Tagged: Spirituality

Kailash Yatra 2017

Kailash.

The first time I heard about Kailash was while I was still a toddler. My grandparents always mentioned about visiting Kailash and attaining mukti. As I was growing up, a number of times, people from various walks of life mentioned about their inner calling to make it to Kailash Yatra.

I have heard from many a people on how it’s intense and rigorous to visit Kailash early on, say even until 10 years ago. One aunty spoke about her Yatra for over 36 days – 18 days to make the ascent journey and another 18 to return home safely.

One day, in early 2015, I heard about Kailash once again. With my already mapped picture of Kailash, I jumped with joy to visit this sacred space, sometime in my lifetime and left at it.

Then, a new chapter “Marriage” happened around December 2016. Sriram (my husband) too had this intent to visit Kailash for a variety of reasons, but somehow got skipped a few times, he planned the yatra.

Around March end last year (in 2017), I had all the eagerness to visit Kailash and Sriram instantly gave a nod. We decided to do this yatra with Isha Foundation’s Sacred Walks.

Followed by some process:

  • Form submission in the link – https://www.sacredwalks.org/application-form/
  • Once Isha Foundation confirms your candidature to the Yatra (based on your application form), they will share a series of Medical Fitness tests that one needs to conduct and share the results with them. Only, if deemed fit, we would be permitted into the Yatra.
  • Sriram and I had a decent lifestyle – includes yoga, running, cross fitness, healthy food habits (mostly home cooked food), so we didn’t have much of a change here. One change we incorporated was to drink more water than we did generally for over a month – just before our Yatra scheduled in August.
  • I am going to intentionally skip talking about the cost or money involved to make this Yatra happen. 1. Because, I strongly believe that cost should not come in one’s way while making a Yatra of significance. 2. It’s not fixed, it will definitely vary from year to year and it definitely varies depending on who you want to do this Yatra with. So, its best left to the reader to figure this out. =)

Experience:

2 days before the trip, I had jitters. Either, it was Diamox (A tablet that helps you deal with altitude sickness. Believe me, you wouldn’t need it if you are regular with your deep breathing and yoga practices) or simply the reality that kicked in. I almost sank myself into work that week and was definitely not very confident about my own self doing the Yatra. I even told Sriram that he should proceed with the Yatra and definitely not stay back in Chennai, if I end up being terribly sick / unwell.

I was fine and we had our backpacks ready. All of our trip’s essentials were bought from Decathlon, Perungudi / Padur, Chennai.

August 10th – Chennai to Delhi (India)
I was already excited about the trip and there began my real Yatra story.

August 11th – Delhi (India) to Kathmandu (Nepal)
We arrived at Kathmandu and I almost instantly fell in love with this place. Since we reached a day earlier, we had booked our accommodation at Gaju Suite, Thamel Marg, Kathmandu. Both of us explored nearby shops, got our currency converted into Chinese Yuan for the Yatra, bought some rain jackets for Sriram, got some fruits and walked a bit around Thamel, enjoying the drizzle.

August 12th – Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat, Kathmandu, Nepal
We reached Radisson around 12 noon and were greeted with beautiful “Namaste-s” and warm smile. We met Kumaran anna and Ramya akka – who helped us with getting our room, Duffle bags and the entire Yatra kit. They also promptly mentioned about the schedule for the day. Repacking only essentials for Yatra in the Duffle bags, followed by Lunch, Sathsang with Sadguru (Jaggi Vasudev) and Dinner.

IMG_9130.JPG

August 13th – August 23rd 2017

The Journey:
Kathmandu (2 days) – Lhasa (Tibet / now China) (1 day) – Xhigatse (1 day) – Saga (1 day) – Manasarovar (2 days) – Kailash (2 days) – Kailash Basecamp (1 day) – Saga (1 day) – Xhigatse (1 day) – Lhasa (1 day) – Kathmandu

Exactly a year ago. We were at Kathmandu, with a final check list of necessary things we needed to take. And had a brilliant dinner with a huge spread. Wrapped the night with medicines and gone deep into sleep with excitement, jitters and all at once.

