1. Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is known for its religious value, cultural significance, physical beauty and thrilling nature. It is undertaken by hundreds of people every year. Holding significance for the Hindus as the abode of Lord Shiva, it holds religious importance also for the Jains and the Buddhists.
2. The Yatra is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs every year between May and September. In 2012, the Yatra is planned to be arranged from 29 May to 25 September in 16 batches. Each batch will comprise a maximum of 60 qualified yatris, including a Liaison Officer to manage the batch. The duration of the ‘Yatra proper’ will be 27 days. Before beginning the ‘Yatra proper’, the yatris need to spend 3-4 days in Delhi to complete various formalities, such as undergoing mandatory medical examinations, obtaining Chinese visa, etc.
3. The Yatra is open to eligible Indian citizens who wish to proceed to KailashManasarovar for religious purposes.
4. Given the extremely arduous nature of the Yatra, only those who are physically fit and healthy should apply to undertake the Yatra. It involves trekking at high altitudes of up to 19,500 feet, under inhospitable conditions, including extreme cold and rugged terrain, and may prove hazardous for those who are not physically and medically fit. Yatris undertake the Yatra purely at their own volition, cost, risk and consequences.
Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra - Eligibility
Indian citizen aged at least 18 years and below 70 years as on 01.01.2012.
Body Mass Index (BMI) of 27 or less.
Physically fit and medically healthy:
An applicant should not suffer from medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, heart disease, epilepsy, etc. He/she is require to submit results of the latest medical tests with application form.
Selected applicant is required to undergo and qualify three comprehensive medical examinations, first two of which are conducted by Delhi Heart and Lung Institute (DHLI) and ITBP Base Hospital in New Delhi, and the third test to ascertain reactions to altitude trekking will be done by ITBP at Gunji after 5 days of the Yatra proper at a height of 3500 metres. No other medical certificates or test reports are accepted to qualify for the Yatra proper.
Selected applicant found medically unfit will not be allowed to proceed on the Yatra, and will forfeit the non-refundable deposit paid to Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) and the amount paid for medical examinations.
Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra - Expenditure & fees
The total cost of the Yatra will include the following:
Rs.27,000.00 (inclusive of Service Tax) to be paid to Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (KMVN). Out of the above amount, selected applicants will be required to deposit a non-refundable amount of Rs.5,000.00 (Rupees Five Thousand only) directly into Account No.90361010002716 of the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited held with Syndicate Bank, 21, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, IFSC Code No.0009036, by a specific deadline to confirm their participation in a particular batch.
Original proof of this deposit is required to be submitted to the Ministry of External Affairs along with the confirmation for participation. The balance amount will be required to be deposited with KMVN on arrival in Delhi to begin the Yatra.
Chinese Visa fee, as applicable, in cash (approximately Rs.400).
Rs.3,100.00 to be paid to Delhi Heart and Lung Institute to cover costs of medical examinations/tests in New Delhi. In case the applicant is required by the medical authorities to undergo a Stress Echo Test, an additional Rs.2,500.00 would be charged for that particular test from the yatri concerned. These charges are non-refundable even if the applicant is not able to undertake the Yatra eventually due to disqualification on medical grounds.
Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra - Some Tips
During electric storms, don't point upwards metallic objects like wireless aerials which can attract lightning. Also, keep away from conical rocks. Don't take shelter under a tree. Don't remain on the top of hills. Open space is safer. One can even sit down on a non-coducting sheet etc if one has.
Wear more thin clothes, instead of one or two thick clothes. Have a wind-cheater.
Practise walking with trekking shoes on before the yatra begins. Keep the shoes inside the sleeping bag during yatra nights, otherwise they may freeze.
Wear two socks: One woollen and the other cotton.
Feet must be dry. Use dusting powder. Wet shoes cause blisters.
Extremities like hands and feet must be protected against extreme cold. Exposure of extremities can lead to high altitude pulmonary oedema.
Take lots of water and fluids. Body needs a lot of energy.
Wear good sunglasses to protect eyes against snow blindness.
Apply sun cream or calamine lotion on exposed parts to avoid sunburn.
Cuts, blisters and ulcers need proper, urgent treatment.
Keep moving fingers, toes and facial muscles.
Stay close together to remain warm.
Begin trekking early in the morning.
Walk steady and always with a companion.
High altitudes kill appetite and can cause loose motions also. Do not neglect food.
Don't get separated from the group.
Don't sleep with the boots on.
Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra - A Sketch
Normally there are 16 batches of 35 pilgrims each every year. According to a time-table, the yatris are called to Delhi batch-wise. Officials brief them and they are put up at Hotel Indraprastha (Ashok Yatri Niwas). On return also they stay here, before they leave for home. Their first day in Delhi is for medical examination (second one), second day for payments and detailed briefings on the yatra and on the third day they can collect their visas and forex and set off.
The yatris reach Kathgodam (280 km) by bus. The second night they spend at Bageshwar (180 km). The following night halts after each day's trek are Dharchula (160 km), Gala (43 km), Budhi (20 km), Gunji (15 km), Kalapani (10 km), Navidhang (8 km), reaching Lipulekh (7 km) on the 9th day but the 9th night halt is at Taklakot across the border (19 km).
