DAY TO DAY ITINERARY
Delhi to Almora
cover 320 Km from
to Kathgodam via Moradabad, Rampur, Haldwani. They cross the
rivers Yamuna, Ganga and Ramganga W. rivers on the way. Before
starting the journey, pilgrims are briefed by the Under
Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, about the Yatra and
their medical check-up is done at Indo-Tibetian Border Police
Centre. From New Delhi, you are taken in an air-conditioned
coach to Almora, a small town in the foothills of the
Himalayas in the Kumaon hills of Uttarakhand. As the Yatris
have to leave Delhi in the morning by 0600 hours, please
ensure that your baggage is packed and ready by 0500 hours.
The journey from Kathgodam to Dharchula is performed by non
AC buses. The KMVN will make arrangements of night halt for
yatries at its Tourist Rest House, Almora. This is an ideal
day for Yatris to get to know each other. For the successful
completion of the Yatra it is essential to get to know each
Yatri's strengths and weaknesses.
Almora to Chaukori
breakfast at Almora, yatris leave for Kausani enroute Chaukori.
The 55 km drive to Kausani traverse through the serpentine
roads offering splendid views of mountain peaks and famed
flora of Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. After the lunch at
Kausani the Yatra proceeds towards the destination of the day,
Chaukori, covering a distance of 90 km. The region boasts of
unspoilt nature, a land bestowed with natural abundance, fruit
orchards, and the jungles of Pines, Oaks and Rhododendrons.
Chaukori is a tiny hill station in the Pithoragarh district
set among the lofty peaks of the western Himalayan Range. The
Mahakali River, running along its eastern boundary, forms the
Indo-Nepal international border. Chaukori's elevation is 2010
meters with a spectacular view of the snowy peaks of Nanda
Devi and Panchachuli peaks.
Chaukori to Dharchula
After early breakfast, yatris leave Chaukori for
Dharchula. Enroute, yatris pay obeisance at the Patal
Bhuvaneshwar, a limestone cave temple, 42 km from
Chaukori. Legend and folklore have it that this
underground cave enshrines Lord Shiva and thirty three
crore Gods. The cave is 160 meters long and 90 feet deep
from the point of entrance. Limestone rock formations
have created various spectacular stalactite and
stalagmite figures of various hues and forms. This cave
has a narrow tunnel-like opening which leads to a number
of caves. The cave is fully electrically illuminated.
There is a folklore that the Pandava brothers passed
their time here during banishment. It is also believed
that this cave is internally connected to the four
abodes (Char Dham). The motor able road ends half a
kilometer away from the cave entrance. Yatris have to
descend nearly 100 steps into this narrow cave, to reach
the sanctum sanctorum, which gives an overwhelming
feeling that one is entering the centre of the earth.
darshan and puja at Patal Bhuvaneshwar, the Yatra
proceeds to Didihat, located at a distance of 52 km,
where arrangements for lunch are made. Didihat offers
picturesque views of verdant valley surrounded by
attractive ridges and a panoramic view of several snow
clad Himalayan peaks, including Pachachuli Peaks.
Thereafter, yatris head towards the Indo-Tibetan
Border Police (ITBP) Camp Headquarters at Merthi, just 6
km away. Yatris are extended a traditional welcome by
the locals and the ITBP personnel. A comprehensive
briefing on various aspects of the Yatra is conducted by
The town of Dharchula, located on the bank of River
Kali, with Nepal just across the river, is the last big
town enroute Kailash Mansarover.
Dharchula to Sirkha (via Tawa Ghat/ Pangu)
third day 44kms journey from Dharchula to Pangu via
Tawaghat by bus and then 13kms trek from Pangu to Sirkha
(KMVN Camp) via Narayan Swami Ashram. Trekking starts
from Pangu. Coolie arrangements for carrying luggage
throughout the further journey (up to Lipu) will be
available from here. Pangu lies in Chaudas valley of
Dharchula tehsil and is the first village enroute to the
Yatra. A fine view of Khela and surroundings is seen
from this place. One can also view the Himalayan peaks
in Nepal region.
