My Kailash Mansarovar Experience

by Murli Menon CEO

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Narayan Ashram (2889 metres)

From Kausani, I went to Bagheshwar, Baijnath and Chakouri for short breaks. Baijnath is home to an ancient Shiva Temple, similar to the Jyotirling at Jageshwar. The unique feature at Baijnath is a huge round stone, which has to be lifted by nine people by using their thumb. It is believed that wishes of devotees are fullfilled, if nine thumbs are able to lift the heavy stone. It is important to mention here, that I was among the few groups of nine, who successfully lifted the stone, and I mentally visualised myself infront of Kailash, while suggesting to myself that "I am reaching Kailash Mansarovar", as we were lifting the stone.

Chakouri is a small forest, with a close-up view of Trishul and a panaromic view of Kumaon Himalayas. The KMVN guest house at Chakouri is a great place for bornfires in the night, as there is a nip in the air, even in mid-May. I visited the Kali temple at Gangolihat (a Shaktipeeth) managed by the Kumaon regiment and Patal Bhuvaneshwar (a maze of underground caves with natural limestone formations), which are a short drive away from Chakouri.

Patal Bhuvaneshwar is nothing short of a miracle, as inside this labyrinth of caves, one sees natural rock formations representing Sheshnaag holding the universe on its hood, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Parijat tree, Nandi, Kali and Durga. The entire spectrum of creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe is depicted through the language of rock. It is a little difficult to descend into the cave owing to its tiny entrance, but once you are in the cave, minutes turn into hours, as you explore the natural rock formations.

From Chakouri, I went to Didihat, which is the headquarters of the 21st battalion of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). My objective in reaching Didihat, was to meet the commadant of ITBP and obtain more information about the trek to Kailash and arrange for my accomodation at ITBP camps till Nabhidang. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Kundan Singh Bisht, adjunctant commandant of ITBP, who sent a wireless message to all their camps upto Nabhidang, informing about my proposed visit and making arrangements for my accomodation at ITBP camps enroute. I agreed to conduct stress management workshops for ITBP personnell at the camps where I stayed at. The next thing needed was an inner line permit, which is mandatory for all Indian residents visiting Nabhidang. The inner line permit is issued by the Special District Magistrate (SDM) at Darchula.

From Didihat, I proceeded to Darchula and met the SDM, Mr. Manoj Kumar, who issued me a two-month long inner line permit, so as to enable me to complete my research work on "eco-tourism in Uttaranchal". After arming myself with this permit, I proceeded to Narayan Ashram, a picturesque Ashram, established by Guru Narayan from Ahmedabad, near the last motorable point enroute to Mansarovar. I recharged my energies through Shanti meditation for about eight hours, mentally preparing myself for the 110km. trek that lay ahead of me.

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