Trekking begins at Mangti, which lies between Dharchula and Gala. The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam makes all arrangements for accommodation, food etc at all the halts from New Delhi to Lipulekh Pass. Pucca barracks and pre-fabricated fibreglass huts are provided. Satisfactory toilet facilities, power supply for limited duration with generators, mattresses and quilts/sleeping bags are available. Ponies and porters, if needed, should be booked at Mangti for upward journey to Lipulekh Pass and at Lipulekh Pass while returning. Ponies and porters are not available in between. Officials advise everyone better hire a pony.
The Uttar Pradesh Govt makes arrangements for medical aid at all the camps in India. Two medical personnel accompany the yatris up to Gunji. Beyond this point, the ITBP takes care of the medical arrangements up to Lipulekh Pass.
All base camps in India are connected by a wireless network. A mobile wireless set also moves with the pilgrims up to Lipulekh Pass. This facility is not available for private messages. However, pilgrims can use the telephone facilities at Dharchula, Gala, Budhi, Gunji and Navidhang to contact their relatives. During the pilgrimage, a wireless link monitors the progress of the yatra on the Chinese side.
The MEA has a liaison officer for each batch. A medical officer is also supposed to accompany each batch. On the Chinese side, no doctor accompanies the prigrims during the parikramas. The yatris are advised to carry personal medicines.
On day 9, Chinese representatives meet the pilgrims at Lipulekh Pass. For Taklakot, for an hour one has to ride on pony and the rest by bus. Taklakot is a town and a shopping centre. There is a time difference. The sun rises 2 1/2 hours early on that side of the border, officially. Immigration formalities are completed here. Camps along the Kailash and Manasarovar routes can accommodate only 20 persons each at a time. Therefore, the batch is split into two, one goes to Kailash while the other to Manasarovar.
Since the Manasarovar parikrama is a little easier, older and tired pilgrims join this group first. The liaison officer divides the group. The yatris take rest and do shopping. On day 11 groups A and B start for Darchan and Hore, respectively. The Kailash parikrama group is dropped at Darchen and the bus turns back and Group B is dropped at Hore. Group A reaches Deraphuk on day 12, on day 13 Zongerbu, on day 14 back to Darchen. Group B reaches Qugu on day 12, on day 13 Zaidi and day 14 rest there.
On day 15 group A goes to Hore, day 16 Qugu, day 17 Zaidi and day 18 rests there. On day 15 Group B reaches Darchen, day 16 Deraphuk, day 17 Zongerbu, day 18 back to Darchen.
On day 19 the bus comes to Darchen, picks up Group B and returns to Zaidi, takes Group A also, and comes back to Taklakot. Day 20 they pay a visit to Khojarnath. Immigration formalities are completed and they leave Taklakot on day 21 to reach Lipulekh Pass.
Day 21 itself they reach Kalapani for night halt and on day 22 the night halt is at Gunji, on day 23 at Budhi, 24 at Gala, 25 at Dharchula, 26 at Bageshwar, and day 27 yatris are back in Delhi.
Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra - The Parikramas
An English-speaking Tibetan guide accompanies each group during the parikramas of Kailash and Manasarovar. The camps along the route have only basic structures. No food is provided. It is useful to hire a cook from Taklakot itself for the parikramas. Yatris carry food items and medicines from India. Electricity is available only at Darchen.
On day 11 both A and B groups set off in the morning for the parikramas in a bus. First, Group A will be dropped at Darchen, and the bus turns back, goes to Hore to drop Group B, reaching in the afternoon. On day 12, Group A will go to Deraphuk, 25 km away, on foot. Simultaneously, Group B will be reaching Qugu monastery on foot or ponies from Hore, a distance of 50 km. 0n day 13, Group A crosses Dolma Pass and Gaurikund and reaches Zongerbu (25 km). Group B has reached Zaidi (35 km). On day 15 Group A arrives back at Darchen (15 km) while the other group takes rest at Zaidi and does pujas and has a holy dip in the lake etc. On day 15 the bus will come, pick up group B from Zaidi, go to Darchen, drop it there, pick up A, turn back and go to Hore. Days 16, 17 and 18 will be the same programme, the groups alternating for Kailash or Manasarovar as the case may be. On day 19, the bus will come to Darchen, pick up group B and then come to Zaidi, and pick up Group A also to return to Taklakot.
The Kailash parikrama takes the yatri to the highest point of the trek, the Dolma Pass, which is at an altitude of 19,500 ft or 5750 mtrs. Pilgrims may feel breathlessness. The trek is very strenuous. Better avoid yaks, one may lose balance and fall down. Walking is safer. Yak or pony costs Yuan 150 for each parikrama.
The 20-km Darchen-Deraphuk trek takes 12 hours. A jeep can be hired for a stretch of about 8 km. From here one can get a very good view of Mount Kailash. On the second day one reaches the snow-bound Dolma Pass. Poojas are done here. Holy water is collected from Gaurikund. The air is rarified. There is a steep descent and then comes plain ground. Twenty-five km and 12 hours, one reaches Zongzerbu. The third day is 15 km and 5 hrs. Back at Darchen. One may trek to Ashtapad from Darchen to take a close look at Mount Kailash.
The distance of Manasarovar parikrama around the lake is 85 km. The weather here changes fast. It can be hot, it can rain and it can be windy. Ponies should have been bookasaed from Taklakot. The first leg is 50 km and 15 hours. The holy dip should be taken only when there is sunshine. Starting early morning from Qugu, for the second leg, one can have a view of the sunrise over the lake. Reaching Zaidi, again poojas and holy dip.