Situated on the Kailash Mansarover Route Narayan Swami
Ashram has been built by Shri Narayan Swami Ji started
in the year 1936. It took 10 years to complete the
Ashram. All the material for the temple and housing were
transported from Almora. 300 to 500 people were engaged
in the construction of the temple and the buildings.
Swami ji also made schools enlighten and motivated
people did lot of social work for the benefit of the
tribal and non-tribal people of the area. The vibrations
in the environment gives shanti who ever visits the
Narayan Ashram (having being the Tapobhoomi of the Rishi
Ashram is known for its picturesque, scenic and the
mesmerizing beauty all over the world.
Sirkha to Gala
Sirkha to Gala is a distance of 16kms. From Sirkha about
2kms the road descends to Samuri (2316mts). A few shops
are available in Sirkha. From Samuri steep stony ascent
through thick forest to Rungling or Samuriya- Dhar
(3048mts) starts. On the top is a heap of stones with
flags. Thereafter is a steep descent through a thick
forest to the stream Simkhola-gad. From Simkhola gentle
upto the village Gala.
Gala to Budhi
begins with a strenuous 18 km downhill trek to Budhi. On
an average, the trek takes about 7 to 12 hours depending
on the fitness levels of the Yatris. The most arduous
part of the trek is the first 7 to 8 Kms until Lakhanpur.
The route down hill is rocky & narrow and must be
traversed on foot. Steps have been carved out of the
rock here to make the trek somewhat comfortable. After
Lakhanpur, the track takes a more or less level course,
along the river Kali, which is a very beautiful
stretch. Along the way, as the Yatris may have to cross
through some waterfalls, raincoats may be kept handy.
The village of Lamari is on this route which is a good
place to rest and enjoy a hot cup of tea.
Lamari, the curving trail will take you through Malpa,
the site of the tragic landslide of 1998. Here, the
rubble still covers a part of the camp.
last stretch of the trail is across a quaint bridge
which brings you into the camp at Budhi. Once you have
recouped sufficiently, you may like to visit the old
flourmill (Gharat) run on hydel power, which supplies
the local village with fine atta.
Budhi to Gunji
an overnight stay at Budhi, you will begin one of the
most scenic treks on the Indian side of the journey with
a steep climb of 5 Kms. Just as you feel the strain, the
path levels out and winds its way through the
spectacular valley of Chhialekh.
sights of special importance in the valley include its
profusion of rare mountain flowers (like cobra flowers,
irises, May apple flower, Kasturi Kamal etc.) and the
glacier. You will walk through a beautiful green meadow
on your way to Garbyang, also known as the sinking
village, with quaint houses having carved doors and
newel posts. The approach to Gunji is through a thicket
of aromatic trees, which exudes the local incense. You
will also have the pleasure of seeing the confluence of
the Kali and the Tinker rivers with the Tinker hurtling
away into Nepal.
Stay at Gunji
Gunji, there is a two night halt where the ITBP medical
team will test you again to gauge your fitness. You will
be allowed to continue the pilgrimage only if you clear
Gunji to Nabhidhang (via Kalapani)
this point, the ITBP team, and its doctors, will guide
you up to the Tibetan border from where the Chinese
authorities will take over. This trek along the Kali is
done in stages with ITBP jawans guiding you every step
of the way. The route from Gunji climbs higher and
elevates in a gradual manner with vegetation changes.
One moves along the relatively quieter Kali to walk 10
Km to reach Kalapani (3600m). There are pine, bhojpatra
and juniper forests in this region. Although the river
has been coming all the way from Lipulekh pass, the
small pool formed under a huge rock is considered to be
the source of the Kali. As you are closer to Kalapani,
you will pass a mountain which has Sage 'Vyasa's cave'.
According to Hindu legend, this is the cave where Sage
Vyasa performed penance for years. A flag posted by the
ITBP is indicative of the entrance to the cave. The ITBP
has built a hydel project over the river Kali, which
supplies power for the Kalapani camp. At Kalapani Yatris
find an emigration checkpoint, where all your documents
including passport are verified before you move towards
stretch from Kalapani to Nabhidhang is an uphill climb.
