PILGRIMAGE TO KAILASH
Manasarovar & Kailash
Right from my childhood, my great-grandmother told me many wonderful stories about Manasarovar. I thoroughly enjoyed these stories, but I never believed one word of them. So when I made the first trip to Manasarovar in 2006, I made it for the sheer adventure of it because people told me the drive is so fantastic and so arduous. And I love to drive through this kind of rough terrain where it is 5 percent paved road, 10 percent unpaved road and the rest — no roads. It is a driver’s dream and a passenger’s horror. I did not come to Manasarovar for any spiritual reasons, but what I witnessed just beat all the logic in my head. I have encountered many situations one cannot believe, mystical dimensions stranger than fairytales, but still, I was not prepared for what I saw. Now I am willing to believe any toothless old grandmother’s story because what is happening there beats all the tall stories you might have heard. It is just unbelievable, unbelievable.
Though I have been to Manasarovar year after year, it still continues to intrigue and amaze me in ways that defy articulation. What happens upon the lake between 2:30 am and 3:45 am is so startling and powerful. Though I was dead beat after a 19-hour drive through the most treacherous terrain that you can drive through, and went to bed at about midnight, I unknowingly sat up at exactly 2:30 am. The dogs in the region seemed to become very nervous exactly at this time and no one can miss their anxious barking that continues for hours.
The morning process at Manasarovar was pushed back a few hours because of heavy rainfall. So just after the process was complete and many of the participants were taking their dip in the lake, I jumped back into the Land Cruiser and headed for Kailash to meet up with another group of trekkers who were already there.
Reaching Shershong later than we should have for the trek to the base of Mount Kailash, and with a certain amount of time wasted in solving some logistical bottlenecks, it was already after 3 pm when I started the trek. And at over 16,000 feet, have to walk with restraint. I trekked one-third of the way and had the first glimpse of Kailash. As usual, something takes over me and from there on it’s not me – just Him. Without a stop, I go up as if downhill and in just over four hours, I am there.
The whole reason why you make a pilgrimage like this is to understand and experience that there is something beyond what you logically know in this world as ‘real’. Either you remain within the limitations of your logic or you taste the magic. The logical will handle the mundane, which you must take care of. But at the same time, a point should come where you are willing to leave logic aside and taste the magic of life. Otherwise, life will remain mundane and nothing beyond it will ever touch you.
Kailash is a phenomenon like no other; its mysticism, its magic, its beauty, above all, in its magnitude, there is no comparison to this sacred being. I call Kailash a ‘being’ as it is more present than you and me.