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Old 30th July 2009, 07:42   #76
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Just one high-res image from google earth of Saga to Prayang
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-screenshot.png
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Old 30th July 2009, 13:19   #77
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Hey Deky. Welcome back to hell dude. After going through your travelogue, thats all I can say. I really am impressed by the places you have visited-first the Fjords and now this. How are you adjusting after coming back from such a serene atmosphere. BTW give my congratulations to Aunty for having completed such a tedious Tirth Yatra.
- Hope you're not going back to your usual healthstick routine.
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Old 30th July 2009, 13:20   #78
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where r u Deky ?

Everybody is waiting for next dose ?
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Old 30th July 2009, 13:23   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
This is an epic, deky, and absolutely enthralling!
Quote:
Originally Posted by rupinder View Post
deky sir i am keeping a close watch on this log since we three friends are also thinking of going to mansarover lake .
Quote:
Originally Posted by NIP View Post
AMAZING ! Deky you are doing a very good job with the travelogue...please keep up the good work ! Thanks for sharing your experiences...tuned into this one
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnaganathan View Post
Great job @deky. You have a knack of narrating the experience in a very interesting and crisp way. And the pictures speak a lot more. You have me hooked on to this one - After Yeti's German experience and your epic on the ship disaster, this is one that I keep checking for updates every hour!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Punzabi View Post
Thumbs up buddy. It can never be better than this. Great combination of pictures ans narration, truly awesome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by simply_sunny001 View Post
Good going Deky,

Apart from some nice pics, its the uniqueness of this trip makes it very very special.

so glued to it, keep posting

cheers
Quote:
Originally Posted by vijaythacker View Post
wow, this is surely an epic as sir Thad E said, your pictures says more then thousand words and later part of your details posted along with them is surely applauded. Keep it coming for more of this wonderful and breathtaking journey of a lifetime.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Just added one more vote to this excellent thread.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fordmanchau View Post
WoW!! one very nice detailed trip this is . Very nice narration, very useful bit of information and very stunning photographs!!!! good work deky!!! I am particularly taken away by the information that you have been mentioning about the trip. the Do's and don'ts . Very helpful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
I'm speechless! The Brahmaputra one was the best of the lot! Thanks for sharing and keep em coming.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
This guy is photo genius as well. WOW Speechless at the lovely pictures.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dzire2Travel View Post
Speechless, dumbfounded, mesmerised, dazed, hypnotized and a lot more. Just want to say, I am having a wonderful time reading as your journey unfolds and I am excited too, just to read and see your first Darshan of the Holy Montain. Deky dude ... you are currently probably demading more readers than J.K.Rowling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post
Just another note of encouragement to keep it up.

Each post is about the right size too. Just nicely sized chunks
Thank you all for the appreciation and the comments and the ratings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Deky's journey till now from Kathmandu to Kodari to Nyalam to Saga and Prayang.

Hope this is not taking away anything from his excellent write up. I only wish he had a GPS track to share.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Just one high-res image from google earth of Saga to Prayang
Sudev thanks for posting the google images, It will only add to the trip log and not take anything away. So keep posting.

Yeah I wish I had GPS so understanding the route may be a bit more simpler.

For just a broader perspective :-

Kathmandu to Kodari:- North
Kodari to Nayalam:- North
Nayalam to Saga :- North- west
Saga to Prayang to Mansarovar:- West
Mansarovar to Kailash:- North

Edit:-
@isldhn:- Thanks, life is coming back to normal, but initially it felt like total chaos. In Tibet it was so simple, was totally back to the basics

@simply_sunny001:- sorry!!starting now.

Last edited by deky : 30th July 2009 at 13:27.
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Old 30th July 2009, 14:12   #80
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Default The Chinese in Tibet and its affects.

The sentiments expressed in this post are as a result of what I witnessed during my 17 day travel across Tibet. These are totally my opinion and may differ from person to person.

