Summer is the time when all spiritual journeys in Uttarakhand get underway. Though the Char Dham Yatra is the most well-known, there are others which are also of great significance and attract many pilgrims from various parts of the country and the world.
The Hemkund Sahib Yatra will begin on June 1 this year and go upto October 10 while the Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra this year is scheduled from June 8 to September 8.
The challenging and exciting Kailash Mansarovar Yatra that passes through Uttarakhand and the pilgrimage to Chhota Kailash, are two extremely special and unique spiritual/religious events in the mountain state’s calendar annual of events.
The pilgrimage to Chhota Kailash or Adi Kailash is undertaken between July and September. Eight hundred and sixty five kilometers from Delhi, Kailash–Mansarovar, according to the Puranas, is identified as the centre of the universe. Mount Kailash (6690 metres) is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati while the vast lake (Mansarovar) near it is believed to have been created by Brahma.
There are two routes for this yatra.The route through Lipulekh Pass involves some tekking. The other route through Nathu la pass (Sikkim) is motorable.
The yatra will be conducted on both these routes. Mount Kailash and lake Mansarovar are in Tibet.
The programme for this challenging yatra, which passes through Uttarakhand and goes on to Tibet, is announced by the ministry of external affairs, government of India.
The belief is that any person who bathes in the sacred water of Mansarovar goes to the “Paradise of Brahma” after death. Lake Mansarovar is located at an altitude of 4530 metres and has a circumference of 90 kilometres, a depth of 90 metres and an area of 320 square kilometres.
In Uttarakhand, the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police look after the pilgrims. Nabhidhang is the last camp in Kumaon, nine kilometres from Kalapani.
After an eight kilometres walk from Nabhidhang, pilgrims reach Lipulekh Pass (at 5334 metres) and then enter Tibet. The yatra ends in early September.
The duration of the Kailash Mansarovar yatra is 29 days for each batch while for Adi Kailash Yatra, it is 19 days.
The perpetual snowclad peak of holy Kailash is a spotless design of nature’s art, of an overpowering beauty. Many a pilgrim is drawn again and again to undertake the yatra.
While pilgrims are on their way to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, other pilgrims are headed for “Chhota Kailash” in Kumaon which is an equally thrilling and picturesque yatra.
Adi Kailash, popularly known as Chhota Kailash, is a mountain close to the Indo-Tibetan border and is in an area of great natural beauty and immense peace in Pithoragarh district. Every year, pilgrims from various parts of the country undertake this yatra with the help of the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam.
During the Adi-Kailash Yatra, pilgrims come across the mighty splendour of the snow peaks of Annapurna, the gushing Kali river, thick forests and the famous Narayan Ashram which has a variety of wild flowers and fruits and awesome waterfalls.
The local people at Chhota Kailash are the Bhotias.
There is a village nearby named after Kunti, the mother of Pandavas.
In this region of exciting treks,people not only walk along a large portion of the challenging Kailash-Mansarovar route, but also get to know and understand the social and cultural life of the people living in the Chaudans, Byans and Darma valleys.
The base camp for the yatra is at Kathgodam where assistance and guidance from KMVN is available.
After reaching Dharchula, the pilgrimage takes people through Gala, Bundi, Gunji, Kalapani and Nabhidhang. Parvati Sarovar, Om Parvat, Parvati Mukut and Pandav Parvat are also part of this interesting yatra. Mount Adi-Kailash is in Indian territory, close to the Indo-Tibetan border. It is an area of great natural beauty and peace.
Thousands of Hindu devotees and adventurous mountain trekkers partake in the annual Adi Kailash Yatra to have a glimpse of the formation of the Sanskrit letter ‘?’ (Om) on the Om Parvat. Mount Adi Kailash, also known as Baba Kailash, is one of the abodes of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas.
Mount Adi Kailash and Om Parvat are at an attitude of 2,000 to 14,000 feet and are located in Pithoragarh District of Uttarakhand.Another major attraction during the pilgrimage is the Parvati Sarovar (Tal) or Parvati Lake or Gauri Kund at the foot of Adi Kailash.The waters of Gaurikund reflect the mountain.It is believed that the great sage, Ved Vyas, lived here for a long time and wrote many books.He was the author of the Mahabharat.
Hemkund lake near the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara is encircled by seven snow clad peaks and reflects them beautifully on its crystal- clear serene waters.
Guru Gobind Singh wrote in one of his works that he had meditated on the bank of this lake in one of his earlier births.
Hemkund Sahib and the Lakshman temple share the credit of being the world’s highest Gurudwara and temple respectively, situated as they are at an altitude of 4329 metres.
No wonder the Hemkund Yatra is one of the most important events in the tourism calendar of Uttarakhand.
Thursday, 30 May 2019 | Jaskiran Chopra | Dehradun