Visiting Tibet as tourist or pilgrim is one of the exciting traveling one can venture. It can be a life time experience. In the east, it is said that a person cannot visit a holy place, but the holy place should call him. Then only the desire to visit a holy place arise in his/her heart. In my feeling and experience, I can for sure say that some unknowable presence of the beyond is always there in the trip, the whole endeavor to reach to the destination and the path itself becomes mysterious. This sacred presence is felt in every step, in every stone, corner. The more one becomes relaxed, the more joyous the path becomes.
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Another moment to mark, the health is important but the psychological endurance and accepting situation with positivity is the first and foremost factor to keep energy in balance.
We last year had very nice trip to Tibet. The began on 25th Aug 2012. We were in Tibet for 12 days. The company that has taken no stone unturned to make our tour comfortable. The company ‘Osho World Adventure’ had picked a nice group of Sherpa cooks for our vegetarian food. There were really professional in their job. Because of it, we would feel cozy when the day would end. They would reach before us and serve warm soup and offer other varieties.
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We were 15 friends altogether. 11 friends were from Russia. Most of them from Tyumen and others from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Especially, Asheesh from St. Petersburg who could not see. Including him in our group had made our tour special in all respect.
We started from Osho Tapoban where friends would acclimatize themselves in Himalayan environment. In fact the group was physically and psychologically prepared to certain extend. We started in the morning from Tapoban and reach Tatopani before noon. Changing money in Yuan was not a problem. Right at the customs were people offering as they say the best exchange rate. We crossed the friendship bridge in a queue as registered on the list. You can feel a certain disciplined way of working of the Chinese.
The Tibetan guide was handed over the list and he introduced us as the Tibetan guide and assured that he will try his best to make our tour comfortable and he has the expertise in it. He was from north-east of Tibet and he said that to reach his home he needs to travel 2 days from Khasa.
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We cleared out the customs and started loading our things in the jeep. We started our drive to the Zhangmo bazaar and all of sudden one of our group member Pavel noticed that he left his handbag with documents in customs toilet. Of course a sort of panic situation….In such situation panic reactions won’t help. We had to return to the place where the bag was left hanged. Fortunately, this situation short-lived. The bag was found hanged as it was left and untouched. We learnt the first lesson to be more aware of what you carry and where you are.
Then We halted for few hours in Khasa Bazaar (Zhangmo in Tibetan) to have noodles to make our way to Nyalam. Nyalam is about 3700 m high. It really takes a while to feel comfortable in such a height. We stayed there 2 nights. In Tibet the more you becomes natural and accept the situation without expecting certain comfort then you can go through any situation without much disturbances. As Lao-tzu says the real traveler is he, who does worry about of the destination but enjoys the path itself. I find this approach profoundly helpful while touring Tibet.
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Then the next point for our stay was Saga. We reached Saga. Natasha from Moscow was feeling bad. She looked pale. We took her to the small clinic and the doctor offered her to saline and oxygen for 3 hours. Later she recovered. We took shower to the heart’s content in public shower. Light and clean we had food, listened Osho’s discourse and slept.
Next destination was Paryang. We enjoy the road, scenarios, hilly passages, Tibetan people and their small village settled near water ponds and lakes. Today even the life there moves without comparing itself with noting. Life itself seems sufficient there. It has its own pace with gods. We were trying to learn that art, but there was irresistible invitation to stop and take photos, make stupas of the many stones by putting one stone on the top of the another.
We did not stay in Parayng as we felt to reach Mansarovar and stay there for 2 nights instead of staying in Parayang. As planned we reached south-east corner of Mansarovar and had first glimpse of Mt. Kailash. We bowed down to the majestic Lake Mansarovar which was sparkling with crystal water and Kailash standing gorgeously. Each could feel the pull. This pull was a call. A call to touch the untouchable, intangible.
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We stayed in Chugumpa – in a small hotel at the distance of 100 meters from the lake and around a kilometers from the grand Chugumpa monastery. It is said that the first Guru Ripoche Padmasambhav who come here from India through Nepal in 7th century to turn this land into new religion based on compassion. He had to encounter the Bon priests and their rituals. There are many stories about the feet of the Rimpoche and how he overcame the challenges. These stories pass the courage and power of the Rimpoche. It is said that Padmasambhav stayed there of his last 10 days before leaving his body. It is also said that another great master Milarepa also stayed there and meditated in the cave of the monastery. This monastery was almost destroyed in cultural revolution. But restored later by the Government by adding new buildings there.
From the top the monastery one can see the Lake spread over the land and aliveness of the water, hide and seek of the sun, clouds and wind.