A MONK WITH A MESSAGE IN NEPAL
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RUINS OF A ROYAL FORT IN TIBET
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The above photos made me realise, the importance of freedom in ones life. It made me think how our parents and grand parents would have felt while still being under the British rule.

I dont hesistate a bit in saying that the Chinese have done very little in the upliftment of these Tibetese, infact they have no regards for Tibetan architecture, their traditions and their customs. No wonder we keep on hearing about all the uprising by the Tibetese against the Chinese.

The above comments are based on the following points.

1. Roads are only available where the Chinese think will be of any use to them, economically or strategically.

2. Most of the Monasteries are in a very bad condition and the head Lama is appointed with accordance to the Chinese Govt. As seen above forts and palaces have either been destroyed or are in a dilapidated conditions

3. Tibetese kids go to school and the syllabus is according to what the Chinese want to teach them. They dont want the kids to know whats happening in the outside world.

4. Most of the big shops are owned by Chinese and Tibetese either are nomads or very small merchants.

5. Chinese spies are all over in Tibet and any one talking in favour of the Tibetien cause is brought to task. E.g: I wanted to talk about this with our Guide and he just left the room saying not to start this topic again. Another, an australian was deported back to Nepal at the border as he was carrying a Tibet flag with him.

6. All tourist whether alone or in a group have to have a govt. approved guide traveling with them in Tibet.

7. Media is controlled by the govt. Televison will show channels only in Chinese or Tibetese language. E.g even BBC news is sensored and is in Chinese language.

8. You may find Internet cafe in smallest of the villages, but the keyboard will have Chinese alphabets. And if somewhere you are able to find English keyboards, you wont be able to access lots of sites.

9. Shops will only have stuff that is made in China.

10. The Army is very strong and they control everything.

11. Taking photos of Army camps, installation, men in uniform, bridges or vehicles is a big no no.

This also made me realise how lucky we are to be living in a democratic set up. Here in India we can say whatever we want to, stage protests, have dharnas etc etc. We have the RTI act now so that we can get information to whatever we want to. We can watch any channel on the tele and surf anysite in the world that we wish. Here it is possible to get permits to ride up to Khardungla top and have a cup of tea with our army jawans and get photos clicked with them.

Though in India we might not have as good roads as what China may make or we make just one sea link in 10 years as oppose to Chine making 3 in 10 years, but the most important is that we have our rights as a democracy, ours is a free country. How ever we choose to use our freedom and our rights is on us.
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Old 30th July 2009, 18:40   #81
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Default DAY 7: PRAYANG TO LAKE MANSAROVAR, HorChu Camp

After finishing are usual morning chores of using the open toilets, having breakfast we were ready for one of the most important day of our journey. Today would be the first time we would have our Darshan of Mount Kailash and lake Mansarovar. Today was the day for which all of us were here for.

Instead of starting at 7.30am we finally were on our way at 8.30am. Today the culprit for the delay were the jeep drivers. The drivers decided to get the puncture tyre (the puncture we suffered the previous day) repaired in the morning. And that took a good one hour.

DELAYED DUE TO THIS
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The journey was getting more and more drab. Every thing around looked the same as the previous days. The same kind of mountains, the same vegetation, same routine of ascending a pass, coming down and going up again and the same muddy road. Maybe it was the affect of high altitude that I was loosing interest and focus on the journey ahead. I was feeling tired and bored of travelling 6-7hrs everyday and just to be able to reach no where and see the same surroundings. I was also loosing appetite and was forcing myself to have meals just so that my body would survive another day. This wasnt the holiday I was looking for or was used to.

SAME SCENERY AROUND WAS GETTING BORING
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Also it being a cloudy and a cold day wasnt very appealing. That could be another reason why I was low on spirits. I was on the look out for interesting things around, like this

THE MISSING PEAK IN THE CLOUDS
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Anyways, I tried hard to stay away from such negative thoughts and think about all the beautifull photos of Kailash and Mansarovar I had seen on the internet.

