A Complete Guide to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Located at a distance of 865 Kms from Delhi, the Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar constitute one of the grandest of the Himalayan beauty spots. Rather, it is known for its religious importance amongst the devotees of Lord Shiva (a Hindu God). In fact, a special Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (KMY) is organized by Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, every year from the month of June-September. Every batch of this pious Yatra takes around 22 days to complete the Yatra, out of which 14 days are in Indian Territory and eight days are in the Chinese territory of Tibet. It should be noted that the total distance of KMY is 647 km (one side) in the territory and 243 km (one side) in the Chinese territory of Tibet.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is known for its religious importance, arduous nature and cultural significance. The Yatra includes a long trek, finding its way through high altitudes in freezing temperature involves courting danger and hard labor. IN stead of the arduous nature of the Yatra, pilgrims / devotees of Lord Shiva have been marching through the cold desert since time immemorial. This pilgrimage holds huge religious significance not only for Hindus, but Jains and Buddhists as well. The Yatra involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet above the sea level, under inhospitable conditions, including severe cold and rugged terrain. This may prove hazardous for those who are not physically and medically fit. In fact, the Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) has recognized KMY as a significant trekking expedition and may involve high risk to person or property. Therefore, before planning Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, a yatri or pilgrim is required to follow some guidelines. Read on to the following write-up and for the same.

Kailash Mansarovar

Image Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mansarovar.jpg

Religious Significance

For Hindus, Mt. Kailash is regarded as the mortal manifestation of Mt. Meru, a spiritual center of the universe and as per Hindu mythology, the Svarga or heaven is situated here and whoever pay a visit to this place gets cleaned of his sins. The Mansarovar Lake visit is also a part of the pilgrimage tour. Taking ritual bath in the lake are assured of reaching Lord Brahma’s paradise and drinking its holy water cleanse the sins of a hundred lifetimes. A pilgrimage to Mt Kailash includes circumambulating the holy mountain and the Mansarovar Lake.

Selection Process of Yatris

It is an arduous nature of the journey only physically fit people are eligible to apply. The applicant must not suffer from medical conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, epilepsy, heart disease, etc. The Yatris would be selected by MEA through a computerized selection process. Selected people will be informed about their selection / inclusion in a meticulous batch 3-4 weeks before their scheduled departure. Selected yatris will need to accumulate in New Delhi 3-4 days before the commencement of the Yatra. After the selection, the Yatris will need to qualify for the Yatra after passing two sets of medical tests. Yatris will have to undergo one more medical test to find out reactions to altitude trekking. This will be done at Gunji, after five days of the Yatra when the yatris have scaled around 3500 metres. Yatri who would be found medically unfit at Gunji won’t be permitted to continue the Yatra.

Indemnity Bond and Declaration

Apart from all, some formalities are also to be done. The selected yatris are required to sign an indemnity bond to the effect that they are going for this Yatra at their own risk. They will also be asked to sign the undertaking for evacuation by helicopter in case of emergency. Moreover, to the indemnity bond and the declaration, Yatris will also have to sign a consent form authorizing cremation of mortal remains on Chinese side if in case of death there. The pilgrims will also have to take care that their passport should be valid for at least six months as on 1 September 1, 2012.

Some Smart and Short Tips for the Trip:

  • Indian or Chinese authorities provide medical help, but you are advised to carry your own first aid kit with your essential medicines.

  • Pack Specified Clothes as per the given guidelines.

  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration while mountain climbing

  • Eat light food which would be rich in carbohydrates.

  • If feeling tired, do not push yourself to climb further, and take breaks in between the journey

  • Don’t drink alcohol and avoid smoking during travel to avoid dehydration

  • Climbing slowly is the best way to avoid altitude sickness and avoid arduous activity.

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