Posted by : Prajna LS April 24, 2014
Lake Manas Sarovar
Lake Manas Sarovar is widely known as Mapam Yumco in the Tibetan region. It is a precious site of visit for Hindu, Jain and Buddhist pilgrims. It is a freshwater lake situated on an elevation of about 15,000 ft above the sea level. The lake signifies purity of mind and heart. Devotees believe that a ritual bath in the lake would cleanse off all the sins committed so far.
The Lake is located near the Mount Kailas and the Meru Mountain ranges. This beautiful lake looks like a heavenly abode in a clear daylight. In fact, it is said that the ‘Devatas’ (gods) come here every morning to take bath in the lake. Keeping the Mount Kailash in the centre, two lakes are situated in that place, actually. One is the well known Lake Manas sarovar and the other one is Lake Rakshas Sarovar. Lake Rakshas is a saline water lake.
|Lake in the backdrop of mount kailas (image courtesy:prajna LS)|
For Buddhists, Bon Buddhists in particular, Manas sarovar basin is a holy site of meditation. Guru Rinpoche is said to have stayed in this place and we can see Buddhist Gompas around the lake. We visited the Chiu Gompa situated on top a steep hill.
We had arrived there at about 1.30 pm. It was a clear sky. We were bewildered by the serene lake and its beauty. White clouds had gathered over the lake like a white embroidered lace. Sun beams crisscrossed over the crystal clear water that reflected the color of the sky, which was blue at that time.
The place is well maintained by the Chinese authorities. A station has been built for the tourists accommodating a huge hall. There is enough space for a helipad around the building, in the forthcoming days one may get helicopter service upto Manas sarovar. The bus that we travelled dropped us there and it will come again to pick us on the last day of our Parikraman. Pilgrims do get special bus service meant for Manasarovar Lake (for pick and drop to nearby places).
Luckily, we got to have a dip in the lake. After that, we reached our base camp near another side of the lake. That night it rained like anything. We were speculating that the Kailas Parikraman would be cancelled if it continues to rain. We woke up to a clear, but a misty morning.
That day, in the afternoon, we were supposed to reach the base destination for the 3 day Kailas Circumambulation. Till then, we were allowed to take rest. Some devotees were performing rituals (Puja and havan), though it was not compulsory. In fact, the place does not have any Hindu temples, except some Gompas. Some were taking rest at the dormitory cells. We decided to explore the place. We visited the Chiu Gompa which was nearby.
The place where we had stayed is a small campus consisting rows of dormitory cells specially meant for the pilgrims. These dormitories will be booked in advance by the travel agencies. Rooms are equipped with solar electricity providing beds for 4-5 members. You can charge your camera cells and mobile phones. This is common during all three days of Kailas Parikrama. Earlier there used to be tents, now, tents have been replaced by tin sheds providing bare minimum amenities. Hot water will be provided for drinking and basic utility purpose. Common latrines were highly dirty. However, one must be prepared for extreme conditions.
|Base Camp (Image Courtesy:Prajna LS)|
In the afternoon, we left for Darchen located at about 8 km from the camp. The 3 day trekking will start and will end up in Darchen. On the first day, we walked from Darchen to Dirapuk (12km), on the second day, from Dirapuk to Zutulpuk (32km) and on the third day, we reached Darchen (8km) from Zutulpuk. Darchen is good for buying walking sticks, bead and Tibetan jewellery. As we walked back to our dormitory from the market place, a face of Mount Kailas was visible from a far distance. We were amazed at the sight of Kailas like that all of a sudden! Within a few minutes, the peak was covered behind a veil of clouds.
We stayed that night in Darchen. Our Parikraman began the next day morning. It is an experience for lifetime. Wait for the next episode!!
[To be continued]