Lake Manasarovar – Part 4


Lake Manasarovar – Part 4

21st June 2005: Paryang to ManasarovarThe mood early in the morning was somber and people talked less often than before. It was pretty difficult to get over the whole incident and digest the fact that uncle was no more.
We left for Manasarovar 250 kms away via Mayum La pass(Elevation – 5151m/ 16895 feet).

The route to Manasarovar(map courtesy: ecotrek.com)

The last stretch was a small climb after which we got our first view of the Majestic Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar. It was the moment that we all were waiting for and was indeed a beautiful feeling. Prayer flags and Mani stones were placed (small area specially created) forming mounds as a mark of respect for the Holy Mountain and Lake. All vehicles reaching this point come to a halt only after circumnavigating the Prayer flags and Mani stones.
Prayer flags and Mani Stones

First view of Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar(pic courtesy: Prachee)

We waited there until all the 5 Land cruisers arrived (6th one had left for the border) and then headed closer to the lake. We pitched our tents on the banks, a good 500 meters away from the lake. I helped the guides in pitching the tents and got my muscles moving which had become stiff due to lack of activity.
Inside the tent

Later in the evening, I and my dad went to the lake and sprinkled some pure cold waters of Manasarovar praying for uncle’s soul to rest in peace.We were standing right in front of the Lake facing the Sun i.e west. To the south was Gurla Mandata and to the north was Mount Kailash(Abode of Lord Shiva) and in between the 2 giants was the colossal Lake Manasarovar. Elevation- 4550m/14924 feet.

Map showing Mount Kailash,Lake Manasarovar, Rakshas Tal and Gurla Mandata (map courtesy: ecotrek.com)


Lake Manasarovar

Gurla Mandata soaring over 7728m /25348 feet was spectacular and it was beginning to turn golden as the Sun began to set. While the 6714m/22022 feet Mount Kailash looked equally stunning. The lake or should I say sea, with small waves lashing the sand at our feet displayed various hues as one looked farther and farther away towards the horizon. Even the sky developed remarkable patterns with astonishingly beautiful colours leaving us flabbergasted. 4th time beat skipped 🙂

Gurla Mandata, Lake Manasrovar and Mount Kailash(pic courtesy:Prachee)
We turned around to see the Moon rise from east. Poornima-Full moon it was, that day. It started getting really cold and we returned back to our camp to have dinner.
That night, many ladies opted to stay out of their tents as they wanted to catch hold of a rare spectacle- the shooting star and they were fortunate to see one. I missed it 😦22nd June 2005: Rest Day at Lake Manasarovar

I wanted to see the Sun rise but unfortunately I couldn’t get up that early.


Sunrise (pic courtesy: Prachee, 2006 Yatra)

Bed tea was served and out I came from the tent. Brrrr….it was cold. I went into the kitchen tent to have some hot water and saw the cooks preparing breakfast for us. Those men were really terrific.
Campsite, Manasarovar



It was rest day at Manasarovar so that we could take the holy dip and perfom Pooja. Meanwhile, we also waited for our guide to return from the border. And late in the afternoon, they arrived. Seemingly stressed out and tired, I asked him, “how are u?” He gave me a smile and said, “don’t worry, I am alright.”It was now time to dive into the cold waters of the Lake. Basant(guide) said that we should have taken bath early in the morning when the water was less cold. As the day progresses the melt snow enters the lake making the water colder. I got a serious chill down my spine right there.

But nothing could be done now. I was the first to enter the lake while my dad kept shooting. The water was pretty ok when I first stepped into it and it was pretty shallow too. I had to immerse myself completely and there wasn’t sufficient water to do so. I walked deep inside the lake till I felt that the depth sufficed. I took 2 dips successfully and just couldn’t complete the 3rd one properly. I could sense my body temperature coming down drastically. I came out of the lake quickly and had myself covered in a towel for a few minutes. But naturally, I had goose bumps all over my body.

I then took over the camera and it was dad’s turn to take a dip. He managed to take 3 dips but none got him completely immersed…haha…at least I was better off on that front.

In the evening we performed Pooja sitting close to the lake facing Mount Kailash. Mount Kailash- The Abode of Lord Shiva-The Center of the World. The unruffled ambience evoked immense spirituality leading to ecstasy of salvation. It was an amazing feeling!



Pooja on the banks of Lake Manasarovar

Sunset was magnificent that evening. Nothing can beat high altitude Sunsets and Sunrises. Look at the first pic below. The peak peeping is Mount Kailash.

That day was Mr.Naik’s birthday. A pleasant surprise was waiting for us. We saw a big cake and a big pizza on the table inside the kitchen tent that night. Hats off to the cooks. They even managed to prepare a dessert in the cold desert 🙂

23rd June 2005: To Darchen after Parikrama of Lake Manasarovar Overnight change in weather caused frost to settle on our tents. The sunny and bright sky then, looked dull and gloomy now. It was overcast and peaks were shrouded in clouds.

We began circumambulating Lake Manasarovar on our cruisers and headed towards Darchen (30 kms from Manasarovar, Elevation- 4560m/14957 feet) which is the base camp of Mount Kailash. En route we saw Trugu Gompa, Rakshas Tal and Chiu Gompa.

There’s a small tract which goes uphill from where one can view both the lakes simultaneously. To the west of Manasarovar lies Rakshas Lake-the demon lake or Lake of Ravana. It is believed that even birds and animals don’t drink water from Rakshas Tal. Nevertheless, it looked beautiful and at that point of time it was much bluer than Lake Manasarovar.

Rakshas Lake

We then headed towards Chiu Gompa located on a hilltop. The climb was tough.

Lake Manasarovar from Chiu Gompa
It took around 4 hours to complete the circumambulation of 100 kms which is the circumference of Lake Manasarovar. Now we were getting closer to Darchen.

Approaching Darchen, Mount Kailash view


We lost some time tackling a small stream in which we were stuck for 15 mins. Like all cruisers, our cruiser too entered the stream but like all cruisers, our cruiser didn’t make its way out. We were stuck right in the middle of the stream.

Saachi (driver) opened the door. Without putting his feet in water, he made his way onto the bonnet, then stood on the mudguard, opened the bonnet, repaired the fault and came back inside the car the same way. Mind u, he had still not put his feet in water. Key turned, car started and we were out of the stream. Mi-nd-Bo-gg-li-ng stuff!Another cruiser broke down some kms before Darchen. It then had to be towed. We reached Darchen by 3 pm and stayed in guest houses.

View of Gurla Mandata from Darchen
There were quite a few shops in Darchen. Dad bought himself a stick for the trek, a torch and a monkey cap. It was really very cold there.
The weather was still really bad and it looked like it might start snowing any moment. We prayed for a bright sunny next day as we hit our beds.
Click here to go to Part 5
[ Published under the author’s permission ]
[ Original publication at www.kailashmanasarovaryatra.blogspot.com on September 13, 2007–the readers are requested to express their comments on the original Blog as mentioned above ]
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4 Responses

  1. Please send me the details if there is trekking thpogh badrinath,mansarovar,kailas.or by INdian route to this place

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  2. im doin a documentary on manasarovar, im interested in rakshaas taal. any thoughts or experiences?

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  3. Kindly contact Anand (the author) at his mail address (provided in About the authors page) for any query..
    Thanks for your kind visit…

    Wandering souls…..

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  4. Manasarovar yatra gaining popularity now-a-days.The reason behind that many one taking the shelter from physical word to spiritual world and get the mental satisfaction.You can take this trip from hyberabad also. http://www.mansarovartrip.com/

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