Todays journey was around 220kms. It would take approximately 6 hours to do this journey. Most of the journey was on plains except one high pass at 5050mtrs.

MOUNTAIN GAZELLES AT A HIGH PASS
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MOM AND I TAKING A BREAK
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The colour of the road had changed from sand colour to more reddish but the dust was still present. It was more cloudy than usual in the day and hence was a bit cold as well.

THE ROAD HAD CHANGED COLOUR
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Somewhere in the middle of the journey we stopped again and our passports were checked. Our temperatures were also checked for swine flu.

CHECK POINT
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As we came close to our destination, luckily the clouds started to disappear and it was getting quite warm.

The speed of the vehicles were increasing as it was mostly a ride in the plains. Thanks to the great suspension of the Toyota we were feeling almost nothing even on mud roads, till this happened.

The driver of our jeep lost control of the vehicle as the vehicle jumped over a big ditch in the road and manage to land the vehicle in the big ditch on the side of the road.

DRIVERS GET TIRED TOO
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Luckily no one was hurt, and this woke everyone from their slumber.

We carried on and noticed a big mountain appearing in front. This was the Gurla Mandhata mountain. Gurla Mandhata or Memo nani (in chinese) is the 34th highest peak in the world and the highest in the West of Himalayas. At 7728mtrs it lays on the south banks of Lake Mansarovar. This meant that we were now very close to our destination. All in our jeep got excited and every one was keenly looking out and wanted to be the first ones to spot Mt. Kailash.

GURLA MANDHATA MOUNTAIN-7728MTRS
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We started our ascend on a small plateau and as soon as we reached on top, the most beautifull sight was right in front of us. Yes right in front was a deep blue lake; reflecting the sky colour perfectly was Lake Mansarovar down in a valley surrounded by Gurla Mandhata on one side. On the other side, (north of mansarovar) amonsgt other low laying hills Mount Kailash majestically stood right up.

FIRST VIEW OF MANSAROVAR LAKE AS WE ASCENDED A SMALL HILL
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01264.jpg

Everyone got down of the jeeps in a hurry. The excitement amongst all the yatris was to be seen to be believed. Some immediately started their prayers to Lord Shiva, few others just stood their mesmerised seeing Kailash and some like me, got stright down to the business of getting the perfect shot.

MORE VIEWS OF THE LAKE
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FIRST VIEW OF MOUNT KAILASH.
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Luckily the sky was absoloutely clear of clouds and it was turning out to be a great day. Maybe God wanted us to forget all our miseries and just cherish the moment.

MORE OF SOUTH FACE AND A BIT OF NORTH FACE OF KAILASH
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01278.jpg

This was a special occasion for the Tibetese drivers as well. The Tibetien hold Mt. Kailash Or Kang Rinpoche (in Tibetese) in high regards and consider it to be the king of mountains. Kang Rinpoche means "the precious jewels of snow" and the drivers offer their prayers by doing a parikrama of the flag pole and doing prostate pranams.

PRAYER FLAGS WITH A VIEW OF KAILASH
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01276.jpg

Seeing this Godly sight all the negative thoughts I had in the morning disappeared. I was now so looking forward to going ahead closer to the lake. The sight of Kailash and Mansarovar rejuivinated me and gave me another reason to continue the journey ahead. Once everyone finished taking photos we proceeded to our final destination of the day. HorChu camp.

MANSAROVAR AND SURROUNDINGS
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..cntd in the next post

Last edited by deky : 30th July 2009 at 18:44.
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Old 30th July 2009, 19:15   #82
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HorChu is a camp site on the East banks of Lake Mansarovar. As the name suggests it doesnt have any permanant structures there. Tents are errected for the yatris to stay the night in.

As we reached the camp site there was another group that had already reached the site and had put up their tents. Our truck with our camping equipment had not yet arrived so I decided not to waste any time waiting for it and made a straight dash to the lake for photos.

