Kailash Mansarovar Yatra: All You Need to Know (2024) | For Indians

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Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Are you an Indian looking to embark on the holy Kailash Mansarovar Yatra this year? You have come to the right place! In this blog, we provide you with every detail you will ever require to take on this holy pilgrimage, like prices, routes, itinerary and more! Stay tuned to find out all you need about a pilgrimage to the abode of Lord Shiva.

Kailash Mansarovar

What is Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a pilgrimage undertaken by Hindu devotees to perform parikrama of or have darshan of Mount Kailash, a mountain respected as the home of Lord Shiva in Hinduism. It also holds immense significance in Buddhism and Jainism. It takes about 10 days to 30 days to complete this yatra that holds immense importance in the hearts of many religious people in Asia. 

Mount Kailash, adored by numerous faiths, has tremendous spiritual importance. In Hinduism, it is revered as Lord Shiva’s holy residence, joined by his spouse, Parvati and their children, Ganesh and Kartikeya. The Vishnu Purana mentions its four faces of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli, which represent heavenly purity and prosperity. Kailash, which represents the world’s axis and is nestled among six mountain ranges like a lotus, depicts cosmic harmony. In Jainism, the neighbouring Astapada commemorates the first Tirthankara’s enlightenment and is embellished with three stupas and twenty-four shrines devoted to future Tirthankaras.

Similarly, Vardhamana Mahavira’s mythical voyage to Meru demonstrates Jainism’s devotion. Buddhists venerate Kailash as Mount Meru, home to the Buddha Cakrasaṃvara, a symbol of joy. The nine-story Swastika Mountain, which represents the axis Mundi, Tagzig Olmo Lung Ring, is an important part of Bon adherents’ spiritual practice in Tibet.

Why Do We Do Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

Mount Kailash is extremely important to Hindus, and it is considered the earthly incarnation of Mount Meru, the universe’s spiritual centre. According to Hindu legend, Svarga, or paradise, is here, and pilgrims who visit this holy spot are purified of their sins. The trip to Mount Kailash usually involves a visit to Mansarovar Lake, where bathing in its waters is claimed to guarantee entry into Lord Brahma’s heaven, and drinking its sacred waters absolves sins accrued over a hundred lifetimes. The pilgrimage experience revolves around the circumambulation of the sacred mountain and the calm Mansarovar Lake, which represents purity and spiritual rebirth for believers.

Where is Kailash Mansarovar?

Mount Kailash, also called Mount Meru, is perched at an elevation of 6638 metres. Currently, in Tibet (occupied by China), the mountain is also called Gang Rinpoche. One can visit here through a China visa.

It is a part of the Kailash Range in Tibet in the Ngari Prefecture and serves as one of the most prominent sources of rivers in India. 

The Legends of Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash is an important spiritual site with many mysteries surrounding it. Let’s take a look at some!

· The mountain is said to be unclimbable. Many have tried to climb, and some of them haven’t returned! The Chinese government has recently prohibited all such climbing excursions to Kailash as the mountain is of religious importance to many religions.

· Those who unsuccessfully climbed it and returned have stated that time flew faster here and that their hair and nails grew rapidly owing to the climate and height here. Many have also stated that they were thrown off their tracks or unusual and unprecedented calamities happened to them as they tried climbing it.

· Many have called the mountain the ‘centre of the world’. It is also dubbed ‘axis mundi’, where heaven and earth meet. The Stonehenge is exactly 6666 kilometres from it, and the South Pole is 13332 kilometres!

· Many scientists have also believed that the mountain is actually artificial due to its shapes like a pyramid and the sides being perfectly perpendicular.

· Only one person has been able to climb it. He was a spiritual leader and monk, Milarepa, who said that the mountain holds secrets no human should know.

· The Kailash Parvat is right in the middle of a collection of mountains that look like a formed lotus. The four sides of the mountain also face the exact directions – North, West, East and South.

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Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Dates 2024

Tour operators generally decide the specific dates, but the pilgrimage usually takes place between April and October each year.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Total Time

You must be asking, “How many days are required for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?” Well, the exact duration of your trip depends on the package you choose and the route, but the total time is approximately 10-30 days, depending upon where you start from and how.

For Indians, the yatra currently takes place in Lucknow. When the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) organizes it, it generally starts from Delhi via either Sikkim or Uttarakhand.

If you’re taking it on from Nepal, the yatra starts from Nepalgunj.

How to Do Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from India?

In 2024, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) hasn’t yet approved the resuming of the yatra this year. It has been halted since 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic eruption. You can currently do this yatra from Nepal.

There are many ways you can do this! We’ll take you through every way you can do this from India as well as from Nepal if you wish to take the trip urgently. Read on to find out!

What is the Eligibility Criteria for Indians?

The eligibility criteria by MEA for the yatra are as follows:

“a. Must be a citizen of India

b. Own an Indian passport valid for minimum 6 months as on the 1st of September of the current year

c. Age limit is minimum 18 and maximum 70 years as of the first month of the existing year

d. Body Mass Index (BMI) should be 25 or less

e. Physically fit and medically healthy for undertaking the Yatra for religious purpose

f. Foreign nationals are not eligible to apply; OCI card holders are, thus, not eligible.”

