Manasarovar literally means Manas (mind) and Sarovar (lake). It is believed that Lord Brahma first conceived the lake in his mind and after that it manifested on earth. Lake Manasarovar is personification of purity and one who drinks holy water from the lake will be cleansed of all sins.
Buddhist literature describes that Lord Buddha meditated near Manasarovar lake on several occasions.
At an elevation of 15,060 ft, Manasarovar lake is sweet water lake with an circumference of 55 miles. It is claimed that Mansarovar lake is the highest freshwater lake in the world. Manasarovar lake is connected to Rakshas Tal which means lake of demon. Rakshas Tal has salty water which got a story of curse attached to it.
All travelers stayed at the lakeside lodge facing ancient Chiu Gompa Monastery with glittering south face of Mt Kailash in the backdrop.
Next day was rest day at Manasarovar. I got up before dawn, super excited. I ventured out to capture the beauty of south face of Mt Kailash. Devout Hindus took dip in freezing water of Mansarovar, filled cans with holy water and performed religious rituals. I also drank holy water and brought some for family, back at home. One lady got very unwell after taking dip and was treated for hypothermia.
In the serene environment of Mansarovar I felt like meditating at some far off corner of the lake. When I expressed my wish to go for a long trek around lake, guide Lamababu was little worried to let me go solo trekking, as wild dogs were found there and may attack a lone traveler at an isolated place. In the meantime, my fellow traveler Rebecca Mathai opted to come along with me. We went for a long trek around the lake, meditated there, then trekked to monastery and returned back ecstatic.
While trekking in higher reaches we were stopped by Chinese security personnel. We just waved at them and smiled. They smiled back and allowed us to wander in blissful land.
Evening time was the briefing time on Mt Kailash trek, that is in fact circumambulation around Kailash, religiously called parikarma and Kora. First of all, list was prepared of those travelers who were fit and wished to trek. Due to worsening health conditions twenty two travelers were already sent back to lower altitudes. Out of remaining travelers thirteen were shortlisted for Mt Kailash trek.
Briefing turned into heated arguments when our guide asked shortlisted travelers to sign life bond. Everyone shocked, why to sign life bond and they were made convinced that the process was a requirement of Chinese authorities to grant permission for Kailash trek. I was the first one to say yes, as I was ready to do whatever required to facilitate my trek and went to sleep dreaming next day’s ultimate journey to Kailash.
My spiritual quest continues…..