Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2019

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Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2019

The Holy Kailash
The Holy Kailash

Kailash –


             The Ultimate pilgrimage, The abode of the Supreme Lord Shiva, a place, where every devout Hindu wishes to visit at least once in his lifetime. Not only Hindus but Jains, Buddhists and Bon religions consider it sacred. However, the visit to this place is not a cake walk. Though not very difficult, but requires some planning. In this post, I would like to shed some light on the challenges involved and the solutions thereof to the best of my knowledge.

Holy Mansarovar Lake with Kailash in Background
Holy Mansarovar Lake with Mount Kailash in Background

Kailash Mansarovar


Kailash Mansarovar is a combination of two words Kailash referring to the Holy Mount Kailash or The Kailash Parvat and Mansarovar, the holy lake near Kailash. There is also another lake very close known as Rakshas Taal. While Mansarovar is the lake of gods, Rakshas Taal is the lake of demons. Mansarovar is a sweet water lake while Rakshastaal is a saltwater lake. It is said the Ravana who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiv did penance at the banks of Rakshas Taal. Kailash Mansarovar is situated in Tibet which is under Chinese control now.


How to visit


As an individual Indian passport holder, it is next to impossible to get a visa for TAR( Tibetian Autonomous Region). The Chinese government gives a group visa only for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra for a minimum group of 05 people. So the two options left are to join the Yatra tours. These are of two types.

  1. Conducted by Private operators – The route is mainly through Nepal and then to TAR by road.
  2. Conducted by MEA – Govt. Of India. - This is done through two routes. We will talk about it later in detail.


Now the million dollar question is which should one join. As per my opinion, it is the Government conducted one. Why? Below are the reasons for that.


  1. Government of China has authorised only two travel agencies in Tibet to conduct this tour. All other operators booking these tours are their agents, sub-agents or sub agents to these sub agents. Sometimes it is 5-6 steps below the agency. In case of an emergency, if the family wants to reach the yatri or vice versa, a lot of time is wasted if at all, the contact could be established.

  2. The biggest challenge is that all the private tour operators are interested in selling more and more no. of tours and are least bothered about the safety of the passengers. The biggest challenge being AMS, which can hit even the fittest of the fit person and can be fatal.

  3. To save on time and in turn cost, they do not allow enough time for yatris to acclimatise, which is required as yatris travel from normal height to 20000 feet above sea level. The atmosphere here is very rarified and due to lack of oxygen, A lot of problems can happen.

  4. They send you in one or a group of land cruisers, where a driver is all you get he is your guide and manager and everything in case of emergency. First of all, he is not capable enough to handle any situation secondly communication with him is the biggest hurdle, due to the language barrier.

  5. Please bear in mind that you are travelling to a hostile country and things can go wrong anytime.

  6. In the case of MEA conducted Yatra, everybody is properly scrutinised. The first step is a thorough medical test at DHLI Delhi. If you clear the test then only you are allowed to undertake the yatra, otherwise sent back.

  7. 7th Batallion of ITBP having their HQ at Mirthi is entrusted to conduct this yatra safely and they go beyond their call of duty to ensure it.

  8. Every group is accompanied by a liaison officer, who is a serving officer with the govt. of India of the rank of undersecretary or above. He is always in contact with MEA and reports back daily. In case of an emergency, the whole government machinery comes into the action for the well being of the yatris.

  9. While trekking, SDRF personnel, a doctor, ITBP Jawans accompany the batch. State police Jawans form head and tail of the batch i.e one(or more) Jawan at the front and other at end of the group. So the entire batch walks between these two. This ensures the safety of entire batch. They are in contact with each other over walkie Talkies.

So considering safety, it is better to go with MEA conducted Yatra.

MEA Conducted Kailash Mansarovar Yatra


Every year, the MEA invites the applications from India Citizens above the age of 18 years for the yatra. Yatris are selected through the draw of lots. The entire process is online at kmy.gov.in

Routes


MEA conducts Yatra through two routes

  1. Via Lipulekh pass in Uttarakhand
  2. Via Nathu La in Sikkim

For both the routes, the Yatris are required to report at Delhi and a medical test is conducted at Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. The reports are sent to ITBP headquarters, which gives a go-ahead to the yatris, who are found medically fit. Next day there is a briefing at MEA offices after that the Yatra commences.


