Kailash Parikrama: Day 3 – ZunzuiPu to Darchen and Qugu : Stay at Mansarovar

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:

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra : The beginning…

Continued from the previous post…

The next day after reaching ZunzuiPu, we again started early to reach the place where we were to be picked up by the buses to go back to Darchen. We were also scheduled to proceed to Qugu, where we would be spending the next day by the lake Mansarovar.

The route was flat at the beginning.

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Dramatic Views of the valley

The early morning looked dramatic with the clouds hanging over the valley. Truly, this was a land of Godly beauty.

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Start of the trek from ZunzuiPu

As we proceeded further, we were able to see the Gurla Mandhata range at a distance.

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The last lap: the descend during day 3 of Kailash Parikrama

Towards the end, it was some steep descend. Suddenly, I saw a lady holding my hand while descending. I was startled at first, but then, I saw my porter smiling at me. I understood that my porter had asked her to take me down holding my hand because of the injured leg was still causing me to walk with difficulty.

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GurlaMandhata Range at the end of the journey

An hour of descending through the dusty roads brought us to the bus pick up point. The GurlaMandhata range along with the blue hue of the twin lakes were visible at a distance.

Everyone rejoiced at the completion of the parikrama. People were tired, but happy. We had made it till the end, the desires of the pilgrims had been fulfilled, the dreams of some others realised.

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Happy faces at the end of the Kora: Back to front:left to right: Sumangal, Ashok, Meenakshi,Shruti,Soma, 😛 , Deepa

From here we proceeded towards Qugu, stopping at Darchen for picking up our main luggage and some essentials. We paid a short visit to the shops for some last minute shopping for souvenir et al.

We were taken for a parikrama of the lake Mansarovar via bus. I was watching the hues while noticing flocks of birds at a distance by the shore. After an hour and a half of drive from Darchen we reached Qugu, where we would be staying for the next two days.

Gate of the Qugu, with Mansarovar and Mount Kailash in the background
Gate of the Qugu, with Mansarovar and Mount Kailash in the background

I was allocated a corner room with six other ladies. The Kailash shone in all its magnificence by the opposite shore across the window. The window of the room looked like a canvas.

Qugu during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018
The live canvas @ Qugu

I sat on my bed just opposite to the window and spent time watching the outside as I tried vainly to take some stuff out of the main luggage.

I don’t understand the high level spiritual whatevers being discussed by people at large. 🙂 I don’t like the noise of clapping and shouting in the name of Bhajans (praise of God), I am not interested either. And this place made me understand that perhaps I don’t need to.

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Spending time on the shore of Lake Manas

Because, just walking by the shore, watching the birds, the clouds and the ripples on the lake, thinking your own thoughts, merely being here was meditation. A silent thanks to life for bringing me till this point smoothly is a bhajan , a good wish for someone is a form of prayer. And this place? Magic!

Play of clouds @ Mansarovar
Play of clouds @ Mansarovar

As soon as we reached, a large portion of the yatris went to take a dip in the holy lake. It is said that the sins of a life time are washed with a dip here. And I didn’t even feel that guilty. 😀

The shore near the accommodation looked dirty! Discarded puja samagri everywhere, half burnt wood pieces from havan, discarded plastic containers, photographs scattered, it looked as if it could use a round of cleaning.

Mansarovar Shore during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018
Mansarovar Shore during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018

Did these people know that they had committed the crime of polluting the pristine nature while asking for God’s grace for their dear ones?

Back to the real word, I had a large cup of coffee. Then I noticed that the water supply was from the lake. Never knew coffee could be more divine than it already was! 😀 Post that, we went for a walk by the shore. We found a discarded feather by possibly a Gull by the lake.

A feather discarded by a helpful gull
A feather discarded by a helpful gull

It stayed with me for a while and flew away, and I am glad for the time spent together 🙂

We also found this dead fish. 😀 Before you cringe, hear me out. These fishes are considered auspicious and the dried fish is kept in the locker with all the valuables as it is believed that this results in retention of wealth.

A dead fish, considered to bring good luck found during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018
A dead fish, considered to bring good luck found during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018

So next time you find yourself overspending, maybe you should consider keeping a dead fish with your money! 😀

We had not had a bath in last four days and needed one. Desperately. And the accommodation did not have any facilities to provide hot water. For some reason, looking at our already busy cooks, working so hard to keep us well fed, I did not feel like asking them for a bucket of hot water for a bath.

So it was final, I was going to take a bath by the lake, the question was when? How? 😀 After almost half a days’s careful consideration, I decided to take a bath when the weather was warm enough the next morning, post 11 AM. But before that, I had a lot of star gazing to do.. 🙂

The sun and the moon work overtime in these lands. At around 9 PM, the sun decided to set. The moon had some time before the shift started. So we had a window of around 4 hours between the sunset and the moon rise to enjoy the stars.

Sakshi, the lil kiddo turned Architect had a couple of apps in her cell which made us re calibrate our understanding of the stars. In-fact, over there, the stars were incredibly bright. So much so, that the reflection of the stars were seen on the lake during the night. There were the usual constellations, straight out of the class five text books. And then, there was a big, huge, bright as hell milky-way.

Would you believe me if I say I was seeing the stars for the first time in my life? Me neither. But I was seeing stars this bright for the first time in all these years, of that I was sure.

A view of the Mansarovar during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018
A view of the Mansarovar during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2018

I still remember our times at night by the shore of the Mansarovar. Often a group of four or five individuals including Sakshi, Mohit, Shruti, Soma and I, all dressed up in the heaviest of our winter gears, me still shivering. Mesmerised by the view of the milky-way with shooting stars in between.

Some people in the group were trying to find the Gods coming to bathe at night as the legend says. I don’t support watching ANYBODY while they bathe. 😛  Especially while they bathe. In fact there was a huge inside joke from the exclamation of a gentleman who apparently watched the stars bathe, only the insiders would know! 😉

I watched the milky-way trying in vain to find familiar faces in the stars, re-telling myself the tale life is. The same old familiar well read story of loosing the loved ones. The thoughts of what they would have said, how they would have reacted hearing that I have finally made this journey that they too longed to come for some day, had the situation been different from what it is today.

The stars of the milky way must have listened to my silent story. They must have wept, forming the shooting stars.

Continued in the next post…

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