How difficult is the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the Lipulekha pass?

How difficult is the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the Lipulekha pass?

If the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is something that you have wanted to do for a long time now, then perhaps doing your research about it will put you on the right path. There are several options in your way concerning the routes you can take to reach your destination and knowing about the pros and cons of the important ones is a good idea. Yatra by government organization has maximum trekking, pilgrims trek for approximately 200-250km. It is a time taking journey. Whereas yatra by Private organizations from Nepal route is convenient as it has good transportation facility.

Mythological significance of Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash stands tall at almost 22,000 feet and doing a ‘parikrama’ of it is something most devout Hindus wish to do at least once in their lifetimes. The reason being that Mount Kailash is said to be the heavenly abode of Shiva: that great god revered by Shiv-bhakts and Hindus all over. Shiva is kind, powerful and an ascetic and he is said to be in a state of meditation on the top of the mountain. Anyone who can reach Mount Kailash is said to have washed off all unknown sins of previous births and is said to have a direct pass to heaven after death. Truly, the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is one that brings Hindu pilgrims of all sects together for its divine significance.

The Yatra done via the Lipulekha Pass

This is one of the oldest routes to go to Kailash Mansarovar from India. It is a route that has been used for centuries since ancient times by merchants, traders, mendicants and travelers to travel to and from Tibet. Here are a few things to know about the route:

  • Done by foot and bus: This is a very difficult route to follow for the average person considering that it is done by foot and bus. Today, most people are not accustomed to travel long distances on foot which makes it tough for them to opt for this route. It starts from Delhi, after which pilgrims are supposed to trek through pretty rough terrains of Uttarakhand and Nepal. After that, they have to cross into Tibet by foot via the Lipulekha pass. The pass is at a height of 17,500 feet. After that, it is a journey that has to be done by bus and then again by foot to reach Mount Kailash. For people traveling with children or with parents who are old and infirm, choosing this kind of physically demanding route is next to impossible. In this yatra pilgrim needs to trek for 200km – 250km. If found unfit during the journey you will be sent back.
  • Mountainous terrain that is tough to navigate: It’s not just the distance that is a problem with the Lipulekha pass route to Kailash. The pass is actually wedged between China, India and Nepal. It takes at least 22 days for the journey which can be tough to deal with for average people with limited physical ability. The actual trek can be treacherous and can be more than 200 km in today’s times.
  • The river Kali: This river is known for its turbulent currents and can be quite dangerous in a few patches. The force of the water is high which means that if someone falls into the river, not only will he be unable to come out, his body would be ravaged.
  • High speed winds: Another reason why the Lipulekha pass is not the favored route for Mount Kailash pilgrims from India is because of the winds which are common for areas which are so high above the sea level. In fact, the winds are so high-speed that one has to trek in the sitting or crouching position to prevent oneself from falling down.
  • Age criteria: In Government package the age limit is 18 to 70 years old. But in private organization pilgrims from 10 to 70 years old are allowed.
  • Cost: Kailash Mansarovar Yatra cost from 1.50 lakhs to 2 lakhs with a private organization but with government organization you will need to pay 2 lakhs.
  • Selection procedure: Selection for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by Ministry of External Affairs is based on lucky draw system and Health report. If any pilgrim is physically unfit or above 70 years of age he gets rejected. There no such selection process in private organization. Only the age criteria is applicable.

Alternative routes for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

The above information should not deter you from making the pilgrimage to the Mount Kailash though. There are new routes available which make the Yatra a much more favorable one.

  • By helicopter from Lucknow: This is by far the best and the easiest route you can take to reach Mount Kailash. This is because most part of the journey is done by helicopter so that almost anyone can do it. The journey will take between 5 and 11 days depending on weather conditions prevailing at the time.  The journey starts from Lucknow and Kathmandu. In this trip pilgrims travel via Hilsa border.
  • Overland route from Kathmandu: This is also a very good route to take for people who want to enjoy the beautiful scenery during the journey. There is no doubt that the journey will be one of the most memorable ones considering the almost paradise-like quality of the scenery. The journey will be done in high-quality jeeps and it will take around 14 days to reach Mount Kailash. The Journey starts from Kathmandu traveling through kyirong border to Mt. Kailash and back. This route is best for acclimatization of pilgrims. Witness the Great Brahmaputra river en-route Mt. Kailash.

Both these routes can be enjoyed by anyone between the ages of 10 and 70.

When more comfortable routes are available, there is really no point in going by the treacherous mountainous terrain of the Lipulekha pass. Planning in advance, getting the required Visa permits beforehand will ensure a safe and enjoyable Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

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