As you move to the upper reaches of the
Himalayas, the Kali will be left far below.
9-km stretch takes you above the tree line revealing the
face of the mountains. During the flowering season, the
route itself is like a carpet of flowers in shades of
yellow, purple, pink and white. This stretch is subject
to brisk winds and it is advisable that you may wear
proper clothes and keep your head covered.
from the camp at Nabhidhang that you can view the unique
phenomenon, of 'Om'. The mountain on the eastern side,
Om Parvat, has patterns on the snow, which resemble a
naturally formed 'Om', a rare sight since the mountain
is usually wreathed in clouds.
group covers the 9 Km from Kalapani to Navidhang (3987m)
surrounded by innumerable wild flowers. This is the
region of Musk deer and Monal and the highest stage of
Himalayan wilderness. The 'Om Parvat' smiles in front of
Nabhidhang to Lipulekh
the last stretch in
before yatris cross over to the Tibetan side. This is a
treacherous walk at the best of times and more so if the
weather conditions are not propitious at the narrow
pass, which is at 16,500 feet. The crossing of the pass
is a finely timed affair with the new batch of yatris
crossing into Tibet meeting the batch of yatris
after completing the Parikramas.
here that the batch has to show a high spirit of
cooperation to ensure that each member is able to cross
this difficult stretch across ice and snow successfully.
ITBP personnel will, of course, be present to render
required assistance to yatris. At the Lipulekh Pass
yatris will leave India behind and begin their journey
Lipulekh to Taklakot
terrain here is very barren, with hardly any vegetation
in sight. After yatris have successfully crossed the
Lipulekh Pass, the Chinese authorities take over and the
descent into Tibet begins. (Note: The time difference
and Tibet is plus 2 hours). Yatris will have
to walk for an hour and a half after which ponies will
be made available. After a journey of about 4 km on the
ponies, yatris will travel in buses to Taklakot.
is an old trading town. It has several market places, Gompas
and Buddhist temples. Yatris will be put up in a guest house
with basic facilities. Hot water for bathing will be available
for about 2 hours at a time which will be communicated to
yatris in advance. Food is also served at set times, duly
communicated in advance, and normally includes rice, soup and
boiled vegetables provided by the guest house.
to 19: Kailash-Mansarover Parikramas
will be taken by bus from Taklakot to Darchen, which is
the base camp for Kailash Parikrama.
way to Darchen, yatris will pass by the Rakshas Tal, a
beautiful lake separated by a thin stretch of land from
the Lake Mansarover. This lake, unlike Mansarover, is
not so revered by yatris but is remarkably beautiful in
its own way. While Mansarover is likened to the Sun and
Light, Rakshas Tal is compared to the Moon and the
Darkness of night. It is believed that Ravana meditated
on the shores of Rakshas Tal to seek Shiva's favor. The
lake is, therefore, referred to as Ravana Tal. It is
from Rakshas Tal that yatris get the first view of the
Mount Kailash. An English-speaking Tibetan guide
accompanies each batch of yatris during the Parikramas
of Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarover.
route goes through a barren landscape, with snow-capped
mountains on the horizon. Once the bus crosses the Gurla
Pass, at 16,200 feet, the Holy Land spreads out. To the
right is the beautiful
while Rakshas Tal is to the left.
Parikrama of Mount Kailash begins from Darchen. Yatris
spend the day in the town.
