The Call of Kailash

The decision to embark on a journey sometimes brews quietly, like a whisper in the wind, until it becomes a resounding call that cannot be ignored. For me, that call came from none other than Mount Kailash itself, beckoning me to undertake a pilgrimage like no other. With a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and a hint of trepidation, I set out on this extraordinary adventure.

Gathering at the Rasuwagadhi checkpoint, our group of 27 pilgrims began our odyssey towards the sacred lands of Kailash. Among them were Vicky and Vallie, strangers at first but destined to become my closest companions on this journey. With passports and bags meticulously checked, we crossed the checkpoint into China, where a new world awaited us. The journey, though initially daunting, soon filled us with a newfound sense of confidence as we made our way towards the Tibetan border.

As we traversed the picturesque landscapes towards Kerung, the blend of Nepali and Tibetan cultures became apparent. The road, once fear-inducing in Nepal, transformed into a smooth and comfortable passage, carrying us closer to our destination. Upon reaching Kerung Bazaar, nestled amidst hills, we were greeted by a town bustling with life yet steeped in tranquility.

Day 2: Exploring Kerung

Waking up in Kerung felt like stepping into a dream. The town, with its well-lit streets and serene ambiance, was a far cry from the chaos of urban life. Eager to explore, we set out to discover the hidden treasures of Kerung.

Our first stop was the majestic Pakpa Gumba, a Tibetan monastery exuding a sense of peace and spirituality. As we wandered through its spacious courtyard, we witnessed a blend of religious rituals and everyday life, a testament to the harmonious coexistence of tradition and modernity. Here, amidst the whispers of prayer flags and the scent of incense, the bond between us grew stronger, united by our shared reverence for the sacred.

Exploring the bustling market, adorned with Nepali signs and even a 'Nepal Friendship Store,' we immersed ourselves in the vibrant tapestry of cultures that Kerung had to offer. The day was a perfect blend of adventure and introspection, leaving us eager for the journey ahead and the camaraderie that awaited us.

Day 3: Towards Saga

Setting out towards Saga, our hearts brimmed with anticipation for the adventures that lay ahead. The journey, though long, was punctuated by breathtaking landscapes and moments of awe-inspiring beauty. Along the way, we sang Tamil bhajans, their melodies blending with the rhythm of our footsteps as we traversed rugged terrain and winding mountain roads.

Traversing rugged terrain and crossing Yamadwar, the threshold to the sacred mountain, we felt a sense of reverence and humility wash over us. As we embarked on the trek to Dirapuk, the beauty of the landscape seemed to mirror the journey within our hearts. Here, amidst the majesty of the mountains and the stillness of the air, the bond between us deepened, forged by the shared experience of pilgrimage and the enduring power of friendship.

Day 4: Pilgrimage to Dirapuk

Under the expert guidance of Gopal Thapa, the owner of Leaf Holidays, our journey to Dirapuk commenced with renewed vigor and determination. With every step forward, the landscape seemed to unfold like a tapestry of divine creation, each mountain peak and winding path leading us closer to our ultimate destination.

As we embarked on the trek from Darchen to Dirapuk, the camaraderie among us grew stronger, buoyed by the shared sense of purpose and the guidance of our knowledgeable guide. Amidst the rugged terrain and ever-changing vistas, we found solace in each other's company, our bond forged in the crucible of adventure and discovery.

As we reached the foot of Mount Kailash, surrounded by the enchanting beauty of Gumbas and prayer flags, our hearts swelled with gratitude for the opportunity to witness such sacred sights. However, our joy was tempered by the realization that not all journeys follow the same path. Due to Vicky's deteriorating health, she made the difficult decision to return to the hotel with Vallie, her loyal companion by her side.
As Vicky and Vallie bid us farewell, their absence was keenly felt, a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the unpredictability of the journey ahead.

Day 5: The Journey Continues

As the sun rose over the horizon, casting its golden glow upon the rugged landscape, we set out once more on our pilgrimage. With each passing moment, the majesty of Mount Kailash seemed to grow more palpable, its towering peaks a testament to the enduring power of nature and the human spirit.Traversing the challenging terrain, every step felt like a testament to our unwavering faith and determination.

The ascent to Dolma La Pass, at an altitude of 5,630 meters, tested our physical endurance and mental resilience. In this journey Bishnu , Ram,Ijan and me we four were trekking by ourself and other people were using horse.  The journey was tough, especially during the 10-day trek. From the start, the terrain was steep, and as we ascended, the air became thinner, making breathing harder. Walking, riding buses, eating, and chanting prayers to Lord Shiva, every step felt like a struggle. Sometimes, it felt like my breath was being held back, reminiscent of moments when oxygen seemed scarce. Oh, the relief when we finally reached the pass, exhaustion so profound that even capturing a picture seemed beyond the body's will. But beyond the pass, a downhill journey begins, the deep breaths of relief come, and I feel alive again.

Descending, sliding, victorious from the battle, I felt pride in myself, yet time seemed to stand still. At some point, I arrived at Parvati Kund, capturing another picture from above, then descending into the valley. Despite having food to eat, the experience of hunger arose after the descent began.

Even riding a horse in this descent seemed to require endurance in this steep terrain. Seeing the impossibility of not being able to descend, a thought kept playing in my mind, "Pilgrimage isn't just for the elderly, but a necessity at this age too."

After conquering the challenging journey, there was still a two-hour walk ahead, our journey not yet complete. Obligated to continue, we trudged forward. Some of our companions had planned to ride their horses, but due to Tibet's strict regulations, only those with booked horses could ride; no one else was permitted.

Day 6: Reflections and Gratitude
Laughing, smiling, we reached Jutulpuk, the final destination of our journey. From there, our journey back began, reversing our steps from where we came.

The sights at Kailash were truly magnificent. Some claimed to have seen fish, some elephants, some Lord Ganesha, and even Lord Shiva himself. Kailash has four distinct faces, each with a different shape, and each shape holds its own significance. According to the Vishnu Purana, the four faces of this mountain are made of crystal, ruby, sapphire, and gold, representing natural symbols of beauty. Situated amidst six mountain ranges, this sacred mountain is also considered a symbol of the lotus flower.

As our journey drew to a close, we found ourselves filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the experiences we had shared and the bonds we had formed along the way. Under the guidance of Gopal Thapa and the team at Leaf Holidays, we had embarked on a pilgrimage that had touched our souls and transformed our lives in ways we could never have imagined.

As we bid farewell to Mount Kailash and the sacred lands that had been our home for the past week, we carried with us memories that would last a lifetime. Though our paths may diverge in the days to come, the bond we had forged in the crucible of pilgrimage would forever unite us as kindred spirits, bound by a shared sense of purpose and a reverence for the divine. Saying  goodbye to our newfound friends, we set out on the long journey back to Kathmandu, our hearts filled with memories that would last a lifetime.

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