LAKE MANSAROVAR
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HOR CHU CAMP FROM THE LAKE
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01288.jpg

There were not many people there at the lake except a few. I saw a few locals picking up some special stones from the banks and I tried to understand what they were doing. After a while when neither of us could make our points across, they got fed up and gave me all the stones they had collected. I still dont know what are the stones about but they have been kept at home as Holy stones.

LOCALS LOOKING FOR HIDDEN TREASURES
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I came back quickly as lunch was being served and all the excitement had made me a bit hungry. By the time we had lunch (packed already in the morning) the truck had also arrived. Forgetting about all my early morning blues I helped the sherpas erecting the tents. It was good fun.

Amit and I decided to then cleanse ourselves of our sins by having a dip in the Holy Lake. Carrying our changes we proceeded to Mansarovar. The lake was pretty shallow till a distance. Being shallow the water wasnt that cold, or maybe we did not feel it cold as we were very excited to jump in it as quickly as possible. I dont know weather I was able to wash my sins or no but for sure this was the first time after Saga I was able to wash my self below my face.

DIP IN THE LAKE KAILASH STANDING TALL
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CRYSTAL CLEAR WATERS
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OTHER YATRIS HAD COME BY NOW TO ENJOY THE LAKE
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After spending some time in the lake we came back to the camp, evening tea was being served. Group of devotees with their Swamis had already started to do their Havans. The havans continued late till the evening.

HAVANS AND POOJA
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It was approaching almost 7 pm and was time to take some sun set pictures. Amit and I walked away from the Lake this time and climbed on a small hill to get good views of the camp site and the lake beyond and the setting sun.

Basically Hor Chu is a campsite that temporarily comes up during the yatra season. The camp has a few tea houses made in tents where the locals and the drivers stay. The rest of the yatris stay in tents put up the tour leader. Usually these are 2 men tents and have a mattress and a sleeping bag also provided by the Tour organiser. The tents are wind proof hence are quite comfortable in cold nights too. Since solar bulbs are available only in the tea houses, carrying torch lights with you all the time is very essential.

THE CAMP SITE ALONG THE BANKS OF MANSAROVAR AND GURLA MANDHATA BEHIND
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LAYOUT OF THE CAMP
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Men usually use open area for their needs but for the ladies a toilet tent is erected. The toilet tent has a 1 feet hole dug in it and has iron stands with a comode seat. After finishing the job one is suppose to put mud as a courtsey for the next user. Pretty basic!!

TOILET TENT
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The sun was setting on the lake was looking amazing and the orange sky was mesmerizing again. On the other side the moon was coming up. Tomorrow would be Guru Poornima, supposedly the most auspicious day to be at lake Mansarovar.

SUN SETTING OVER THE LAKE
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GOLDEN RAYS OF THE SETTING SUN
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FULL MOON OVER THE MOUNTAINS
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PRAYER FLAGS AND FULL MOON NIGHT
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HAVANS CONTINUED TILL LATE IN THE NIGHT
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Till late at night i was sitting on the banks of Mansarovar and soaking in the scenery. It was really relaxing to be there and hear the water waves making lovely sounds. The lake had a beautifull silver colour to it and the snow peaks around were shining bright in the full moon. If ever I could be as close to heaven, matbe this was it.

Totally satisfied and happy I went to my tent and slept off. As against
to my feelings in the morning I felt that it was absolutely worth the effort, the time and the money spent to be here.

I slept peacefully!!!
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Old 30th July 2009, 20:50   #83
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Default Lake Mansaovar, The Surroundings And Its Importance

Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-googlelake.jpg

MANSAROVAR

Lake Mansarovar lies at around 4550 mtrs or about 14,900 ft above sea level. It is one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world. It is relatively round in shape and has a circumference of approximately 90kms, depth of approximately 90 mtrs and occupies a total area of 320 sq kms. The lake freezes in the winter and melts only in spring.