We reached Chugumpa. A slight rain started and grand double rainbow over the lake appeared and stayed over half an hour. A mysterious and sacred feeling overpowered all of us. We were told that this is good sign. In local language such omen mean ‘Gods have accepted us’.
We made our prayers and lit the candles. Everything was powerful. We had bath in the lake. Collected the water. Everything was divine.
The on the 6th day we started for Kailash Kora and had to stay one night in Darchen. I saw signboard of a hotel in Russian. It shows the influx of the Russian friends interested to do Kora of Kailash. Next morning we stared in Jeep for the Kora. After crossing Yamadwar and small stream we reach the initial point from where the Kora on foot starts. We had a small piggy bag for water and some dry fruits. The luggage was loaded on the back of Yak by the guides. The walk itself is very hilarious. You have to walk clockwise along the river side between great mountains. Scenic beauty and grandeur can hardly be exaggerated. Innumerable water fall on the left and great mountain circling the Kailash on the right and you sometimes have to cross the streams coming from them.
While walking, on the way, or the first time you can have a majestic eastern view of the Kailash.
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You can see traveler returning as not been able to make a Kora for various reasons mainly of health. Also you meet many Bon followers making Kora anti clockwise. We rested half an hour after we walked half the way to take tea in the tent as there was slight rain. At the end of this 9 km walking of the first day, we had to face heavy rainfall just before reaching guesthouse in Dirapuk (4750m). We were fully wet as we were not fully prepared for sudden change of weather. Water from the roof was leaking but we had beds to rest. As soon as we entered the room, a nice sun shine graced. I and our guide Khagendra changed clothes and climb up to see the north-east face of Kailash. We climbed. Instead of taking standard root we crossed the stream and moved to the other side and forwarded up. We reach the top of a hill from where we had very cinemascopic view of Mount Kailash. We found there a small temple built recently and wrapped by prayer flags. We also saw very beautiful birds waking around. Had many photograph taken. Staying there for half an hour we had to descend back as the clouds were promising again rain.
Back at the guesthouse, I could not slept whole night. I had a little fever and so deeply the mind was in unrest. I was changing poses trying to fell asleep. In the morning I slept for an hour. During night, I cried and had to utter something very authentic to myself. At this state of fever and restlessness I word ‘Nomind’ flashed me. I said to the Mount Kailash – ‘Nomind’.
Next day morning, it was raining again. We had to start at 9 am, but we waited till it was 10. The second day is the one of the hardest for Kora. You walk almost 19 km and pass the highest pass on the mountain. Patience is what it needs. I had suggested myself to climb and I climb the path up of 4 km without stopping taking short steps and just looking few meters ahead. This gives mind a great endurance and you really feel yourself light and not tired. Few took horse to climb it. But for the constant climb, horse ride may be not as easy as it looks.
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We reached first among the group to Dolmala pass, 5700m.
Tibetans say if you cross this pass you pass your death and entered into another realm. People leave the articles like prayers flags, pictures, list of names person you want to wish good for. We stayed there for an hour to wait for everybody of our group to reach the pass. We meditated by sitting silently. You feel a void and thoughts seems really meaningless there. May be this is another dimension you entered there. Then you start descend and can see down on the right of the trail beautiful bluish Gaurikund. From a little down you see Horseheads shaped mountain. In hindu purana it is mentioned as a god Hayagriva, Tibetan called it Tamdrin. Hindu says that this incarnation happened to retold Vedas to restore it and Kagyu Tibetan accept this form as the form of compassion symbolizing enlightened speech.
Then you descend sharply and reach the stream and by its side you walk down to reach Dzutulpuk. I really enjoyed listening Osho on the way. While walking it seems that you never reached the destination. Your destiny is to walk and walk and walk. A cool situation for the mind…..
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We reached the guesthouse and just fell down on the bed. We had soup and noodles and got cut off the world in deep sleep.
Next morning after light breakfast, we started for Darchan. We walked around 6 km and reach a point where we were received and welcomed by our guides and drivers. We took group photographs there as a memory to mark our successful Kora of the Kailash. After driving for few Kilometers we reach Darchen. Rest there that night. The sun set was beautiful. The rays thrown all over engulfed everything with the palette of golden aura.
Then after 3 days we reached Osho Tapoban, Kathmandu.
We had only one thing: to enjoy. But we had friends who cooked for us and the guide who manages everything and the company Osho adventure that organizes it. It was an idea in the beginning, but to make it happen, Geteesha from Tyumen took trouble in her shoulders by informing friends and gathering a perfect group for it. Thanks for all who were with us.
For another Kora plz be with Osho World Adventure.