As if the Mansarovar Lake was not enough, we now had to trek all the way to Mount Kailash. This would be a 14 km slow walk across mountain pathways and an icy desert. After our regular health checkup, we were ready for the trek. Some people took ponies. I, for one, used a local sherpa to carry my camera bag. The rest, I trekked on foot. The path was up and down but clean. The air was thin and so, we had to walk very slowly as not to tire ourselves. I was amazed to see local Tibetans rolling on all fours and then doing the Parikrama of Kailash. They were a tough lot. There was a halfway point that consisted of tents that served food and snacks. One could also rest here for a while. It was cold and chilly, and I was covered with my gloves and swollen headgear. It was here that I tasted Thukpa for the first time which is a kind of noodle soup that is very popular with the Tibetans. They also enjoy having salted tea which is very refreshing.
All of a sudden, it would start raining and even a hailstorm or two would pass us by. Luckily, I had my raincoat for the occasion and so, I could save myself from being totally drenched. It took us the whole day to reach our resting place for the night near Kailash. I covered 1 km an hour after crisscrossing streams and even a monastery. We finally made it by late evening. There was a feeling of achievement as I sat down with others to have a warm cup of tea. We again had to share rooms but it was ok. Tired and exhausted from the journey, I just crashed out for the night but not before I captured the Kailash on a full moon night from my room balcony.
In the morning, this rock with only ice and snow on can look towering with mist and white flaky clouds hovering on the top of its peak. It is truly a sight to behold. One friend of mine took a photo while doing sirsasana in front of it. We did the guru pooja overlooking the great mountain and meditated in its aura trying to absorb its energies and become one with the universe. This is the ultimate reality as Kailash is also known to be the centre of the universe. Meditating so close to it is a chance to be one with the universe.
Yaks and mountain dogs were omnipresent everywhere as we got used to taking the nature’s call near the stream flowing by. Next morning was a trek up towards Kailash to fetch water from the thin streams flowing down from the mountain. This was water coming directly from the icy Kailash and this water was the one that I have brought back with me. Luckily, it survived the trip with only a minor leakage but most of the water is intact. Walking on the meadows staring at the view and the vastness of the place, one became meditative instinctively. Being with nature is like coming back to your mother, one forgets all worries.
After spending two nights with Kailash, we made the long trek back to the point that we started from and thus, was the next leg of our trek. By the end of this, I had almost lost four kg in around 10 days which was quite an achievement and my camera was full of interesting photographs.