The lake surrounded by hills lies in the crater of the sacred mountain Kailash in the north. Since Kailash is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva Mansarovar is supposed to be created in the mind of Lord Shiva first, hence the name "manas" mind and "sarovar" lake.

Piligrims till now believe that in the dead of the night heavenly bodies descend to Lake Mansarovar to have a holy dip. A holy dip in Mansarovar by yatris is suppose to wash away sins of a life time and one is born again. Drinking water from the Lake is suppose to be a cure off illness and mental agony.

You can see gompas all around the periphery of the lake. Also part of the lake is a protected sight for many migratory birds. Even sacred swans can be seen near by the lake.

Mansarovar is also viewed by piligrims to be the starting point of 4 of the greatest rivers of Asia, Namely, Brahmaputra, Sutlej, Karnali and Indus.

Mansarovar is considered to be sacred by Hindus and Tibetans alike. One of the greatest Tibetan saints supposed to have meditated here. Mansarovar in Tibetan is known as "Mapam Yumco"

RAKSHAS TAL.

Or the Demons lake lies next to Mansarovar just separated by small hills. Paradoxically, the Rakshas Tal receives water from Mansarovar through an underground channel. As opposed to Mansarovar, Rakshas tal is inauspicious to both Hindus and Budhist alike. Its a salt water lake and does not have any Monasteries in its circumfrence of 112kms.

As per mythology, Ravana, the greatest devotee of Lord Shiva of all time got to take Mt. Kailash as a gift from Shiva himself, provided that he didnt keep the mountain anywhere on the ground in between. Perturbed by this the gods pleaded to Ganesha for help. Divine intervention led to Ravana asking Ganesha to hold the mountain while he relieved himself. The task took much longer than expected and Rakshas Tal was born. In the meanwhile Ganesha put the mountain down hence Mt Kailash was saved too.

Rakshas Tal apparently supports no life and a touching the waters of this lake hi highly inauspicious.

Last edited by deky : 30th July 2009 at 20:52.
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Old 30th July 2009, 21:16   #84
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Mesmerising Lake indeed,

you are a lucky guy Deky to have done this trip.
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Old 31st July 2009, 12:59   #85
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Awesome. Can't wait for the next post.
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Old 31st July 2009, 13:50   #86
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Mesmerising stuff - lowering productivity of BHPians globally
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Old 31st July 2009, 13:59   #87
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Default Day8: Hor Chu Camp To Chu Gompa

Today was suppose to be a leisurely day, as today we would just be covering a distance of about 70kms. The plan was to start the parikrama (in jeeps) of Mansarovar clockwise from the lakes East Bank in a clockwise direction. Cross over the south bank and end the parikrama on the west bank.

On the west bank is situated another gompa called the Chu Gompa and camp for the night there.

Every one had a late start to the day and till the afternoon people were just enjoying the scenery around Hor Chu camp. The water of the lake was pretty cold in the morning, hence except my Mom no one dared to take a dip that time. Usually for the ladies a changing tent is erected by the Mansarovar banks. You can always request the sherpas to put the tent up when the ladies want to have the customary dip.

PEOPLE GATHERING FOR BREAKFAST AT THE DINING TENT
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A TEA HOUSE FOR THE LOCALS AND DRIVERS
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Amit and I decided to walk around some more. These walks were necessary so that we could acclamatise ourselves fully for the Kailash Parikrama ahead.

WOODEN BRIDGE WE CAME ACROSS ON OUR WALKS
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After lunch was served and all the tents and equipment were packed we finally were on our way for the Mansarovar Parikrama. Today we would be doing about 2/3 of the Parikrama.

ENJOYING LUNCH IN THE SUN WITH EVERYTHING PACKED WE WERE READY TO MOVE
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This journey was pretty small hence we had lots of photo stops and leisure time on our hands.

