Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2004

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Hor-Chu Camp in the final day morning
The two big tents were the seasonal shops / tea-tents for the visiting pilgrims and the tibetan drivers / guides. The place is a ecological wreck with several broken beer bottles!

The Gurla Mandhata Mountain across the Lake Manasarovar
Bidding good bye to Lake Manasarovar.

Final Pranams to Mt. Kailash from Hor-chu
And bidding good bye with pranams to Holy Mt. Kailash

The Drivers can get fatigued!
The Yatris in the vehicle did escape unhurt but definitely shaken. Life goes on! This vehicle is not from our convoy.

The Mountains 'Abhishekam!'
Landscapes are vast and awesome enough to see entire mountains getting drenched and deserts greening up!

Rain, Rain Everywhere!
The Photo is small and deceptive - closely observe the miles of light and cloud shadows! As well as the big sand dune!

Our group!
My co-travellers for this parikrama - they too had booked from the tourist agency I used for this yatra. To my left are Laurence and Didier from France, Jennifer from USA and Saran from Bangkok, Thailand.

The Yatra Diary

Day 10: Wednesday. 4th August 2004
From Hor-Chu, Manasarovar to Paryang

Next morning we were up lazy but hustled. Camps packed, we moved back to Paryang. The land cruisers had their quota of problems and so did the trucks. And there were rains along the way - road breaches as well as river overflows. Absorbed in the experiences of the parikrama, we silently travelled back. We reached Paryang in the evening but the trucks reached late in the night and therefore it was decided that we stay within the village in an Inn. Rains spoilt further ado. The after-effects of the Parikrama was very visible - enjoyable silence and solitude.

Meditations on Sri Dakshinamurthy

     Acharya Shankara composed a very profound poetical meditation on Sri Dakshinamurthy - the South faced Shiva - youthful and silent enlightening his disciples, aged, in pursuit of Truth! The essence of 'advaita', this 'stotra' captures the highest vedantic expressions comprehended by the human mind. Articulated below is an abridged version of the poem, I have simplified and in that process lost out some of its profoundity.

At Darchen, one gets to have the 'darshan' of the south face of Mt. Kailash - silent, pure white and static - where time stops!.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who experiences in one's Self, the Universe contained within Himself as the image of the city seen in a mirror but taken as the true - aided by 'Maya'.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who spreads out, like a magician or great yogi, by one's own will and maya, the universe, like in a germ of a seed or the vastness of space and time!

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who directly enlightens sadhakas with the vedic 'mahavakya' 'that-twam-asi' and whose direct look blesses one to permanently experience the reality even as one sees the appearances of fictitious notions.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, whose true spiritual wisdom gushes forth from the entire persona quietly, like the strong light of the lamp placed within a pot with several holes - seen sometimes and unseen otherwise - and when His knowledge thus shines, the entire universe shines.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who instantly destroys the terrible infatuation created by Maya that makes one identify oneself into limitations like body, 'prana', senses, nothingness etc and err in claiming to be a 'Man', 'Woman', 'Child'. 'Idiot' or the 'Blind'.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who in deep sleep with the quiescence of the thought waves and senses is the True Self eclipsed by Maya like in the eclipse of the sun , and with the continuing hold of maya, on waking up, remembers to have slept well.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who through the 'Chin mudra' gesture reveals to the devotee as the ever present inner true 'I' even as the devotee apparently goes through states of limitations like childhood, waking etc.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who deludes Himself by maya and arrives into this world as a human that sees and believes - the cause-effect reasoning as well as limitations like parent, child, guru, shishya and their relationships; as well as the human that experiences the states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep even while continuing to be the True Self.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who manifests in multiple forms comprising the elements - earth, water, fire, air, space, Sun, Moon and the person in the act of sacrifice; as well as manifests as this universe of movable and immovable even while being the Supreme Omnipresent.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who as the Teacher of the three worlds - destroys this maya of births and deaths - and visualized by the devotees to be youthful and silently seated with the aged disciples under the banyan tree - is the supreme holy silence that answers questions and doubts even as they arose in the minds of the disciples.

Salutations to Guru Dakshinamurthy, who is the embodiment of the pranava mantra - 'Om' - is pure, calm and true knowledge - is abode of all learning - the physician who cures those afflicted by 'samsara'!

Day 11: Thursday. 5th August 2004
From Paryang to Saga

Next morning, got up, had breakfast packed and got on the move. On the way, the quota of transportation problems hit us again. Additionally, several rivulets had breached the 'roads'. And tour guides and tourists (and we) had to tackle them, filling up the breaches manually (for none other than us existed in that place at that time - the vast space around makes this experience very different).

We reached the town of Saga in the evening but the heavy rains had spoilt all camping places - all soggy - so much that again we decided to stay in an inn. Even this place was soggy and pathways muddy. These Inns are typically a row of mud-built rooms - brightly painted walls and uneven mud floor, in a rectangular compound, with about 3 or 4 cots in each. A single lit bulb and a big hot water flask are the additions.

Some rooms are used as kitchen by the travelling party. The beddings include a mattress and quilt to keep out the cold. There is a just a common toilet at one of the corners of the compound. Toilets in these Tibetan Inns are very different structures - elevated parapet walled open potholes with a big under-cavern that accumulates human wastes - most visitors try avoiding it unless urgent. Camp life with toilet tents was better.

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© 2004. T S Mohan, Bangalore. All Rights Reserved.