Introduction to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a pilgrimage to Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, located in the remote Himalayan region of Tibet. The Yatra is considered one of the most important and difficult pilgrimages in the world. The pilgrimage is undertaken by both Hindus and Buddhists, who believe that Mount Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva and that Lake Mansarovar was created in the mind of Lord Brahma.
The journey involves traveling through some of the highest and most rugged terrains in the world, crossing the Tibetan plateau, and trekking through mountain passes at an altitude of over 5,000 meters. The entire yatra takes around 12 to 18 days to complete and is physically and mentally challenging.
The journey starts in Kathmandu, where travelers will explore the city’s cultural and historical sites before departing for Tibet. The trip includes a rest day in Kyirong for acclimatization and a visit to the Mansarovar Lake. The travelers will then trek around Mount Kailash, crossing the Dolma La pass, and conclude the trek at Mani Wall. The journey will end with a drive back to Kathmandu.
The Significance of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra holds immense spiritual and religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhists. Here are some of the key reasons why this pilgrimage is considered so important:
Mount Kailash – The Abode of Lord Shiva: For Hindus, Mount Kailash is considered the abode of Lord Shiva, one of the three major deities of the Hindu pantheon. It is believed that Lord Shiva meditates on the peak of the mountain and that the Kailash Parvat is the ultimate destination for any devout follower of Lord Shiva.
Lake Mansarovar – The Sacred Lake: Lake Mansarovar is considered one of the holiest lakes in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is believed that the lake was created by Lord Brahma and that a dip in its holy waters can wash away all sins.
Spiritual Awakening: The journey to Kailash Mansarovar is considered a spiritual awakening for many pilgrims. The difficult terrain, high altitude, and harsh climate are believed to test one’s physical and mental endurance, and the pilgrimage is seen as a way to connect with one’s inner self and with the divine.
Cultural Exchange: The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is not just a spiritual journey but also an opportunity for cultural exchange. The pilgrimage brings together people from different parts of India and from around the world, who share a common spiritual goal. This helps in promoting peace and understanding among different cultures.
Environmental Conservation: The Kailash Mansarovar region is known for its unique biodiversity and delicate ecosystem. The pilgrimage plays an important role in creating awareness about environmental conservation and promoting sustainable tourism practices in the region.
History and Mythology Associated with Kailash Mansarovar
The Kailash Mansarovar region has a rich history and mythology associated with it. Here are some of the key historical and mythological aspects of the region:
Hindu Mythology: According to Hindu mythology, Mount Kailash is the abode of Lord Shiva, one of the three major deities of the Hindu pantheon. It is believed that Lord Shiva meditates on the peak of the mountain and that the Kailash Parvat is the ultimate destination for any devout follower of Lord Shiva. Lake Mansarovar, on the other hand, is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma and is considered one of the holiest lakes in Hinduism.
Buddhist History: The Kailash Mansarovar region is also significant for Buddhists. According to Buddhist tradition, it is believed that the Buddha’s disciple, Maudgalyayana, visited Lake Mansarovar and saw his deceased mother in one of the hells. He then requested the Buddha to teach him a method to relieve his mother from suffering in hell. The Buddha then taught him the method of the annual Ullambana festival, which is celebrated in the region to this day.
Historical Significance: The Kailash Mansarovar region has also been mentioned in several ancient texts and travelogues. It is believed that the Chinese pilgrim, Xuanzang, visited the region in the 7th century and described it as a place of great spiritual significance. The region has also been mentioned in the Hindu epic, Ramayana, as the place where Lord Rama and his wife Sita performed a yajna (a ritual sacrifice) to seek blessings from Lord Shiva.
Modern History: In modern times, the Kailash Mansarovar region has been the subject of several explorations and expeditions. The first Westerner to visit the region was the Hungarian explorer, Sven Hedin, who visited the region in the early 20th century. The region has also been the subject of several scientific expeditions, aimed at studying its unique ecosystem and biodiversity.
