Today is a good day to finally share how the last part of the 3-days circumambulation around Mount Kailsh went. Exactly one year ago my Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage began: in Kathmandu, with the organisation of the necessary paperwork for our journey to Lhasa. And then from Lhasa we moved westwards through the Tibetan Plateau to Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarovar… Here now Kora Day 3/3.
After yesterday’s rather tumultuous trek up Dolma La pass, I had a deep sound sleep here in this cosy monastery bedroom. I wake up in the night as part of my high altitude sleeping pattern (waking up at 2am, taking a sip of water) but fall again fast asleep and have a fantastically nourishing rest.
I get up early and begin the day with a slow walk into the surrounding nature. I appreciate every inch of this landscape and feel so much gratitude just for being here. It’s cloudy and slightly drizzling. Only a few people are awake, shuffling around in the monastery, while I enjoy the intense stillness of the spot where I am.
Back in the gompa, a simple breakfast with the others of my group. And then I head straight towards Milarepa Cave. What a special atmosphere this tiny cave has. I could stay forever.
Our group is invited to join the morning ritual in the monastery’s main prayer hall. The chief priest conducts a beautiful ceremony with prayers, chants and other traditional procedures. I feel as if timetravelling and entering a different reality zone. This scene now could be easily happening several hundreds years ago. It is as if I am holding different timelines from the past and present at the same time now, like a convergence into a singular point. We receive our blessings and can leave.
I stay though and sit down yet again in the adjacent cavern dedicated to Milarepa. Such familiarity. I’m in awe. I click a photo and leave.
I feel refreshed and calm. Yesterday’s upheaval is far away, almost forgotten. And this last trek back to Darchen is fairly easy.
In fact, half way through this part of the parikrama is really uplifting and fills me with great serenity. I enjoy the land, the animal and plant kingdom. Everything flows with ease and joy. Even to the extend that Alena and I can walk together and talk. Chirping away like good friends do.
3 or 4 km before Darchen, my body wants to accelerate, and I start to walk alone.
Suddenly Chotu is by my side. But no talk, no translation app. Just steady walking.
Then at some stage I know this part of the kora is the closure. I want to be quiet, and by myself. Chotu understands and gives me space.
My steps, breath, the air, ether and environment are in total sync and the steady rythm of my moves becomes the foundation for a meditative expansion. Pure beingness. Pure isness. The sky begins to open up.
Just before the trek ends, my eyes start scanning the ground. I sense there might be a stone or pebble important for me to find. To my surprise, my attention gets indeed directed to a small emerald coloured stone that has a white landscape-like line integrated and melted in its structure. It is a natural colour change due to stone variation. What fascinates me is that the whole stone looks like the Kailsh landscape in mini format and fits easily into the palm of my hand.
Chotu catches up with me, comes closer and explains that it is a special rock which can heal eye ailments. Oh, I want to see clearer, that‘s for sure! “Kailash, can I keep it?” I ask silently. Yes.
At this point, Chotu pulls out a white katha (Tibetan shawl) from his jacket pocket and hands it over. His gift for me at the end of our tour. I’m touched, smile, fold my hands in Namaste, bow my head and thank him for his help and support over the past days.
It is a Tibetan custom to offer a khata to greet friends, relatives or guests as a way of indicating your honorable intentions, and wishes of happiness. When given as a farewell gesture it symbolises a safe journey.
Upon entering Darchen, and heading towards our meeting point – a restaurant in the main road – I first spot our bus and our guide, and then Sergei. He is wearing his sunglasses and stands motionless on the sidewalk in front of the cafe. Of course, he is already there. Like a big brother or even guard who always walks ahead, checks and secures the path. I‘m waving my hand. He waves back.
One after the other, each one of us arrives and we have a late lunch together. Travelling in a small group of eleven individuals from different countries, we all did the entire traditional Kailash Kora in three days by foot, without horses. Our mood is one of tiredness, yes, but above all tranquil cheerfullness and renewal. I feel that we all got transformed and have a lot to assimilate. Much of which we are probably not even aware of.
I leave the restaurant and take a seat on a bench in the sun in front of one of the nicer Tibetan souvenir shops. The sky is blue and I‘m glad a parasole is protecting me from the burning midday rays. Now, as the Kora is done and the intensity of the past three days is evaporising, I notice a profound sense of completion. I breathe and just be. Yet, there is also a very subtle pinch, a slightly unsettling lack of orientation creeping up. What now?
Our guide and Sergei pass by and enter the shop. Sergei buys a Tibetan mala. He comes out alone and sits next to me on the bench. He tells me about the location of the last Tsa-tsas: Milarepa cave. Am I surprised? Ha ha, yes and no! He dropped the mini stupas there before departing from the monastery.
Then he begins to talk about his childhood. He recalls a Lama visiting his home in Russia and initiating him into a mantra when he was only six years old. I‘m amazed that he remembers this event. His mala acquisition is linking back to that event, and naturally connects to the mantra he was given then. I suggest to Sergei to clean his new mala in Lake Manasarovar. Many people have touched the pearls, and it is better to push an energetic reset button before using it. He gets what I mean.
In the early afternoon we arrive at our next guesthouse. It is only 100m away from the banks of Lake Manasarovar. And I know exactly what to do: walking towards the lake!
Finally, I have more time here.