It was a dream. It sparked long time back; continued to grow and at one point of time became vigorous and continually coming to mind. It is the Lord's great abode on earth "The Mount Kailash". The prayers were heard, but not because of the qualification but because of Its immense Grace, the Lord showed the way in 2001. Unless Its permission is there who could enter that Holiest of the Holy place ?! By the Grace of God got to join a groupthat had planned to take up the yatra via Kathmandu. From that time it was apenance to worship the Lord, Who has taken abode in our hearts, in His own Abode. The thought itself was quite pleasing that the Lord gave such great blessing. When all the yatris assembled a month before the yatra for a briefing, the mental charge had picked up for this great pilgrimage of thelife.
There were lots of hurdles forthcoming. The travel schedule was postponed by two weeks just a couple of days before departure because ofsome visa restrictions. It was really hard to settle the local logisticsto accommodate this change in schedule. When things were getting set came the news of Kathmandu royal family massacre ! The status of the yatra washanging. What can one do other than pleading to the Supreme to shower thedivine grace that would take us to have a glimpse of His holy feet. We don'tdemand that as the right, as the Supreme knows our deservings, but just begfor the Grace like a small child that cries for the mother just putting astep forward. As the situation was slowly returning to normalcy, the hopewas returning. Again just the day before departure the flight was cancelled !Pleaded to the Lord to give strength to cross whatever that comes in the wayof worshiping the Holy Seat of God. Of course but for His Grace we won't have done it. Not just these, many times through the journey, it was the strength of His Grace that was taking forward. Somehow managed to get a rerouted ticket the next day to Kathmandu.
The Rough Terrain on the way
When assembled with the pilgrims on the Sunday 9 th June night itself, it felt nice. To be in the association of devotees that too whohave come with the single mind of having dharshan of Kailashapathi, inspite of all the hurdles, is certainly lovely. The next morning whenwe started for the Bangalore Airport to catch the flight to Indraprastham(Delhi) - Kathmandu, the mind was full of thankfulness and enthusiasm looking for the most look forward journey. When landed in Kathmandu onMonday evening, the return of slow normalcy in that city was feelable.
The next morning we went to the temple of the God of this Himalayan kingdom, Lord pashupatinAth. Oh, He is Lord of notjust this kingdom, He is Lord of all pashus ! The Lord's Holy anointingwas so blissful that there was no mood to move out of the altar till they closed the doors at noon. That Lovely Lord's Grace is what should take usto the Holy abode of kailash, the mind prayed the Lord Who makes us pray Him in all directions. Visited couple of other temples also in Kathmandu.The next evening, there was a batch of pilgrims who just returned completing their pilgrimage. They shared their blissful moments at the Feet of the King of mountains.
Thursday early morning the buses left for the great travel shouting the slogan kAvAy kanakath thiraLE pORRi, kayilai malaiyAnaEpORRi pORRi(Save, the Pile of gems, hail Thee, The Lord of Kailashmount, hail Thee, hail Thee !!). The journey itself was very great, as thediscussions centered around the experiences of pilgrims who already had visited this wonderful abode, the Shaiva Siddhantha philosophy, the holythirumuRais, vedic chantings, pleasant music and the sincere devotion ofpilgrims who appeared simple. As the river beTikoshi roaringalongside the road, went discussing the philosophies of relationship between the soul, Supreme and surroundings. Interestingly Shaiva Sidhdhantha claims its origins askailasha parampara. We stopped at the Nepali border town of Kodari to clear the immigration formalities and shifting of goodsfrom buses to the landcruisers waiting on the Chinese side. Couple of hourslater crossed the friendship bridge to get to the Tibeten area - a town called Zhang Mu. From that day the journey was on a set of landcruisers.That evening reached at a hotel in Nyalam. This days journey was quitescenic and impressing all the way through with fibers of water falling fromvertical mountain tips, the turbulent stream thundering from many hundred feet down the hill, tiny falls on the way falling above the road, allgreen and soothing scenes around, mind naturally hailed namaH shIghriyAya cha shIbhyAya cha .
As this place is already more than 10,000 feet from the seam level, the tour operators had decided to make one day additional haltfor the pilgrims to get acalimatized. As the tour operator had given instruction not to over relax and advised to take up small treks and strolls around in order to feel more comfortable with the altitude, the next morning went to the nearby hill trekking up. It was a goodexercise, after sweating out the stomach was hungry and the body wasmore comfortable. In the few shops of this small village, pilgrims bought the forgotten items.
