A Walk To Kailash

A Walk To Kailash

(A Brief of Kailash Mansarovar Trek)

I undertook the Kailash Mansarovar Trek from 06.07.16 to 31.07.16 and crossed two passes Lipulekh (5100 Mtrs) and Dolma (5610 Mtrs). Trek length was around 250 Km. Here is the detail with pic and videos for awareness and knowledge of others.

Ministry of External Affair organize the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra(KMY) every year. One can apply online and selection is done through lucky draw.  There are 3 routes available for going to Mt. Kailash: 1. Lipulekh Pass Uttarakhand (27 days) 2. Nathula Pass Sikkim (17 days) 3. Nepal (10 days) . First 2 are done by GoI. Lipulekh is most difficult and one has to walk around 250km in High Altitude mountains ranging from 3000m to 5610 mtr. You needs to be medically fit for going to this route but mental fitness matters most. Its a trans himalaya trek where you are going to cross the himalaya and reach the tibetan pleatu in chinese side.the endurance level of this trek is difficult as need to walk on slippery treks in heavy rain along with Kali river. One mistake or landslide can cost heavily.

Strict medical test is done by ITBP at new Delhi including VISA formalities and MEA Briefing. This take 3 days in delhi. Thereafter selected batch start journey from Delhi to Dharchula (954 mtrs) Uttarakhand by Bus. It takes 2 days. Dharchula town is divided by Kali River seperating India and Nepal. All further food and logistics  arrangement was done by Kumaon Vikas Nigam Limited.  ITBP jawans will escort you to China Border at Lipulekh pass in next 6 days. Daily you have to trek 20km to 30km. You will have Only one target trek whole day, eat, sleep and start again in the morning. Sometime did breakfast in 1.30am in night then got the food at 4pm which may be called lunch or dinner whatever. You have to stay at Sirkha (2560 Mtrs), Gala(2340 Mtrs), Budhi(2710 Mtrs), Gunji (3160 Mtrs), Navidhang (4260 Mtrs) at india side. There are beautiful waterfalls en route. Even some hot water springs. You have to stay at Gunji post for one day acclimatization as well as final medical test. Lipulekh pass is at height of 5100 Mtrs.   

At lipulekh Chinese officials will take over and you dont need to trek more as chinese have developed good infrastructure. You will be staying in Taklakot or Pulan in Chinese (4000 Mtrs) for next 2 days to acclimatize. It is a smart city with all the facilities. Next halt was at Darchen (4670 Mtrs) from where you get the first Glimpse of Mt Kailash. en-route there is Rakshas taal. Twin of mansarovar lake . Ravana prayed here so none takes bath here.  Kailash Parikrama or Outer cora starts from Yam Dwar. One has to cross yam dwar to escape death during cora. It takes 3 day and about 50 km of trekking.  Buddhists and Hindus make clockwise circuits while Bonpo (Chinese) pilgrims make anticlockwise circuits.The trek trail was pretty straight with occasional ups and downs. You have to walk the Lha Chu valley which means "Divine river" with Mount Kailash to  right (west face) and a small stream to the left. Deraphuk (5100 Mtrs) is the nearest place to Mt Kailash for night halt. Here one can go up to Charan Sparsh point(5200 mtr.) This is the nearest point where you can reach. Kailash is only 3 km from here. From here you can see the Mt Kailash of 1.5km heigh like a granite wall while all nearby mountains are devastated. The Glory of Kailash can be felt here.

The most difficult part of whole trek start next day when you have to cross the Dolma Pass at 5610 mtrs. Most difficult 3 km climb in less oxygen and less atmospheric pressure. This is the place where most of the casuality happens due to high altitude sickness like HACE and HAPE. Oxygen cylinders are recommended here. If you are walking then 4-5 layer of clothing with a wind sheeter is enough instead of heavy jacket in subzero temperature. You will be tested to your limits by the winds in opposite direction which gives tough time. The 45 degree slope was long and snow covered at most places with rocks and boulders strewn all over. This was really tough and challenging. Only 1 step was possible in a single breath. Dolma is home to the shrine of Goddess Tara Devi-Goddess of love and compassion.
Prayer flags and Mani stones could be seen at many places atop Dolma Pass. I too tied my daughters drawing there. We moved forward immediately from pass as staying there for long time may prove risky.There is small lake Gaurikund of pilgrimage importance at Dolma Pass. Next halt was at Zunzhuipu (4780 Mtrs) and Qugu (4784 Mtrs) Near holy Mansarovar lake. Its peripheri is 88km long and 24 km wide with average depth of 90 meters. Water is pure crystal clear. One could see the South face of Mount Kailash again. We had one extended day stay here. Took the holy dip. Then we moved to Taklakot again for our return journey to India via Lipulekh pass and Trek back to Dharchula in next 6 days and returned to Delhi. 


Earlier Kailash Mansarovar was being done mostly for pilgrimage reasons only but now trend has changed and people are also doing it as trekking expedition so more of the youngsters are coming forward. One can do this with moderate  fitness level.It feel fortunate, privileged and blessed to have undertaken Kailash Manasarovar Trek, The journey of a life time.

The 25 days journey to Mt Kailash has been summed up in this 9 minute Hyperlapse Infographic. Youtube link https://youtu.be/U5rfFRUcW1E

Day-wise GPS Log mapped on Google Earth for Kailash Mansarovar. Youtube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnkLhXIfWnA



My Kailash Mansarovar Trek has been featured in todays newspaper Dainik Bhaskar with pix we shot.. courtesy: Amitabh K Budholiya http://www.bhaskar.com/news/c-58-3138680-bp0851-NOR.html 

Here are the 360 degree pictures of Mt. Kailash available on Google Maps :
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7 Left Rakshas Taal, Middle Mt. Kailash and Right Mansarovar
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- By

Vinod Kotiya

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