Overall, the Kailash Mansarovar region has a rich history and mythology associated with it, making it one of the most significant pilgrimage sites in the world.
Planning for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: Best Time to Visit, Permits, and Visa
Planning for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra can be a complex process, but with the right information, it can be made relatively easy. Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning your trip:
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Kailash Mansarovar is from May to September when the weather is mild and the roads are accessible. The monsoon season, from July to August, can make the journey more challenging due to heavy rainfall and landslides.
Permits: Obtaining the necessary permits is an important part of planning your trip. For Indian pilgrims, the Ministry of External Affairs handles the permits, while foreign nationals can apply for permits through the China Tibet Tourism Bureau (CTTB). It is advisable to apply for the permits well in advance, as the process can take up to a few months.
Visa: Foreign nationals require a visa to enter Tibet, which can be obtained through the Chinese Embassy or Consulate in their respective countries. It is important to note that the visa process can take up to a few weeks and that it is advisable to apply for it well in advance.
Travel arrangements: It is recommended to book your travel arrangements through a registered travel agency that specializes in Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. This can help ensure that your journey is safe and well-planned.
Physical fitness: The journey to Kailash Mansarovar can be physically demanding, and it is advisable to prepare yourself by engaging in regular physical activity, such as hiking and yoga, several weeks before the trip. It is also important to carry the necessary medications and consult a doctor before embarking on the journey.
Other considerations: It is important to carry sufficient warm clothing, sleeping bags, and other essential items, as the region experiences extreme weather conditions. It is also recommended to respect the local culture and traditions and to leave the region as pristine as possible.
Overall, the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra requires careful planning and preparation, but it can be an enriching and life-changing experience for those who undertake it.
Preparing for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: physical fitness, clothing, and equipment
Preparing for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra requires careful consideration of physical fitness, clothing, and equipment. Here are some key things to keep in mind:
Physical fitness: The journey to Kailash Mansarovar can be physically demanding, with high altitudes and long periods of walking or hiking. Therefore, it is important to engage in regular physical activity several weeks before the trip, such as walking, hiking, or yoga, to build up your endurance and fitness level. It is also recommended to consult with a doctor before embarking on the journey.
Clothing: The Kailash Mansarovar region experiences extreme weather conditions, with cold temperatures and strong winds. Therefore, it is recommended to pack warm clothing, including thermal wear, fleece jackets, windcheaters, and waterproof jackets. Additionally, it is advisable to bring comfortable, sturdy shoes with good grip for walking and hiking, and a sun hat and sunglasses for protection from the strong sunlight.
Equipment: In addition to clothing, it is important to bring essential equipment, including a sleeping bag, a backpack, a water bottle, a first-aid kit, and toiletries. It is also recommended to bring a good quality camera to capture the stunning views and scenery along the way. Additionally, it is important to bring any necessary medications and to carry a portable oxygen cylinder for emergencies.
Other considerations: It is important to respect the local culture and traditions of the region, and to dress modestly and appropriately. It is also recommended to carry a garbage bag and to leave the region as pristine as possible. Finally, it is important to be mentally prepared for the journey, which can be challenging at times, but can also be a life-changing experience.
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route and itinerary
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route and itinerary can vary depending on the mode of transportation, travel agency, and individual preferences. However, here is a general overview of the route and itinerary:
Day1: Arrival Day(1300m/4264ft)
Day 2: Kathmandu Valley sightseeing tour
Day3: Kathmandu & Bhaktapur Tour
Day4: Free day (in case permit gets delayed)
Day5: Kathmandu – Rasuwagadi – Kyirong Drive (3900m) / 210km / 7 – 8 hrs
Day 6: Kyirong rest day for acclimatization.
