It’s More Fun in a Group than Going Solo: The Kailash Odyssey

The Kailash trip with Satguru was a markedly different experience for me as I was going on a group trip along with other devotees unlike my trips around the world which are generally solo. At first, I was a bit jittery and uncomfortable with the whole morning pujas, meetings and watching Satguru’s talks on video. I thought even the coordinators were too interfering but in a few days, I also felt in line. After missing a few group meditations, I was ticked off and I soon followed suit. The homely feel and the warmth of the group touched me as well as the support that people gave each other. After all, everyone should make it to Kailash. That was our goal. The doctors, the cooks, the coordinators and our local helpers each performed their tasks as we moved from city to city in Lhasa singing, dancing and playing antakshari in our luxury bus.

We, however, put on our seat belts and quietened down at the check posts and no one talked about the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan struggle as this might offend the Chinese. I had changed my dollars for Yuan, the local currency at the airport. One dollar gives 6 Yuan. I bought my gloves, socks, raincoat and other pollens in Saga in a local supermarket. Yes, you can leave your shopping until the end and buy stuff in Tibet itself. Lhasa has a huge market and a bustling open market where one can shop for most things. When venturing out into the city, we were asked to be in groups of four just to make sure that no one got lost. I happened to break a shower in the bathroom and duly paid for it. Apart from that, I kept out of trouble. It was only while taking the nature’s call in Mansarovar did I feel threatened by wild dogs. Even then I knew that I was part of a group and would be safe.

We shared our stories and snacks with each other. Everyone had a singular goal to make the yatra fruitful and spiritually fulfilling so that we could take a little bit of Kailash with us when we return home. At the end of the trip, we performed a short funny skit for the groups and thanked as well as rewarded our handlers and the local Tibetan staff for their effort. I was busy sending the photos to others through social media and blog links. It was a warm feeling of mutual encouragement and support. I was proud that I did the entire trek without the need of a pony or oxygen. I braved with nature and came out triumphed.

The parivar feeling was there and I know that I will go back to Isha again as I seem to have tasted something sweet there. This was one experience where being with a group made all the difference.

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