My Kailash Mansarovar Experience

by Murli Menon CEO

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Valley of Flowers near Mangti (2997 metres)

I started the trek from Narayan Ashram to Mangti Nala (Ghatiapakkad) via Pangu, a distance of 10 km. It took me 6 hours to do this trek, through the Vallley of Flowers. The climate was pleasant to cold. I did not sweat even a little, though I was carrying my backpack weiging 9 kg. In addition to my clothes, I was carrying dry fruits, a torch, khadi kurtas, a walkman, digital diary, meditation tapes, an empty water bottle, candles, matchboxes, cold cream (in May),a digital camera, roasted potatoes and a jute bag. I made most of these purchases at Darsula in Nepal, which is across the bridge at Darchula. One can walk across the bridge, shop and return. No permits are needed to go to Nepal from Darchula.

The trek from Pangu to Ghatiapakkad, is along the banks of the river Kaliganga. I reached the ITBP camp at Ghatiapakkad, where information about my arrival had arrived by wireless. After a quick cup of black tea with the ITBP commandos, I started my slow and ardous ascent towards the next camp at Lamari. My objective was do the 13 km. Mangti to Lamari trek in 5 hours. I started at 4:00 a.m. from Narayan Ashram and descended 6 km. upto Gasgu by 7 a.m. From Gasgu, I took a slow and winding walk and reached Ghatiapakkad via Pangu by about 10 a.m.

While trekking from Mangti to Lamari, I passed through Malpa, the site of the famous landslide in 1998. The debris of this landslide, is still strewn about Malpa, as the terrain makes it impossible to evacuate the huge boulders lying on the banks of the fiercely flowing Kaliganga. Malpa is 8 km. away from Mangti and 5 km. away from Lamari. There is a small tea-shop at Shantivan where several flat rocks dot the landscape, lying on the banks of the river. I must mention that I meditated on these rocks to the soothing, gurgling sounds of the flowing mountain stream. After a short thirty minute break, I began trudging the hill, as it is dangerous to trek after 7:00 p.m. (when it gets dark). A combination of treacherous terrain, wet and slippery rocks, and cascading streams make night treks impossible. I passed several small Shakti, Devi and Shiva temples on the bridle path to Lamari. Some of the most beautiful waterfalls can be seen on this trek. It is worthwhile to make a note of the fact that, the other side of the river is Nepal. As the mountains of Nepal are uninhabited and the forests are reserved, it is a canopy of green, whereas the Indian side has thin forest cover, owing to rampant deforestation. I trekked the 13 km. between Mangti and Lamari in about 6 hours and reached the ITBP camp at Lamari by 3 p.m. I spent the night at the ITBP fibre-glass hut at Lamari and left for Bundhi at 9:00 a.m.


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