
We started getting worried because 2012 was the best year for us (As Prerana & Srikesh
were go away for MD program and Kinesiology B.Sc., respectively.) to go on Kailash
Trip as a family. Last week of May 2012 Indira Desikanji agreed to perform / help us
chant 24 hours Non-stop Hanuman Chalisa. We chanted for 24 Hours with the help of
friends at our residence on
June 16, 2012. (Same night I had received an email from one of my contacts-Tibet Tour
Operator responsible for Permits to all yatris to Mt. Kailash, asking me to send passport
details ASAP.) After chanting for 24 hours we were so busy with housework, that I
couldn’t check my emails. I had given a different email ID for Kailash trip purpose and I
had lost hope as we hardly had 20 more days to travel! Our vacation leave was confirmed
and decided to go to Alaska or Sydney / New Zealand trip. By the time I saw the email
from Tibet Tour Operator it was too late! In the mean time I had almost arranged travel
plans to Sydney-Australia. On June 25th I called Kathmandu Tour Operator and
requested him. He agreed to try one last time and asked me to send in 5 Passport Details
of Kailash Trip Group. We faced another obstacle! We are just 4 and the rule is minimum
of 5 from each Country or a group. Right away I requested Upa Guptha to join us in the
trip and apply for permits. As Upa, was going away to India due to family emergency, he
was not sure of joining us to the trip. However he obliged by sending me his passport and
I applied for our permits including Upa. (Just in case if he can join us around July 10,
2012 otherwise I would loose Permit / Visa fees, which was okay with me.) In the
meantime we were praying everyday and I was confident that I would make it. I used to
imagine the surroundings of Mt. Kailash, dreamt-walking around and prayed every day to
Lord Shiva and Hanuman. My travel agent tried his best. I was on phone, speaking to
Kathmandu Travel Agent almost every day (not to forget the time difference!) Since I did
not hear from Nepal, I decided to pay Toronto Travel Agent for Sydney-Australia Trip. I
decided to inform my decision to Nepal Agent and called him around 11.30 A.M.
Toronto Time on June 27th. (While I was dialing I was hoping that Lord Shiva /
Hanuman would do some miracle.) The moment I said “Hello...” I heard the Voice
“Divakar Sir, Good News, I just spoke to Tibet Office and I am told that your group
has been issued permit-just for Mt. Kailash and not for Lhasa.” Oh my GOD just
imagine the joy, I had. Had I not called him then I would have lost either money or an
opportunity to visit Mt. Kailash. (I would not have got refund from local travel agent for
Sydney trip, as it would have been last minute cancellation!) I sent an email to Upa
giving my contact details in Kathmandu-Nepal, just in case he decides to join us! Booked
4 tickets to Toronto-Kathmandu-Toronto. Paid quite a lot! Last minute booking, made us
to travel via Qatar-more than 36 hours journey. We got our tickets confirmed for July 6,
2012. Finally by God’s grace we finalized 3 weeks program. One more step closer to my
Lifetime Dream!
Our actual journey began to Mt. Kailash on July 12th-by a bus almost 7 hours drive to the
border (heavy traffic jam-Kathmandu is growing every day and lots of two wheeler /
heavy trucks.) We stayed overnight at Tatopani (nice hot water for a nominal price to
bathe). After breakfast on July 13th we crossed the border-special line for foreign
nationals! We were assigned to V8 Toyota Land Cruiser (Max. 5 per car + a driver) and
one of the Sherpas accompanied us. It was 5 in the evening & raining by the time we
reached Nyalam (3800 meters above sea level!) and got into our room. Facilities are like
lodges in and around Mysore district lodges of 1970’s! Common bathroom. Weather wise
it was okay for us-Canadians!
On July 14th we were given two mugs of hot water each to brush / clean / etc. After
breakfast we climbed a small hill just behind our guesthouse. The trek took almost 4
hours! It was like a mini Kailash climbing! (Rough rocky climb.) Nyalam is very small
town. No one speaks any language other than Chinese / Tibetan-including a Pharmacist.
We had a very tough time to communicate with the local Pharmacist. We somehow
missed to pack anti-diarrhea medication! We were not used to the food type (every day
Popcorn / Tomato Soup, Puris / aloo bhaji & rice with so called coffee / tea.) and we were
in need of common travel medication. Finally I managed to get the medication-after
literally demonstrating (dumb charades game came very handy here!) the act of Nature
Call! Even today my family members laugh at the scene I was in! Lesson learnt: Check
your packing more than once! We also bought 4 Walking Sticks and a plastic Water Can10 Liters. (To bring Holy Water from Manas Sarovar.) We spent rest of the evening
praying / sathsung baitak! I was asked to give a brief talk on Lord Shiva / Rudram.
Myself & Srikesh enjoyed chanting Rudra. By the way we were in a group of 30
Kannadigas from Bangalore! The tour operator put us in this group without knowing that
we speak Kannada! We had another group from Maharastra-around a dozen Men who
were ready for inner Parikram (the most difficult and should be attempted only after 3
simple Parikrama’s. it seems.) The entire group was amazed to know that our children
could speak Kannada as well.
On July 15 the morning we left by a Land Cruiser to Saga and crossed the
BRAMMAPUTRA River. (Known here as the Yarlung Tsangpo) Checked into a hotel by
4 in the afternoon. Saga is the only place in the entire trip you find a very decent hotel.
We were able to take a nice shower after almost 3 days! Had an
early supper, went around the town-small place but very expensive! (Last minute
shopping-medication, walking sticks, etc.) We were able to make international calls from
Saga! I bought a nice Tibetan Sweater!
On July 16 with a quick break fast, we left with a packed lunch by a land cruiser to (7-8
hour drive through TIBETAN plateau-very, very nice smooth roads) PYARANG- 4, 500
m. Night halt at Pyarang-very nice mountain ranges at the backdrop and pristine lakes. It
was bit cold and some of us were breathing hard!
On July 17th morning we left for Manas Sarovar. On the way we stopped at Sand Dunes!
By now we were so excited by seeing the Natural Beauty and excitement of reaching a
step closer to Mt. Kailash! By 1 P.M. we reached Manas Sarovar-4, 560 m. Breath
taking view of pristine Lake, very clean water with a backdrop of Mt. Kailash. (Please
see the photo taken by Srikesh-Mt. Kailash is in the shape of Shiv Linga!) We had a nice
holy dip, immersed Shiv Ling, Saligrama and Rudraksh. Performed a very nice Pooja /
Homa and Chanted Rudra. Toyota drivers-local Tibetans meditated as well. We did not
feel like leaving the place. It was cold and weather was around 2 or 3-degree Celsius. We
did not feel the cold because of environment and sever Sunrays. I did not realize that I
burnt entire back of my shoulder until Radhika noticed blisters after a couple of days. I
had worn Shalya / Panche and my shoulder were exposed. Near by we visited “Raaksha
Sthal-no one touches the water-considered to be a bad Omen! We enjoyed the amazing
beauty of the lake-some said, “lake view is awesome & that’s the way Demon tries to
attract Yatris!” Night view is the best at Manas Sarovar. (Dark night with thousands of
stars-Wow the best moment of my life.) Srikesh was alone on his own for almost 3 hours
viewing the sacred lake Manas Sarovar! By now some in the group had sever health
problems-one of them fell so sick, she left the group along with her close relatives to go
to Kathmandu by a Car. Helicopter Ambulance ride would be more expensive! Some of
us were not feeling well-stomach disturbance, nausea, vomiting sensation, head ache, etc.
These are common at High Altitude. Some get irritated for no reason & do not feel like
eating, etc.
July 18th we left Manas Sarovar in the morning and reached Darchen a very small & the
only town near to Mt. Kailash. Nice place to shop and look for good bargains. Some
Tibetans here speak Kannada (some studied in Bailkuppe-Karnataka) and are now stuck
here in Tibet. Their passports are taken by China Govt., it seems and thus cannot leave
Tibet, unless they are 65 years old-that’s the time their passports are returned! By now we
are able to see a big gigantic mountain-the holy mountain for Hindus, Jains & Buddhiststhe one and only Mount Kailash. (Overnight stay at Darchen for acclimatization.
Sherpas assured us that we would be fine tomorrow to do Parikrama, supposing we spend
the night without any kind of uneasiness!). Some from the group decided to stay back at
the Darchen guesthouse. (The first guesthouse we were assigned to was so filthy that we
could not even breathe and we demanded full refund since we decided not to proceed
with the journey-just a threat! China Tour Guides made alternate arrangements and
finally we were in a better place. We were also told that foreign nationals would be
treated differently-but we did not want to leave the group! We did not want to be treated
differently when we are in a group. That’s why it is important that we have a decent tour
operator who takes care of our needs!) It is almost two days since we bathed. I could not
believe that I was going to Mt. Kailash without bathing! Lord Shiva doesn’t mind if we
cannot bathe! Cleanliness of Mind is most important than the physical body! Some of us
couldn’t sleep well at night-anxiety, excitement, breathing difficulties, etc. We were
ready for next day-with just one small backpack for most necessary items-water bottle
and Snacks.
July 19th is the day we were all looking forward to go to the nearest point to view Mt.
Kailash. In the morning we brushed and cleaned ourselves with just two Mugs of Hot
Water. (The washroom facilities were not great in the entire journey. Open air was better
and much cleaner than filthy so-called washrooms. It was very hard to go to the Nature
Call! After the Sunset-dark, dogs & deserted place. A good quality flashlight will be very
useful.) After a light breakfast we proceeded to Yama Dhwara-starting point of the
Parikrama / hire Porters / Ponies. We were told that road to Nandi (a small mountain in
front of Mt. Kailash-resembles like Nandi- a bull!) was closed due to a bad accident and
all Yatris died involved in the accident died! We prayed / chanted Rudra at the Yama
Dhwara and started to walk along with a porter who carried our back packs (we paid 400
Yuan for two porters, but just one came along!) Radhika and Prerana were in a line to
hire Ponies. It is like a lottery system. (Less number of Ponies than Yatris! For 600
Chinese Yuan, you can hire a Pony or for 200 a porter who carries your back pack.) If
you are lucky you will ride a pony! After few minutes (it appeared as if we were walking
for few hours!) we realized we have a long way to go! It was hard to breathe and we were
getting tired. Continued to chant
but could not and the walking was hard. We remembered our Veda Guru (Sri. Raghu
Ranganathan / Akhila / Soumya telling us about their experience.) Telling us about
chanting of “Om Namah Shivaaya” while doing parikrama for an easy walk! We tried to
chant other small beeja mantras but did not find comfort at all. We were able to walk (felt
less strain) easily by chanting Shiva Panchakshari and by 3 P.M. we reached Dira Puk
(4,900 m) for an overnight stay! This is the place we all wanted to come, waited for so
long, walked / travelled from far of places-the seat of Sri. Kailashapathi-Lord SHIVAthe holy mountain is in the shape of Shiv Ling-black stone-snow covered. We can also
see 14 steps partially covered by snow leading to the summit. The whole surrounding
was like a charged magnetic field. The happiness, bliss we experience is something
unique and cannot be explained. You should experience it. “Om Namah Shivaaya”.
We checked into a guest room-managed to get a room with four cots, for our family! It
was very cold, dirty blankets, hard to breathe but when we come out we get relieved after
viewing the Mt. Kailash-we were very close to the base of the mountain (hardly 15-20
Km away!) that too when Sunsets. Took few pictures, touched Yaks and tried to figure
out “Om” sign on the Mt. Kailash. We were told by Sherpas that “Today is the only day
we will be able to view Mt. Kailash & from tomorrow we will be walking away from the
Mt. Kailash and cannot view at all”. Thus we seized the moment. At night I tipped
Sherpas-quite an impressive tip! Thanked them for taking care of us. All Sherpas are
On July 20th we continued on our journey, while some returned to Darchen (no point in
continuing since they loose sight of Mt. Kailash after day 1 of Parikrama out of 3 days!).
Dromala Pass-5, 610 m-today’s trek is the hardest but holiest according to some Tibetans.
(If you squeeze in between two rocks-tiny space, then you would be getting rid of the sin
/ pain caused to your mother at the birth-labour pain.) The road was more rough and
slippery. People on Ponies suffered more pain than people who walked! Radhka’s pony
was a troublemaker! Radhika couldn’t shake her body at all while riding the pony-others
were taking pictures but Radhika couldn’t! The moment she tried to turn around her pony
would complain by rubbing its face to the porter! Then the porter would say something in
Tibetan language and Radhika was shut. She repented for choosing to ride a pony! After
8 hours of hard trek rest at night-at a camp.
On July 21st walked few Km and got into our Land Cruisers to proceed to Darchen-Saga.
All of us waited to take a hot shower at the Saga Hotel around 8 P.M. Prepared for next
day’s journey to Kathmandu.
On July 22nd afternoon crossed the border & reached Kathmandu by dinnertime. I
managed to travel by a Car-just our family from the border instead of a Coach Bus! We
were so tired and couldn’t take bus travel!
July 23rd to July 26th-Sight seeing-Pashupathinath Temple, Baktha Pur, Dakshina Kashi,
On July 25th my Birthday, we were able to view Mt. Everest, Gowri Shankar and other
Himalayan ranges. (We would go to the Airport at 5 A.M. and wait for a couple of hours
and return to Hotel disappointed! Bad weather cannot fly and won’t be able to see
Himalayan Ranges by Buddha Air-Cost us $190 per person!) Luckily on my Birthday I
found a jeweler as well, who would make a special Peeta for Shiv Linga weighing 950
gm. The Silver Peeta would cost me Rs. 65,000. I had no cash! & The jeweler wouldn’t
accept credit card payment. I had spent almost $26,480 by then on this trip as on July
25th! Luckily at the hotel where I was staying I met another group from Bangalore-again!
What a coincidence! I asked them if they are interested in buying two of my I-phones?
By the grace of Lord Shiva, I was able to sell smart phones for cash & get the Silver Base
for Shiv Linga with Naga-abarna. Also Radhika bought few Nepali Sarees / gift items. As
a matter of fact we all bought few things-Clothes, Audio CDs & other souvenirs.
On July 27th morning we left Nepal (for Qatar-London-Toronto) and reached Toronto on
28th evening. Thank GOD. We were back from a very successful Trip. At Qatar Airport I
bought a nice Gold Necklace set ($5,780) at the duty free shop and gifted to Radhika25th Wedding Anniversary. She deserved a gift. For our first Wedding Anniversary we
went to Badri / Kedar (along with my mother) and now for our 25th Wedding
Anniversary we went to Mt. Kailash (along with our lovely children Prerana & Srikesh.)
My final words: Have faith in GOD / yourself. Keep a goal and dream every dayvisualize the journey you will achieve / succeed. Never think negative by hearing storieswhere people in spite of going to Mt. Kailash couldn’t view the holy mountain due to
sickness, bad weather-what if clouds cover the Holy
Mountain for the whole day? While you are there! You won’t be able to stay at Dirapuk
for more than 8 hours! You will have to proceed with your group making room for the
next group!
Now I have few contacts in Kathmandu who would help us to successfully complete the
Parikram. I found out from other yatris at the Hotel where I was staying about other tour
operators / their services. Now I have found one of the best operators for Kailash
Parikrama tour and I have full details for those who would like to take advantage of my
contacts. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any kind of information with regards to
Manas Sarovar / Mt. Kailash Yatra. Thanks for reading my Mt. Kailash trip experience.