August 4, 2016 (Day 14) – Rest day at Taklakot
I woke up early in the morning all weary and tired from loose motions since the previous night. I was devoid of energy and medicines were more or less not working. In none of my treks, had I been this sick. I looked at the beautiful morning and found strength in sunshine. After having covered so many miles from Dharchula, I wasn’t going to give up at this stage. I had barely eaten anything apart from bananas and ORS. Being a doctor myself, I was able to judge my condition, but despite that the fighter in me did not want to give up. A lot of fellow Yatris also came forward to motivate me. I was crying in a corner thinking about my father and asking him to give me courage to complete the yatra on foot, which would be a homage to him. Perhaps it was destined for me to go through this suffering as part of a cleansing process before proceeding further towards the sacred land of Kailash. I called my husband and my mother who all encouraged and prayed for me. My situation did not improve the entire day, however, by night time my loose motions were contained and I felt better.
|First view of South face of Mount Kailash from Darchen after clouds cleared|
|Hotel at Darchen|
|Streets of Darchen|
|Moment at Rakshastaal|
|As we waited for darshan of Mount Kailash|
You need to pay China Visa fees on this day, which was USD $901 for us. Different committees like food, luggage, medical, bhajan were formed. I obviously was in the medical committee. Little did I know, I would be treating case of HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) and HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema) in coming days of Kailash Parikrama.
Everyone suggested that I take a pony for my Kailash parikrama but I was adamant to go on foot, so I refused. I slept with a prayer on my lips and harnessing my inner Chi in order to complete my Kailash parikrama on foot.
- Do not drink the local water and buy Bottled water instead. I had loose motions after drinking the local water.
- Keep your torch and headlamp handy.
- Carry light baggage because after crossing Lipulekh pass, you need to carry your luggage until you board the bus to Taklakot.
- Always keep your medicine bag with you preferably on pony of liaison officer.
- As China time is 2.30 hrs ahead of IST, you may want to adjust your watch.
- Drink adequate water and do not take AMS lightly.
- There is patchy WiFi available at Taklakot, so you may call your friends and family using WhatsApp or other services.
August 5, 2016 (Day 15) – Taklakot to Darchen via Rakshastaal and Lake Manasarovar
Got up at 5am in the morning and thankfully had no loose motions at night. I awoke feeling weak and exhausted as we were already at the altitude of around 13500 ft. Had 2 bananas for breakfast and someone came and put bhasm (holy ash) on my forehead. At that moment, I knew that divine masters were with me and I would be able to complete my Kailash parikrama on foot. We all sang the Om Managalam bhajan and left in bus at 10.30 am CST (China time) and reached Darchen at 1.30 pm. In bus, I was all exhausted and had little energy to even take out my camera. Darchen is at the altitude of around 15000 ft. It started to rain midway and upon reaching Darchen it felt as if rain gods would never leave us. The landscape was breathtakingly beautiful, dry, barren and enthralling. The cloud patterns, azure blue sky, wild horses and expansive landscapes. At that point, you really wish that time would stand still so you could continue gazing. Enrote I saw Rakshastaal and I was spellbound. It was huge and had little islands in between in hue of vibrant blue. We stopped here for 20 mins. It was bright and sunny as we roamed around.
|First View of Rakshastaal from Bus|
Rakshastaal means “lake of the demon”. It is also known as Ravana Tal, as it is considered to be the place of severe penance by Ravana. In Buddhism, Lake Manasarovar, which is round like the sun, and Rakshastal, shaped as a crescent, are respectively regarded as “brightness” and “darkness”. There are four islands in Rakshastal, named Topserma (Dose), Dola (the two biggest), Lachato (Nadzhado), and Dosharba. The islands are used by local people as winter pastures for their yaks. Rakshastaal covers a total area of 250 square kilometres (97 sq mi), at an altitude of 4,575 metres (15,010 ft).
Our next stop was Lake Manasarovar. My first glance at Manasarovar transported me to another world and all my illness vanished after washing my face with the holy water. Suddenly the weather deteriorated and our buses took us back to Darchen. We would later spend 2 nights on banks of Mansarovar at Qugu after completing our Kailash parikrama. Finally, we reached Darchen and my room mate was Vaijyanti Aunty. The south face of Mount Kailash is visible from Darchen, but due to cloudy conditions, we couldn’t have that glimpse upon reaching. Soon clouds gave way to clear skies and we had our first darshan of the south face of Mount Kailash. That moment can not be described in words, but only experienced.
|First view of Lake Mansarovar
- Never take kitchen staff as your porter even if they speak Hindi because they will abandon you mid-way and move on to reach the campsite towards end to cook food, which would leave you without your luggage and supplies towards the end.
- Most of the porters assigned are Tibetan who speak neither Hindi or English, so most of the communication is done in sign language. Make sure your luggage does not exceed 6-7 kgs at the most and tell them to walk with you.
- Take plastic bottles to carry Manasarovar jal and take M-Seal and tape/adhesive with you to secure the bottle cap.
- Female porters are more kind and considerate and would walk along with you.Dont forget to tip your porters adequately as they help you in such adverse conditions.
- For your parikrama lasting 3 days, do not forget to carry energy bars, medicines, warm clothes, rain gear in your day pack.