Via Lipulekh Pass – 


           This route passes through the upper areas of Uttarakhand and enters Tibet through a high mountain pass called Lipulekh pass. This involves a lot of trekking through the insanely beautiful and pristine areas of Uttarakhand. The schedule is as below

After 04 days stay at Delhi,

Day 5 – Delhi to Almora – Stay at KMVN Hotel

Day 6 - Almora to Dharchula. This is the last motorable station - Stay at KMVN Hotel – This is last large town on this route on the banks of River Kali and across the river is a town in Nepal with the same name and one can just walk across a bridge to visit Dharchula of Nepal.
Dharchula, Kali Nadi and Nepalese Dharchula
Dharchula on the banks of Kali Nadi and across the river is Nepalese Dharchoola also visible is the bridge connecting the two countries



Day 6 – Dharchula – Sirkha – a beautiful small hamlet

Day 7 – Sirkha – Gala

Day 8 – Gala – Budhi – Stay is at KMVN guest house and at some distance is the beautiful village of Budhi.
Beautiful houses at Budhi village
Beautiful houses at Budhi village

Day 9 – Budhi – Gunji 
Beautiful waterfall en route
Beautiful waterfall en route

Yet another one
Yet another one

Day 10 - Gunji – The batch is made to stay here for acclimatisation and a medical checkup for high altitude fitness by ITBP.


Day 11 – Gunji – Nabhidhang

Day 12 – Nabhidhang – Taklakot via Lipulekh – Taklakot is the first town in Tibet.

Taklakot
Taklakot
Day 13 – Taklakot – Darchen
Darchen
Darchen and Holy Kailash is also visible.

Day 14 – Darchen – Derapuk

Day 15 – Derapuk – Zhunzhuipu

Day 16 - ZhunZhuipu – Qugu

Day 17 – Qugu

Day 18 – Qugu – Taklakot

Day 19 - Taklakot – Gunji

Day 20 – Gunji – Budhi

Day 21 – Budhi - Dharchula

Day 22 – Dharchula – Jageshwar

Day 23 Jageshwar - Delhi

Tough paths
The trek is tedious and the Kali Ganga accompanies the trek with its full force

Via Nathu La –


          This route is through Nathu La in Sikkim. This is mainly done on vehicles as the entire route is motorable. This is more suitable for aged people and those interested to witness the beauty of Tibetan plateau.

Day 1 – Delhi to Bagdogra by air and then to Gangtok by road

Day 2 – Gangtok to 15th Mile

Day 3 – stay for acclimatisation

Day 4 - 15th Mile to Sherathang

Day 5 – stay for acclimatization

Day 6 – Sherathang to Kangma

Day 7 – Kangma to Lazi

Day 8 – Lazi to Zhongba

Day 9 – Zhongba – Darchen

Day 10 – Darchen – Derapuk

Day 11 – Derapuk – Zhunzhuipu

Day 12 - ZhunZhuipu – Qugu

Day 13 – Qugu

Day 14 – Qugu to Zhongba

Day 15 – Zhongba – Lazi

Day 16 – Lazi – Kangma

Day 17 – Kangma – Gangtok


Expenses

                    The cost of MEA conducted yatra is nearly 1.8 lakh through Lipulek and 2.5 Lakh through Nathula.

Do's and Don'ts for the Yatra


  1. Undertake this yatra if you are medically fit.
  2. Start preparing yourself by walking and light exercises.
  3. Do not carry any pictures or any articles with pictures of Dalai Lama on them or any other object linked with free Tibet movement.
  4. Do not click photos of Chinese policemen or army personnel or any government buildings. Please bear in mind that you will be in a hostile country and let us accept this fact that the Chinese do not want Indians to visit Tibet. It is only because of the diplomatic efforts of Indian Govt that this yatra is continuing.
  5. As you will be in a foreign land, please behave with dignity and grace.

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6 Comments

  1. Nice information sir, thankyou

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pleasure is all mine sir. If you still need and more details, you can contact me through any media.

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  2. nice, good article with experience, we are planning the mansarovar yatra by helicopter from lucknow to nepalganj (by car), nepalganj to simikot (flight), simikot to hilsa (helicopter) kisla to talakot to mansarovar (Stay in tents) abd then to Darchen(by land cruser) Darchen to Darchen Treck, back same to talakot. Starts On 14th June and will be at Mansarovar on 17th June Full Moon Day) through Kailash Jouneys Nepal. Please advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems good. but do take at least 48 hours rest at Taklakot as there will be a sudden gain in altitude and you will need acclaimitization.

      Delete
  3. Nice and very usefull information for me. I plan my trip to kailash may in 2020.
    Thank you Praveen.

    ReplyDelete