Kailash Kora, Part III: Day 17 – 18 (Elevation 4556M / 14947FT)
August 24, 2010, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Our final day of kora continued along a wide river valley floor.  It was an absolutely spectacular day, one made for ambling along the path without the intimidation of a monstrous pass lurking ahead.  This shot looks back towards our campsite and the distance covered:

Up ahead we stopped at Zutulpuk, a cave where Milarepa stayed and meditated in the 11th century leaving imprints of his head and hands embedded in rock. 

Milarepa is a fantastic character: he was an eccentric sorcerer who went from dabbling in black magic to become one of Tibet’s most beloved poets and saints.  He’s often depicted looking a little green-blue due to the diet of nettles he subsisted on while in meditation. 

Below is the site of Mila’s cave now housed in a small temple with the monk caretaker coming our way:

After a little time visiting the temple and having a quiet moment in the cave, a few of us climbed up to the small meditation dwellings in the cliffs above.  We were on the hunt for an elusive self-arising OM symbol that was rumored to have appeared on a rock above one of the meditation caves.  But alas, we did not find it.  We explored the caves a bit, which are active but currently empty, then climbed down and continued on the final stretch of kora:

As we came around to the end of the pilgrimage route (or beginning, depending on your perspective) we traded in our yaks for Land Cruisers and were reunited with our full crew.  We then head back toward Lake Manasarovar where we set up camp on the shore.  

Chloe and I then ran off for a soak in the local hot springs.  Such gooood medicine.  The hot springs below Chiu Gompa were, until very recently, undeveloped and out in the open.  But now they have been channeled into two buildings and flow on-demand into a series of private rooms with wooden tubs.  Not my favorite, as you may recall from a recent post.  But unlike our experience in Tirthapuri, these hot springs were HOT and glorious and I squealed and sighed in delight throughout most of the hour or more that we soaked.  Sadly, no pictures were taken of this baptism.  But we were clean and happy girls afterwards. 

I then took a short hike on my own up a small peak above the lake and watched the sun set on Kailash in one direction, and Manasarovar on the other.  This would be the last I would see of Kailash for this trip, she was clouded over the next morning.

After the sunset I head over to join the group at a lakeside guest house where they were having a congratulatory beer or two.  The guest house owners were a warm and welcoming couple, and we sat around their cast-iron stove chatting for a long time.  Trinley, the man of the house, turned out to be an incredible source of local history, knowing a story for any/every question I threw at him.  He talked to me about everything from local legend to the impact of climate change on the region.  I did my very best to follow along and he kept his local dialect to the minimum so that I could have the best chance of really getting it all. 

He’s one of those people who will never stop learning, with his back rooms full of books and even a small painting area where he is practicing the art of thanka painting.  I was wishing that we could abduct him and take him along with us so that he could fill our heads with knowledge about everything that we would pass from this moment onward.  But since that would be a little extreme, we decided to just invite him to accompany us to Chiu Gompa, the monastery on the mountain just above his guest house, the next morning.  He agreed.  We then departed from his hospitality for our campsite by the lake.  That night’s sleep was a particularly deep one after the big effort of kora. 

Morning at Manasarovar:

Chiu Gompa from below:


The view from the top:

Me & my intellectual crush:


We then hit the road heading slowly toward Lhasa!


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment


Comment by Cole

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: