Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Where the Lord dwells

The snow covered peaks tower in the sky, imposing in its rise while gently kissing the passing clouds. It is here, in the summit of these mountains, that they reside, Lord Shiva and Parvati Devi. Mount Kailash is about 30 km away from Lake Mansarovar, the waters of which personify purity. The Kailash Mansarovar yatra takes the devotees to two of the most revered spots of not just Hinduism, but Buddhism and Jainism too. It includes the Parikrama or circumambulation around the peaks of Kailash. The journey is one of the most demanding treks involving unpredictable climate, hostile terrain and little support facilities. Yet, thousands of zealous devotees take up the yatra through the panoramic vista of Himalayas to savour the divine bliss. The yatra by Govt of India, which takes around three weeks, has two different routes, through the Lipulek Pass and through the Nathu La pass.

Legend

The peaks of Kailash has been the core of devotion since ancient time. Most of the stories of mythology considered Kaliash as the holy abode of Lord Shiva. Many yogis, ascetics and sages are believed to have spent time meditating here. Tibetan Buddhists consider Kailash as the home of the Buddha Demchok who symbolizes supreme harmony.  In Jainism, Kailash is the place where the creator of their faith, Rishabhadeva, attained freedom from rebirth. Thus, the pilgrimage to Mount Kailash is sacred in all these religions. The parikarma is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists while the followers of the Jainism circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. The mountain is considered so holy that setting foot on its slopes is a sin. The lake Mansarovar is believed to have been first created in the mind of Brahma after which it manifested on Earth. It is also one of the Shaktipeeths where Sati's hands were considered to have fallen. The journey to these two sacred sites, have over the years become the toughest, but the most divine experience a devotee can have.

Deity - Temples

Deity :- Lord Shiva
Temples covered :-  Mount Kailash, Lake Mansarovar

Purpose

Mythology considers Mount Kailash as the stairway  to heaven. It is considered the ultimate destination of human souls. It is believed that visiting Kailash would bring in good fortune. A single parikarma of Mount Kailash is said to wash away sins of ones lifetime. Bathing in Manasarovar and drinking its water is also believed to cleanse all sins. The long, hard treks along with the scenic surroundings is an experience of a life time.

Who can go?

The Kailash Mansarovar yatra is very strenuous. It covers high altitudes of the Himalayan region. Fair amount of trekking is also required. People with medical conditions should avoid the yatra. Those over the age of 70 are also advised to avoid the circuit. The yatra should be undertaken by those who are physically fit. Also the Kailash Mansarovar trip is open only to Indian citizens, holding a valid Indian passport.

Yatra Preparations

The number of devotees for the Kailash Mansarovar yatra is restricted, and hence have to be applied well in advance. The Ministry of External affairs opens the registration around 6 months prior to the trip. Read the website carefully before applying online. The yatra is extremely strenuous, involves trekking at high altitudes, in extreme cold and rugged terrain, and may prove hazardous for those who are not physically and medically fit. Medical check ups are essential. Also at least 3 months prior to the journey make sure to get yourselves physically ready for the trip. Please note that there will be medical tests conducted by the Government officials, failing of which the devotees will not be able to proceed. There is an additional medical check up at Gunji and Sheathing  to assess body reaction to high altitude. The yatris, who have been selected for the yatra by Ministry of External Affairs(MEA) have to spend 4 days prior to the trip at Delhi to complete various formalities.

Travel Support

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Pooja Samagri

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Area Covered

Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Nepal, Tibet
Language spoken : Most of the packages will have an English speaking guide/sherpa for the trip.

Auspicious Days

Full moon or Purnima day is considered auspicious.

Any contact numbers?

Helpline number by the MEA, Govt. of India : 011-24300655

Best time to Travel

Due to extreme winters in the Himalayan region the yatra is usually undertaken during the months of May - August

Duration

20 to 25 days are required for the traditional yatra by the Government of India from Delhi. However of late, private tour operators have introduced helicopters to cover the yatra in much less time.

Travel Method

The Kailash Mansarovar yatra involves strenuous trekking through the rugged Himalayan terrains in high altitude areas. There is around 35km of trek through the Nathu La route and 200 km through the Lipulekh route. Though some parts of the trek have to be certainly done on foot, ponies or yaks are available for parikarma, if booked in advance

Crowd Expected

Only a limited amount of devotees are allowed to take part in the Kailash Mansarovar yatra.

Festivals

Full moon or Purnima day is considered auspicious.

Must Haves

The Kailash Mansarovar yatra passes through the rough, hard terrains of Himalayas with no medical facilities. Hence it is important to carry all the medicines you would need for the entire duration of the yatra. Most of the stay would be at camps in the areas with only very basic necessities. So the yatris need to carry first aid kit, toilet kits, sunscreen, woollen, flash light, water purification tablets, waking sticks, water bottles etc. Please note that there might not be mobile connectivity at high altitude. Tour operators will have satellite phones and oxygen tanks for emergency purposes.

Health Awarness

Please note that parts of the Kailash Mansarovar yatra is through Tibet under the governance of Chinese government. Any evacuation in medical emergency cases may take time due to administrative procedures as well as geological obstacles.  Hence, only those who are confident of their physical fitness should undertake the yatra.

Additional Info

Please read the Government directives on application/selection process, medical tests and other information about the yatra before registration. It is available at http://kmy.gov.in/

Climate

The high temperature during the day time is 22 degree Celsius, with the altitude making the heat from the sun scorching. But there is an extreme drop of temperature during evening and night. The night temperatures can go as low as -10 degree celsius at the altitudes of 5000 metres.

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