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Mount Kailash. (Photo: MEA India) 

In Pictures: Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, an Icy Sojourn

“The idea of a pilgrimage is to subdue yourself”, this, just in time for the Kailash Mansarovar yatra. 

3 min read

(This article was originally published on 18 June 2015 and has been republished on the occasion of the first day of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.)

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra began on Friday, 8 July. There are two routes to undertake this journey — first, a trekking route through Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand that passes through Narayan Ashram, Patal Bhuvaneshwar, Chialekh Valley and the second is the Nathu La Pass in Sikkim which also has a motorable road.

Mount Kailash is located in the Tibetan Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. It is about 6,638 m (21,778 ft) high.

Why is it Important To Hindus?

According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva  is believed to have resided at the summit of Mount Kailash with his wife Parvati.

The Tibetan name for Mount Kailash is Gangs Rin-po-che. Gangs, in Tibetan, means snow peak, while rinpoche means the precious one. In entirety, the word means, the precious jewel of snows.

Lake Manasarovar, situated close to Mount Kailash, is a large freshwater lake. As per Hindu scriptures, Lake Manasarovar is so pure that it cleanses a man of all his sins.

The Ministry of External Affairs organises the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra under a Protocol signed between India and China in May 2013. The MEA has been organising the yatra since 1981 through the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.

The Yatra is conducted between June and September every year. Through the new route, 5 batches of 50 members will undertake the journey for 23 days, while the earlier Uttarakhand route will have 18 batches. The trip costs roughly Rs 1.5 lakh. We asked a pilgrim about his experience so far.

The state governments of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Uttarakhand reimburse different sums of money to their residents to cover part of their Yatra expenses.

On 18 September 2014, the Governments of India and China agreed to open up an additional route of the Yatra through Nathu La in Sikkim. The new route is fully motorable, with the exception of the Kailash Parikrama.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Uttarakhand state government provide security cover on the Indian side.

The earlier Nepal route was undertaken by about 900 people every year and was very hazardous.

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