Day7: Kyirong to Paryang Drive (4400m) / 340km / 7 hrs
Day8: Paryang to Mansarover (4600m) / 210km / 5 hrs
Day9: Mansarover Puja / Parikrama / drive to Darchen (4700m) / 90km
Day10: Drive to Tarboche 12km, then trek to Diraphuk (4800m) / 12km / 6 hrs
Dat11: Trek Over Dolma La pass (5600m) to Dzutulphuk (4700m) – 8-9 hrs
Day:12 Trek Ends at Mani Wall and Further Drive to Saga (4400m) / 8 hours
Day:13 Saga to Kathmandu (1300m) Drive / 9 hours
It is important to note that the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra itinerary can be subject to change depending on weather conditions, road conditions, and other factors. Therefore, it is advisable to travel with a reputable and experienced travel agency that can provide guidance and support throughout the journey.
Places to visit during the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: Lake Manasarovar, Mount Kailash, and more
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a spiritual and cultural journey that takes visitors through some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the world. Here are some of the must-visit places during the journey:
Lake Manasarovar: This sacred lake is situated at an altitude of 4,590 meters above sea level and is considered one of the most sacred lakes in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Visitors can take a holy dip in the lake and perform religious rituals.
Mount Kailash: This majestic mountain is revered as the abode of Lord Shiva in Hinduism and is also sacred in Buddhism, Jainism, and the Bon religion. Visitors can undertake the Kailash parikrama, a 3-day trek around the mountain, which is considered a transformative spiritual journey.
Tirthapuri Hot Springs: These natural hot springs are located near Mount Kailash and are considered a holy site in Buddhism. Visitors can take a dip in the hot springs and perform religious rituals.
Rakshastal Lake: This saltwater lake is located near Lake Manasarovar and is associated with negative energies and demons in Hinduism and Buddhism.
Guge Kingdom: This ancient kingdom is located near Mount Kailash and is known for its historical and cultural significance. Visitors can explore the ruins of the kingdom, including temples, monasteries, and palaces.
Asthapad: This mountain peak is situated near Mount Kailash and is considered a sacred site in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is believed to be the site where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati reside.
Yam Dwar: This is the starting point of the Kailash parikrama and is considered a holy site in Hinduism. It is believed that passing through this gate washes away all sins and bad karma.
Overall, the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore some of the most sacred and awe-inspiring landscapes in the world and embark on a transformative spiritual journey.
Accommodation and food during the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
During the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, accommodation and food options can be limited and basic, as the journey involves remote areas and high altitudes. Here is an overview of accommodation and food options:
Guesthouses: Basic guesthouses are available in Purang, Darchen, and other small towns along the route. These guesthouses offer basic amenities such as beds, blankets, and shared bathrooms.
Monasteries: Some monasteries along the route offer accommodation for pilgrims, although these options are limited and may not be available during peak seasons.
Vegetarian meals: Most meals during the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra are vegetarian, as many pilgrims follow a vegetarian diet for religious reasons. These meals typically consist of rice, lentils, vegetables, and chapatis.
Packed meals: During the Kailash parikrama, travel agencies provide packed meals such as energy bars, fruits, and bottled water.
Tea houses: Small tea houses and restaurants are available in some towns along the route, offering basic snacks and tea.
It is important to note that the quality and availability of accommodations and food options can vary depending on the season and other factors. Therefore, it is advisable to travel with a reputable travel agency that can provide reliable accommodation and food options throughout the journey. It is also important to carry some basic snacks and medicines for emergency purposes.
Safety and Precautions During the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a physically demanding and challenging journey, and it is important to take necessary safety precautions to ensure a safe and successful trip. Here are some safety tips and precautions to keep in mind:
Acclimatization: It is important to acclimatize properly to the high altitudes along the route, as altitude sickness can be a serious concern. It is advisable to take it slow and stay hydrated throughout the journey.
Physical fitness: The Kailash parikrama involves a challenging 3-day trek around Mount Kailash, which requires a good level of physical fitness. It is advisable to start training and preparing for the journey several months in advance.