You must also ensure that you aren’t suffering from health issues like diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, epilepsy or any heart problems.

There will be a medical test when you reach Delhi, which is done by the Delhi government and helps ensure you’re physically fit for the pilgrimage.

Routes from India:

From India, MEA has decided on only two routes for this yatra. There are two routes you can take – via the Nathu La Pass in Sikkim and the Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand. The yatra by MEA is open to all Indian citizens holding a valid Indian Passport. Yes, you will require a passport for the Yatra as you will need a China visa to visit Mount Kailash.

The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam also organizes these yatras from Uttrakhand via the Lipulekh Pass

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the Lipulekh Route:

The Lipulekh Pass route will take up to 25 days for completion of the yatra. The MEA itinerary is as follows:

·      Day 1 to 4: Arrival in Delhi. During the four days, you will be going through health check-ups and documentation for the yatra.

·      Day 5 to 7: Delhi to Almora. Almora to Dharchula. Dharchula to Bundhi. All this will be done in Volvo AC and non-AC buses.

·      Day 8 to 13: During these days, you will be trekking from Bundhi towards Lipu-Taklakot. Your route will be as follows:

Bundhi – Gunji – Nabi – Gunji – Kalapani – Nabhhidhang – Lipu-Taklakot

·      Day 14: On this day, you will halt at Taklakot to acclimatize to the climate and elevation.

·      Day 15 and 16: Taklakot to Deraphuk via Darchen in a bus. You will reach your destination here.

·      Day 17: Trek to Zunzhui Pu.

·      Day 18: Either take a bus or trek to Qugu from Zunzhui Pu to do the complete parikrama of Mount Kailash. You haven’t been allowed to dip in the Mansarovar Lake since 2018, but you can fill buckets for bathing in a designated area. 

·      Day 19: Halt day at Qugu.

·      Day 20: Start the return journey on the same route by bus. It will take 5 days to reach Delhi.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via the Nathu La Pass

This route takes only 18-22 days for trip completion but is also a bit more expensive than the Lipulekh Pass route. This route also does not require any trekking, and most of the travel is by bus; it is perfect for those who need help walking for long hours. Your itinerary will look something like this under MEA:

· For the first 4 days, the usual health check-ups and documentation happen.

·      Day 1: Arrival in Gangtok via air or bus.

·      Day 2: Reach 15th Mile from Gangtok.

·      Day 3: Stay at 15th Mile.

·      Day 4: Reach Sherathang from 15th Mile.

·      Day 5: Stay at Sherathang.

·      Day 6: Reach Kangma.

·      Day 7: Reach Lazi.

·      Day 8: Reach Zhongba.

·      Day 9: Reach Darchen. The parikrama starts here.

·      Day 10: Reach Deraphuk via Darchen.

·      Day 11: This is when you reach Qugu, where the yatra is completed. You will also find the Mansarovar Lake and Rakshas Tal here as well. Make sure you get buckets from the nearby stalls for bathing in the holy water, as directly dipping in the Mansarovar Lake isn’t allowed anymore. You will also be camping here.

·      Day 12: From Qugu, start the return journey to Delhi via the same route you came by. It will take about 5 days for you to return to Delhi.

These were the itineraries of India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) as well as the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam. Now, let’s take a look at how Indians can do the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Lucknow through Nepal.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Nepal – How to Do it From Nepal through Lucknow?

This route is currently open to all Indians and takes one through Nepal. The yatra starts from Nepal and ends back again in Nepal.

You will find many operators that have tied with the Nepal Embassy and other Nepali operators for curating this yatra for Indians. You can check online for them. This yatra usually takes 9-12 days and is done via a helicopter from Nepal. This is the general itinerary from Lucknow: 

· Departure from Lucknow to Nepalgunj (generally done on a bus).

· Flying from Nepalgunj to Simikot.

· From Simikot, a helicopter takes you to Hilsa, and then there is a drive to Taklakot.

· A day in Taklakot is spared for acclimatization.

· From Taklakot, one goes to Lake Mansarovar for bathing in the holy waters. 

· From there, the parikrama starts. You will be trekking for about 12 kilometres to Dirapuk.

· The parikrama takes more than one day to do, so on the next day as well you will be doing the parikrama with a 22 kilometres trek to Zuthulpukh via the holy Gauri Kund,

· From there, you will be returning to Lucknow via the same route.

Can Individuals Go for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

Currently, no one can do the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by themselves. Yatris are sent in groups from India and Nepal for the pilgrimage as well. You will have to take on a package under the government or online.

Who Provides Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) both used to provide the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra before 2020 in India. Since the yatra has been stopped due to COVID-19, once it resumes, they will provide it again. Till then, many operators provide this yatra from Nepal by having a tie-up with Indian operators. These usually take off from Lucknow.