The following morning, I quickly ate some fruits and the entire team departed sharp at 6am.

We arrived at Kathmandu airport and departed to Lhasa (Tibet). On our arrival at Lhasa, I realised that the Chinese women at the immigration were super efficient and we didn’t get our passports stamped for obvious reasons.

The bus, that would be our home for the next 2 weeks was awaiting us and it was sparkling clean like a new bus. Sriram and I looked at each other and smiled for actually doing this. The sherpa (caretaker/everything to us during the trip) gave us instructions on do-s and don’t-s for the journey ahead and asked all of us “to-be”.

36910524005_92b5ca2531_o.jpg

Getting to know others in our bus, managing high altitude sickness, chanting together, expression of kindness in all forms was our routine everyday. At every pit stop, we spent a day or two to get used to the shift in altitude and thus thinning of air to manage our breathing etc.

As we transcended into our journey and took higher steps in terms of the altitude, it was as well the best means to understand myself in every aspect. My physical health was constantly in check and how I coped it – with my mental strength and help of fellow friends in the yatra was truly a humbling experience. Every time, I felt this is it, I found hope and support from means that I least expected.

37053667202_e9f0ae947c_o.jpg

When at Manasarovar, I felt like I could stay there forever. The early morning view of sunrise and swans taking its dip in the lake, the steady water stream and the ripples, the pebbles along the lake and of course the view of Kailash from Manasarovar made it all special. When asked to take a dip in the lake (around 06:30am or so), I was like, really? Is this even possible by me? And guess what – I stayed in the Lake longer than I had expected. It felt very surreal and magical.

36075980684_3520bb6af8_o36076430184_8c9e6f1e9b_o

And finally, we were at our ultimate milestone – “Kailash”. It was a solitary journey filled with all sorts of conversation between me and the mighty mountains. The mountains shook me up, broke me down, made me ecstatic, helped me open up and made me experience life’s essence – that at the end, we all are a dust particle, we all are a dust particle and that too an insignificant one 🙂

36740161622_f6c48decb7_o


Memories flash by and my gratitude goes back to Rajalakshmi patti, Ramya Akka, Gayathri Akka, Subha Akka, Divya Akka, Pawan Anna, Michael Anna, Kumaran Anna, Sriram (my husband), Suresh Anna, JP anna, Kim Cho (our driver) and every single person whom I encountered during the trip.

IMG_9019.JPG

Pictures credit: Michael Varun Anna

Tataastu.

Pasi Vandhal Paththum Paranthu Pogum

qghulqyh3ne-david-cohen

Pasi Vandhal Paththum Paranthu Pogum

The above phrase means when you are hungry, all of one’s key characteristics drift apart. Or in simple words, when one’s hungry, nothing else is of a priority than filling one’s stomach.

This phrase is derived from a song sung by Avaiyar in one of her works, Moodhurai.

Maanam Kulam Kalvi Vanmai Arivudaimai
Dhaanam Dhavam Uyarchi Thalanmai – Thaenin
Kasivandha Solliyarmael Kaamurudhal Paththum
Pasivandhida Parandhu Poam

Maanam – Dignity
Kulam – Class in the Society
Kalvi – Education
Vanmai – Strength
Arivudaimai – Knowledge
Dhaanam – Donating Attitude
Dhavam – Penance
Uyarchi – Rank
Thalanmai – Generosity
Kamurudhal – Romance

Week 16: Simple things in life

photo-1436891436013-5965265af5fc

You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.

– Swami Vivekananda

I feel very insignificant to share my views on this, but, somewhere one has to reflect their thoughts, right?

The simplest things in life is ‘To be’. As I type this, I am aware that, I have gotten this as a concept. But, in reality, this moment occurs only now and then.

Yet, I am extremely grateful that I could experience moments such as this, that too in an aware state of mind.

I hope that, this becomes a way of life, for me.

Tataastu.