The River Brahmaputra
The next morning journey started from Nyalam to climb a bitup and then onwards it was the plateau. There were not much of climb,but the land looked like desert with very little vegetation. The journeyfrom this point onwards continue to be in such a terrain. It can berecollected that in periya purANam it is mentioned that appar crossed the hard deserts on Himalayas on his pilgrimage to mountKalilash. The geographic knowledge of chEkkizar in southernplains is astounding ! For that hard terrain the cars were giving problems.There was an urge also as the brahmaputra river had to be crossedwith the help of boats before they stop at 6 pm. Somehow with the Grace of God just managed to cross it in time to reach in the camp Saga. From here onwards the camps are mud houses with cots and bedding arrangements. Tillthis point telephone facilities are available. At these heights breathing could be a bit difficult than normal. In the nights to easen the breathing the organizers kept a piece of camphor in all the rooms.
On Sunday morning we started off to the next camp, Paryang. The journey is alongside river brahmaputra initially. As the sun was shining well some of the pilgrims took bath in the river. But in spite of the sunthe water was quite cold. That evening we arrived at Paryang. It was atravel of about 200 kms everyday. Totally about 900 km gets covered fromKathmandu to Kailash. From one camp to other for hundreds of kilometers, itis hard to see any inhabitations except really few of the tibetens.
The organizer had already told that the next day would be the first dharshan of the Lord's Holy Mount. It created a great amount of zeal, after all the sight of our Heart Stealing Supreme is the wholepurpose of this difficult journey. The enthusiasm went up in the afternoon as that is when the dharshan would be seen, we were told. When the eyes closed a bit, the tibeten driver kindled the spirit bysaying, "Kang Rimpoche, Tso Mapam (Kailash, Manasa sarovar) approaching !"He probably said for fun, as there was three more hours of drive, but then on each lake looked like Manasarovar and at each turn started expectingthe first glimpse of the Lord ! The One, Who came on His own and stole off our mind, was making us run corner to corner in search of Him !Where can the sleep come then ! There was nice melodious tibeten song praising the Dolma La, the highest point in the parikrama route of the Holymount, in the car was adding to the spirit. Finally that great Monday's evening, the driver went up a slope, circled a flag mast of tibetens three times and said "Tso Mapam" (Manasa sarovar or mansarovar). The mind was thrilled at thesight of the Great Holy Lake mAnasa sarovar, representing the Goddess on Whose heart is the Merciful Lord ever blessing. The eyes searched forthe Lord's Holy Mount. But the Lord had completely hid Himself in theclouds.
The Holy Lake Manasa sarovar
Prostrated to the direction of the Supreme. "If the Forehead-eyed Lord decides not to reveal, who can see Him ?!" The Lord had decided when and how to give the blessing, what can our hurry fetch ? Quite disappointed though, prayed to the Holy Feet of the Lord, to bless as per the Grace of Its own will. That evening the plan was to stay in the Zeidi camp on the bank of Manasarovar, but stayed in the Hore (Hor chu) camp a few miles away as the drivers did not cooperate. The next morning went on our vehicles for theparikrama of the lakeManasarovar. (Many Nepali travels do not take for complete parikrama, buton special insisting this organizer took us). When the focus was completelyon the Manasarovar, the sister who was organizing the yatra shouted fromour car, "Kailash, Kailash". Virtually jumped out of the car to scan thecomplete direction she was pointing to have a glimpse of the Nectar, the mind was yearning for. There were a few mountains hazy amidst the clouds.Couldn't clearly see. Bowed down to the Lord, Who is surrounded by Hisgreat servants.
The parikrama (Circumambulation) continued a few meters away from the brim of Manasarovar. There is a Tibeten monastery on the bank, to which the guide took around. The sight of the Holy lake was quite impressing.had there been no clouds the shade of the mountains, including the greatKailash would be seen on this dark green water. From the monastery the parikrama again continued towards a hot spring called chiu gompa.On the way to the left was another huge lake called raaxastal.This is the lake created by rAvaNa after his failed misadventureto lift up the Holy Mount Kailash. While people (Hindus and Tibeten Budhdhists) consider the Manasarovar as holy, the adjacent raxastal isnot considered good. Before getting to the Holy water of Manasarovar, wewanted to wash away many days' dirt from our body. The hot sulphur springon the high grounds near the lake, served that purpose.
It was almost noon when we came to Manasarovar bank again at theZeidi camp. Still the water was chill. The Lord has not given completedharshan yet. This is the Holy thIrththam of the kailasha xetra. This also is revered as the mother pArvatI, Who isthe first and foremost devotee of the Lord shiva; the One with Supreme love for the Lord; Inseparable from the Lord. May that holy water cleanaway any dirts of the mind that hides the vision to see our Beloved Lord !Saluting the Lord shambhu, went and had quick dips in the lake. It felt nice. Had there not been much wind it may be nice to be in the lake for some more time. Later having bath in the Holy Ash, finishing the lunchstarted off to the Kailash base camp Tarchen.