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By. Dr. V. Gouri Suresh

A long cherished dream was coming true – on 11th September 2016, my husband and I embarked on our pilgrimage to the holy Kailas-Manasarovar. From Kochi to Delhi to Kathmandu. Then to Nepalgung, and further to Simikot.

The next leg was by helicopter; it just landed on pebbles scattered everywhere. As the helicopter took off, we were surrounded by the beautiful mountains of Nepal. In twenty minutes, after a few dangerous turns, we landed at the Hilsa airport.

Near the airport was a hanging iron bridge over River Karnali. Chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaaya’, I walked on the shaking bridge. On the other side was Tibet, with mountains sans any vegetation.

Soon, we boarded a bus and began the three hour parikrama of Manasarovar, the highest freshwater lake in the world. Suddenly there appeared a huge lake on one side, with blackish blue water. Our tour manager told us, “Have your first darshan of Mount Kailas!”

And there it was, the holy Kailas, shining in all its silvery glory, behind the Rakshas Tal! The bus stopped. The wonderful sight brought to my eyes tears of joy and gratitude to the Almighty…

We re-entered the bus; soon, the azure blue Manasarovar came into view. I offered a silent prayer to the holy lake. In the bus, there was total silence – everyone, it seemed, had forgotten the worries of this world, and was imbuing the supernatural beauty of the sacred Manasarovar.

Dusk was approaching. Suddenly, Mount Kailas came into view again. It was turning golden, reflecting the soft ochre of evening sunrays…

At the Guest House, each time I stepped out into the courtyard, the mystic Manasarovar lay in the front, and the holy Mount Kailas to the left! Oh! I just do not have words to express my feeling of infinite gratitude to the Lord Supreme…

On 16th, we beheld with awe the astoundingly large sized full moon beyond the Sarovar. The next morning, after a holy dip, I hurried back to the shore, shivering from tip to toe. Behind a curtain of closely hung flags, I changed into dry clothes. All this happened as if in a daze.

Then we collected a few pebbles, each one believed to be a Shiva Linga, and sat on the shore, facing Mount Kailas. We arranged the pebbles in a neat pile, did Abhishek with water from Manasarovar, and conducted puja and Arati.

As it was not advisable for us elders to undertake the hazardous parikrama, we went only till Yamadwar. This was a small room, with two doors. After circumambulation, we went inside through one door and came out through the other, signifying the end of one lifetime, and the beginning of another. It was a unique feeling.

Outside, I gazed at the south face of Mount Kailas, and saw clearly Lord Shiva’s face a little below the peak. Mixed emotions surged in my heart – anguish that I could not go for the parikrama, and, ecstasy and gratitude to God Almighty that I could do this much.

Finally, we returned from this ten day pilgrimage filled with memories of a lifetime…

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