Weather conditions: The weather conditions along the route can be unpredictable and harsh. It is advisable to carry appropriate clothing and gear for all weather conditions, including rain gear, warm clothing, and sunscreen.
Health precautions: The remote and high-altitude locations along the route can pose health risks, including dehydration, altitude sickness, and gastrointestinal illnesses. It is advisable to carry basic medications and first aid kits and to follow basic hygiene practices such as hand washing and avoiding uncooked or unhygienic food.
Travel with a reputable agency: It is advisable to travel with a reputable travel agency that has experience organizing Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trips and can provide necessary safety and emergency arrangements.
Follow religious customs and traditions: The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a spiritual and religious journey, and it is important to respect and follow the customs and traditions of the local communities.
By following these safety tips and precautions, visitors can ensure a safe and successful Kailash Mansarovar Yatra trip while also enjoying the transformative spiritual and cultural experiences along the route.
Dos and don’ts during the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
During the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, it is important to be respectful of the local culture and customs while also ensuring your safety and well-being. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
Respect the local customs and traditions: The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a religious and spiritual journey, and it is important to respect the customs and traditions of the local communities.
Follow the dress code: It is advisable to dress conservatively and appropriately, especially when visiting temples and other religious sites.
Carry enough warm clothing: The weather conditions along the route can be unpredictable and harsh, and it is important to carry enough warm clothing and gear to stay comfortable and safe.
Stay hydrated: It is important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the journey, especially at high altitudes.
Carry basic medicines and first aid kit: It is advisable to carry basic medicines and a first aid kit for emergency purposes.
Respect the environment by avoiding litter: While journeying, it is crucial to show regard for the environment and avoid littering along the way.
Avoid disturbing the wildlife: Several wildlife habitats lie along the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra route, and it is imperative to refrain from disrupting the animals or their homes.
Show reverence towards religious sites: As the route passes through various religious sites, it is essential to honor their significance and avoid any disrespectful behavior.
Observe dietary restrictions: For religious reasons, many pilgrims maintain a vegetarian and alcohol-free diet, and it is important to acknowledge and honor these customs.
Prioritize safety: Especially in difficult terrain and high altitudes, it is crucial to prioritize safety and follow all necessary precautions, avoiding any unnecessary risks.
By following these dos and don’ts, visitors can ensure a safe and respectful Kailash Mansarovar Yatra journey, while also experiencing the spiritual and cultural significance of the route.
Cost and Budget for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
The cost of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra can vary depending on various factors, such as the duration of the trip, the mode of transportation, the type of accommodation, and the travel agency selected. However, here is an approximate budget for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra:
Travel Agency Fee: The travel agency fee for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra can range from $2500 to $4000, depending on the inclusions and exclusions.
Visa and Permit Fee: The Visa and Permit Fee can cost around $400 to $500.
Airfare: The airfare for the journey can cost around $1000 to $2000, depending on the place of departure.
Accommodation: The accommodation cost can range from $50 to $200 per night, depending on the type of accommodation selected.
Food and Drinks: The cost of food and drinks can range from $20 to $50 per day.
Miscellaneous expenses: Miscellaneous expenses such as travel insurance, trekking gear, and emergency expenses can cost around $500 to $1000.
Overall, the approximate cost of the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra can range from $4000 to $8000, depending on the factors mentioned above. However, it is advisable to check with travel agencies and tour operators for the exact costs and inclusions/exclusions of the trip.
In conclusion, the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a spiritual and cultural journey that is considered sacred by many Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. The journey requires physical fitness, proper planning, and adherence to safety precautions to ensure a safe and comfortable trip. Visitors can experience the natural beauty and cultural significance of the region while also gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and their spirituality. While the journey can be challenging, it is considered a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be transformative for many who undertake it. It is important to approach the journey with respect for the local customs and traditions and to follow the dos and don’ts to ensure a respectful and safe experience. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a journey that can leave a lasting impact on the minds and hearts of visitors and is a testament to the power of faith and the enduring connection between humans and nature.