You can also do a chartered plane yatra and see Mount Kailash from the top only!

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How Much Does Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Cost?

The price generally depends upon the operator you choose to go with and the route you choose. We will provide a general idea of prices as per the MEA as well as an approximate cost by various other tour operators.

Cost by the Ministry of External Affairs:

If you plan to go from India with the help of the Ministry of External Affairs, you will be taking one of the two routes. Both routes have significant price differences due to the facilities they provide. The Lipulekh Pass route is a cheaper option due to the extensive trekking required on the route, while the Nathu La Pass route is a bit expensive as there is almost no walking or trekking required, and you will be transported in a bus throughout the course of the yatra.

MEA Lipulekh Pass Route Cost (All Inclusive): Rs. 1,93,000 (Cook charges are not included and are on an ‘as per requirement’ basis)

MEA Nathu La Pass Route Cost (All Inclusive): Rs. 2,72,000 (Cook charges are not included and are on an ‘as per requirement’ basis)

The cost of the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam is the same as the cost of the Lipulekh Pass cost of MEA.

Cost by Other Operators:

The yatra cost by other operators varies pertaining to the facilities they provide. These generally start from Lucknow and go via Nepal. The approximate cost of yatra by helicopter will be between Rs. 2,15,000 and Rs. 2,50,000 per person.

What are the Visa Requirements for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

If you’re going from Nepal or through any route, you will not be required to get a visa for Nepal. The only visa required is from China, which China issues. The important thing to note is that even if you’re doing the yatra from Nepal as an Indian, the visa will not be issued by the Chinese Embassy in Nepal. You must get this visa only from the Chinese Embassy in India.

How to Prepare for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra? | Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Tips

There are a few things to keep in mind before you embark on this spiritual journey:

· The temperatures around Kailash Parvat range between -15 degrees Celsius and -45 degrees Celsius all year. So pack your essentials and winter clothing accordingly.

· You will require a China visa and Tibet permits. No Nepal visa is required for those travelling from Nepal. These will be included in your trip by your trip operators. Certain permits required in Nepal will be obtained directly from Nepal at a minimal cost. The tour operator will obtain the Restricted Area Permit in Nepal.

· Most operators, as well as MEA and KMVN, do not include insurance for the trip. Make sure you get one for yourself!

· There are many camps along the Parikrama route where you will stay. They offer limited facilities, and you might have to arrange food for yourself from the nearby hotels and shops. Confirm with your operator about such inclusions before booking.

· Full moon nights are generally the most popular and populated ones when doing Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. Make sure you choose dates that don’t align with full or near-full moons. You might get stranded ahead of the parikrama due to the unavailability and exhaustion of facilities on such days.

· Get SIM cards that are useful for international calling. You might also get Wi-Fi at some places, but some don’t offer Wi-Fi.

· Make sure to carry enough cash with you. You might not find many ATMs around the route you’re taking.

· Make sure you’re physically fit to take on this journey. Go through a complete medical check-up to ensure you don’t have any medical problems beforehand.

· If you cannot walk for long hours, take the Nathu La Pass route of the MEA. The bus travel will make your journey easy and comfortable. You can also opt for helicopter rides by tour operators.

· The Chinese government has banned bathing/dipping in Mansarovar Lake. You will find many shops selling buckets for you to fill and take a bath at a designated area for bathing.

· If you’re going by the packages of MEA or KMVN, they provide an extensive medical check-up in Delhi to ensure your physical fitness for the pilgrimage. The Delhi government does the check-up.

· You will require a passport as you need a China visa to enter Tibet (occupied by China) to reach Mount Kailash.

Conclusion

So, embark on this spiritual journey on the lookout for salvation and peace in life. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is an exhilarating journey to the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. This is a journey everyone dreams of taking on in life, and if you’ve been given the chance, seize the opportunity now! 

Is Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Difficult?

Yes, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is a fairly difficult pilgrimage to take on due to the high altitude and rocky terrain. The weather is also harsh. Prepare for all of it beforehand to make the trip smoother.

Is Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Open in 2024?

The Yatra will be provided in 2024 by many travel agents with a tie-up in Nepal. The official yatra by the government has yet to resume. You can check online operators for the yatra that will take you through Nepal.

How Much Does It Cost for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

For Indians, the yatra will cost anywhere between Rs. 2 lakh and Rs. 3 lakh, depending upon the route and travel agent.

How to Register For Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 2024?

You can apply for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra online on many operators’ sites. They will contact you to provide you with all details, and you can book directly through them. Once the yatra by MEA starts, the process is similar – you can apply by filling out the online application form.

 How Long Is Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

Depending on the route you choose or the operator, the yatra will take anywhere between 10-30 days.

Can You Do Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Without a Passport?

No, a passport is a must for doing the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

 Is a Passport Required for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

Yes, a passport is required for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. You are required to have a China visa to enter Tibet, and for that, you will require a passport.

 What is the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Age Limit?

The minimum age limit for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is 18 years, while the maximum age limit is 70 years. There are also rules regarding the physical fitness of a person.