km Parikrama of Kailash starts from the Barkha Plains, a
flat, barren stretch of land. The first leg will take
yatris to Deraphuk, 14 km from Darchen. The first 10 km
distance is covered by bus/truck. Upon reaching the 'Yamdwar'
the proper trek begins. After about 10 km, yatris enter
the La Chu Valley or the Valley of the River of the
Gods. Along the way, magnificent rock cliffs tower
around, with streams and waterfalls flowing from some of
them. Some of the rocks have inscriptions of Buddhist
mantras on them. The literal meaning of Deraphuk is
'Cave of the Female Yak's Horns'. It provides a
magnificent view of Mount Kailash. This is the closest
and clearest view that yatris will get of Mount Kailash
-a spectacular sight especially when illuminated by the
rays of the setting sun. Yatris will spend a night in
next day, yatris set off from Deraphuk on a trail which
ascends to a 18,600 feet pass, supposed to be guarded by
a Tibetan goddess called Dolma. Along the way, a flat
stretch strewn with discarded clothing can be seen. This
is Shiv Sthal, where Yama, the King of Death is supposed
to judge those who cross it. Crossing the Dolma pass
remains a test of faith and determination, as blizzards
are known to strike without warning. A rock here is said
to represent the goddess Tara Devi. Yatris pray to the
Goddess with the prayer flags, place pots of butter and
light incense sticks.
yatris descend from the
they will pass the emerald green Gauri Kund, the lake
where goddess Parvati is believed to have bathed. Yatris
carry back cans full of water from here.
steep descent continues through glaciers and paths
filled with boulders till yatris reach Zongzerbu. After
a night halt there, yatris head back
for Darchen, taking a different route, which is mostly
on flat terrain.
Darchen, yatris may, if time permits, pay an optional
visit to Ashtapad (the south face of
which is 5 km away. The route is scenic and the view of
from Ashtapad is breathtaking.
completes the Parikrama of Mount Kailash.
Darchen, yatris spend the day in the town, which
provides only basic facilities. They have to make their
own arrangements for food and this is where the 5
kilograms of common foodstuff carried by each yatri
comes in handy. A stove and a room for cooking will be
provided by the Chinese authorities. This is the last
place for making ISD calls on this Parikrama since the
other camps, both on the Kailash and the Mansarover
routes are not equipped with such facilities.
At Dolma Pass, it is not advisable to stay for too long
as the rarefied atmosphere may cause breathing problems.
Those wishing to carry water from Gauri Kund may ask
their porters/pony handlers to go down and fill their
cans. Yatris should not attempt to climb down themselves
as the slope is fairly slippery and such an attempt can
cause serious injuries.
Travel to Ashtapad is by Land Cruiser at a cost of an
additional amount of RMB 100 per yatri, which is subject
to change. This amount is not included in the usual
package of US $751 paid to the Chinese authorities at
Parikrama of Mansarover
lies the magnificent Lake of Mansarover. The Lake
changes color and mood with the passing hours and
seasons: placid now, tempestuous the next. The
reflection of the Sun, the clouds, the stars and even
Mount Kailash, keeps the beholder spellbound. The Lake
is large, being 88 km in circumference with a maximum
depth of 300 feet. Its fascinating variety and beauty
capture the heart and imagination of the viewers. The
water of the Lake can be freezing at certain times of
the day and during certain seasons and pleasantly warm
at others. Regardless of the temperature, most devout
yatris do not miss an opportunity to take a holy dip in
first camp at Qihu, where the Yatris spend two days, is
well equipped and offers a stunning view of the
parikrama begins with a drive through the vast plains of
Barkha to Qugu, a distance of about 85 km. There is a
brief halt at Here. The camp at Qugu is located on the
banks of Lake Mansarover.
next day yatris return to Taklakot, thus completing the
Parikrama of Lake Mansarover.
While at the camp at Qugu, yatris may wish to take a
holy dip in the Lake Mansarover and offer puja there,
without causing any damage to the pristine surroundings
in any manner. Use of soap or detergent while bathing in
the Lake is prohibited. Those wishing to have a proper
bath may visit the baths at the hot water springs, which
charge approximately RMB 20 per head.
Yatris may wish to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables
during a brief halt at Here, which has a basic market.
two-day stay at Taklakot to complete Immigration and
Customs formalities, yatris have to cross back into
India via the Lipulekh pass.
The return journey from Lipulekh to Dharchula is via the
same route as taken on the onward journey except that
from Dharchula, the yatris have to travel to Jageshwar,
instead of Kathgodam, and then on to Delhi