This article is the continuation of Part I and here is all the information required for a person to take up this fabulous expedition of Mansarovar.
Mansarovar Lake is one of the most beautiful sights of nature. The lake has crystal clear azure colored water and is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, making it one of nature’s most beautiful ornaments. The name Mansarovar comes from the Sanskrit words ‘Manas’ meaning mind and ‘Sarovar’ meaning lake. It is believed that the lake is a creation of Lord Brahma’s imagination before he set about creating the universe. Resting at 15,000 feet above sea level, the lake is quite large, with a surface area of 400 square kilometers, and a maximum depth of 90 meters. As to answering the question about where is Mansarovar Lake, it is located in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China, some 900 kilometers away from Lhasa. The freshwater lake and another of its geographical neighbor in Kailash Mountain is of immense religious importance to Hindus, Buddhists, and Jainis.
The religions that hold Kailash Mountain and Mansarovar Lake in the highest of regards have their own versions of the Kailash Mansarovar history. Hindus believe it to be the earthly manifestation of heaven and the abode of Lord Shiva. The Puranas go on to say that the four facades of the rugged mountain ranges are made of crystal, ruby, gold and lapis lazuli. They consider it as the center of the World Mandala, and that it is located at the heart of six mountain ranges symbolizing a lotus. Tibetan Buddhists believe it to be the home of Buddha Demchok, and Jainism considers it as the site where Rishabdeva attained salvation from rebirth.
Facilities for Manasarvoar Kailash Pilgrims
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is an important pilgrimage for Hindus, Buddhists, Jones and Tibetan Bons. The pilgrimage is made by thousands of humble and faithful pilgrims, who make the tricky journey every year. The starting point is either Lhasa or Kathmandu, from where one can rent a jeep to the Tibetan plateau.
Best time to make Manasarovar Kailash yatra
The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from India is conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs every year between the months of June and September. People can apply for the pilgrimage by filling a form. Selection will be done based on age, health conditions of the individuals. The difficult and dangerous nature of the journey means that only the physically fit and those who have no health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. are able to make it to the selection list. There is a preparatory period of 3-4 days in Delhi. The adverse weather conditions and the rugged nature of the terrain make the trek one of the most dangerous treks in the world. The “yatris” are made to sign an Indemnity Bond and Declaration, stating that they are embarking on the journey on their own risk and that the Government of India is not responsible for any accidents/calamities that might befall them enroute to Kailash Mountain.
Support by the Government for Manasarovar Kailash Yatra
The Government of India promotes this pilgrimage in the form of free medical assistance, security and escort cover by Indo-Tibetan Border Police till the last point of the journey in India, which is Lipulekh Pass. Other than that, some state governments offer monetary subsidies to the yatris from their state. Gujarat, Karnataka, and UP are among the states who offer this subsidy, with Gujarat offering Rs 50,000 to the yatris.
Facilities available enroute
Pilgrims have been making the journey since a long time now, which has led to there being refreshment kiosks, benches and resting places installed at certain points in the circumambulation of Mount Kailash. There are a few monasteries that provide accommodation, but they might not always be available.
What you need to carry
Yatris are therefore required to carry their own tents and food supplies. The most important thing to carry on this trek is a medical first aid kit, which should contain medicines to primarily treat fever and body aches. The inhospitable weather conditions make proper clothing the most important item in the yatris’ inventory.
The Journey to Mansarovar Lake
The main pilgrimage starts only on reaching the footholds of Mount Kailash, which is quite an arduous task in itself. Once there, pilgrims go around the entire 52 kilometers of Mount Kailash’s circumference in order to complete the circumambulation of the sacred mountain peak. Doing so is said to absolve one of all their sins and bring good luck in their lives thereafter. However, no one ever sets foot on the mountain, for that is considered a sacrilege in all four religions. The journey around it usually takes around 3-4 days, with some of the more committed and faithful pilgrims completing the journey in under a day, which is an extremely laborious task. The pilgrimage ends with a dip in the sub-zero waters of Mansarovar Lake, and the pilgrim comes out a new and spiritually enlightened person out of the serene freshwater lake.
About Manasarovar Lake
Kailash Mountain is around 6,700 meters high and is located in one of the most rugged and isolated parts of Himalayas. The weather conditions are extreme and the terrain is ruthlessly rugged, but still, thousands of pilgrims take on the daunting task of completing the journey every year. The scenic views around the mountain ranges and the aesthetic beauty of the Mansarovar Lake are a true spectacle to witness. Stocked with their faith and the will to cleanse themselves of their sins, the pilgrims make this journey and achieve oneness with the Almighty in the process. The mountain peak is said to be the home of Lord Shiva, the destructor, and regenerator of the universe, and in making the pilgrimage, pilgrimage indeed undergoes the two processes both physically and mentally. They break their bodies to achieve good health and destroy their sins to create a peaceful life.