Some photos of our Parikrama

STARTING OUR PARIKRAMA CLOCKWISE
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ANOTHER GOMPA ON THE WAY-SERALUNG GOMPA
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KAILASH AND MANSAROVAR
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GURLA MANDHATA
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PHOTO STOP
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ME MANSAROVAR AND KAILASH
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SOUTH FACE OF KAILASH OVERLOOKING THE LAKE
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OUR GUIDE TENZING, GREAT GUY
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ME ON MANSAROVAR BANKS
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A RIVER JOINING THE LAKE
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BEAUTIFULL COLOURS OF THE LAKE
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FEW MIGRATORY BIRDS ON THE LAKE
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ABSOLUTELY CLEAR WATERS
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AMIT, TENZING AND I
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DRIVERS WAVING FOR THE CAMERA
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TENZING, THE GUIDE WAS HYPERACTIVE
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AMIT FILLING THE HOLY WATER
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TRUGO GOMPA EN ROUTE
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RIVER CROSSING AS WE PASSED UNDER GURLA MANDHATA MOUNTAIN
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Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01378.jpg

...contd in next post
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Old 31st July 2009, 14:08   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
Mesmerising stuff - lowering productivity of BHPians globally
Certainly mine! Great stuff Deky - thank you for the effort put into this!
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Old 31st July 2009, 14:17   #89
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.....contd from previous post

As the parikrama continued at one point we were betwen two hill and Mansarovar disappeared for a while. Suddenly another lake appeared on the left and this was Rakshas Tal.

FIRST VIEW OF RAKSHAS TAL
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01381.jpg

Further another surprise greeted us when the mud road finished and we got a tar road along Rakshas tal. This road would continue till Darchen we were told.

SMOOTH TAR ROAD
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01388.jpg

We reached Chu Gompa at about 1600hrs and were more or less just opposite side of Hor Chu camp.

GURLA MANDHATA AGAIN
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01385.jpg

SNOW SNOW AND MORE SNOW ON THE MOUNTAINS, BUT NO SNOW WHERE WE WERE
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01389.jpg

SOUTH FACE OF KAILASH AND RAKSHAS TAL
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01391.jpg

Chu Gompa is actually on a hill and the camp is by the lake side. We were lucky to get some mud houses as guest rooms there so we wont be spending the night in a tent.

CHU GOMPA
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01395.jpg

SULPHAR SPRINGS
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01397.jpg

CARVED PRAYER STONES
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01398.jpg

After settling in the guest rooms Amit and I decided to climb up to Chu Gompa. It was an ascend of about 1.5 kms or so at a height of 15000ft to the Gompa from the camp and took us more than 45 mnts. It was a tough ask due to the lack of oxygen but we managed with lots of breaks in between. Once on the top great view of Kailash, Mansarovar and Rakshas Tal greeted us.

CHU GOMPA AGAINST THE SUN
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01399.jpg

MOM ALSO DECIDED TO CLIMB HER WAY UP FROM THE MUD HOUSE IN THE BACK GROUND
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01401.jpg

WIND OPERATED PRAYER WHEELS WERE EVERYWHERE
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01402.jpg

TAKING A BREAK FROM CLIMBING
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01406.jpg

CHORTENS OVER LOOKING MANSAROVAR
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01408.jpg

MAJESTIC KAILASH STANDING TALL
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01411.jpg

WAS VERY WINDY ON THE TOP, FLUTTERING PRAYER FLAGS
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01412.jpg

MOM AND OTHER YATRIS WHO HAD CLIMBED UP
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01417.jpg

CHU GOMPA ENTRANCE, BUST SADLY WAS CLOSED
Traversing The Tibet Plateau To Mount Kailash-dsc01419.jpg

After photographs we came down to the camp and had our dinner. Some people went to the lake as today being Guru Poornima day, it was a very auspicious moon. I decided to sleep as the moon was hardly visible due to the clouds.
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Old 31st July 2009, 14:33   #90
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This photo is truly amazing - CHU GOMPA AGAINST THE SUN. Even seasoned photographers would have a hard time to match this!
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