This post is part of a travel recollection from Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018 via Lipulekh. For a list of posts in their sequence please refer to the following link:
…Continued from previous post
Since the trip is a long one and will be filled with descriptions from my own memories, it feels like a good idea to get some of the basic things out of the way at first. In case of my other blog entries, I generally provide a bit of information about the place. The where part of it. I am skipping it for Kailash, firstly BECAUSE it is Kailash and secondly, because many resources are available on those.
There are a few options of travelling to the place. That includes, the government operated tours and some privately operated tours. The government operated Kailash Mansarovar yatra are conducted jointly by the Indian and the Chinese governments via two different routes. Firstly, via the conventional route of Lipulekh Pass in the Uttarakhand , secondly via Nathu La in Sikkim. Most of the private tours are operated via Nepal.
The Indian government issues notification for registering for the Yatra around the month of March every year in their website www.kmy.gov.in Generally around 18 batches for Lipulekh are conducted every year.
Each batch has a total of 60 people including two (2) liaison officers. The liaison officers (LO) are appointed by the Govt. of India. They are govt. officials ranking under secretory or higher.
An Indian citizen with a valid passport can register for one or both the routes. The names are chosen via a computer generated draw and selected yatris are informed of their batch and schedule for reporting for the health checkups in Delhi.
Some of the Yatris are kept in the wait-list and later confirmed based on the availability of a place in the corresponding batch. In case you are wondering, it is possible to get confirmed from the wait list.
I applied for the yatra in March 2018. On the day of the draw of lots, I got a mail informing that I was on waitlist for Batch 3. I was a bit disheartened but one of my acquaintances who had successfully completed the yatra before, assured that I would surely get selected. There was something in his statement that instilled confidence in me, preventing me to stop the preparations at my end.
But as the days went by, I resorted to the thought that perhaps, this was not the year I would be making the journey. And so I thought of doing the Adi Kailash this year and started researching from my end.
Life had different plans however. Just about three weeks prior to the start of batch 3, I missed three calls on my phone and then received an SMS that made me jump. And I mean this literally.
It was a confirmation message from the ministry of External affairs informing me that I was moved out of the wait-list and into the actual list for Batch 3. Hindsight tells me that there would have been a problem had I picked up the call. The possible issue of getting leaves in such a short notice at work would have made me think twice. I may have even denied going or asked for a shifting of batches. While I write this, I am bombarded with news of the next few batches being stopped due to impending rains and calamity in Uttarakhand. And I feel grateful to my life for how smooth the entire experience of yatra was for me and my batch. Maybe some things happen for good after-all! 🙂
I opted for the Lipulekh route, considered the more challenging of the routes offered. The main reason, for me, to opt for Lipulekh route was the route itself. This trek takes you through some of the most beautiful, untouched regions of Kumaon Himalayas. I had never experienced these parts of the Himalayan charm before but had heard of the beauty of these regions from my parents who had travelled extensively.
Moreover, it is difficult to get permission to visit these places on your own as these border regions are considered sensitive. The Adi Kailash and Kailash Mansarovar yatris however have the permission as these yatras are (primarily) operated by the government authorities. Also, I don’t know if I opted for the Lipulekh route despite it being considered the more challenging or because of that. 🙂
The journey via Lipulekh can be divided (very roughly) in two parts. One within India. The next part in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) in China.
On Indian side, Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) arranges the facilities for the yatra. The arrangements on the Chinese side are taken care of by the Chinese government.
Oh! Did I tell you that you need to be physically fit to be able to join the Yatra? A through health check up is carried out at DHLI, one of the multi speciality hospitals in Delhi and then the second round of checks are conducted at the ITBP hospital, Tigri before commencement of the yatra. Also the third check up is done midway, at Gunji for the Lipulekh Yatris. In ALL these cases, if a yatri is found unfit, they are sent back home for their own safety.
All this is done keeping in mind the physical challenges the high altitude during this yatra poses at an individual. AMS, commonly called altitude sickness is very real. When it hits an individual, despite the best of efforts, the best option remaining often is to loose altitude. Personally speaking, your physical fitness and attitude are the factors that can make or break your chances of completing your journey successfully.
More details regarding the Yatra conducted by the Indian Government can be found in the MEA website www.kmy.gov.in The site also has many relevant resources and contents that would help a yatri prepare for taking this journey.
There are also many, many resources available on the internet, in form of (often very well researched) travel recollections by the yatris of the previous year batches. They become your guide while preparing for this journey.
I stumbled upon one such detailed and well researched blog and had the good fortune of interacting with the man behind. He provided me with ample amount of information and a ton of encouragement for the trip. This made the preparation for the journey easier. In a way, I went to the journey with some amount of knowledge of the region that helped me enjoy the place more. I am indebted to the gentleman for his time. 🙂
And all that did not take anything more than an internet connection and some shamelessness in asking a seemingly unknown individual your doubts at first when you needed to. *covers face*
From practical experience though, I cannot emphasise enough on the physical fitness required for this trip, possibly that is why I am mentioning it numerous times! 😀 As without this, a person would not be be able to enjoy the beauty and charm of Kailash. And given such a precious opportunity, it is imperative that we utilise it to the fullest, isn’t it? 🙂
The next post can be found here….