Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2016 via Lipulekh Pass - PART 2

Continuing my Kailash Manasarovar Yatra..In this section, I will share some general information regarding the Yatra, eligibility, how & what to pack, etc. Never put your medicine bag along with the common luggage. Always keep it with you.

Eligibility criteria:

  1. Must be citizen of India.
  2. Possess an Indian passport valid for minimum 6 months as on 1st September of the current year.
  3. Age should be minimum 18 and maximum 70 years as on 01 January of the current year.
  4. Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or less. Although it is not a strictly enforced parameter, but you need to be in good physical condition.
  5. Physically fit and medically healthy for undertaking the Yatra for religious purpose.
  6. Foreign nationals are not eligible to apply; OCI card holders are, thus, not eligible.

Applicants may carefully note the following conditions before applying for the Yatra.

Selection process:

  1. Draw of lots: Yatris will be selected and assigned to different routes and batches by the Ministry of External Affairs through a fair computer-generated, random, gender-balanced selection process. At the application stage, a group of four persons may give the option to travel together in the same batch. Efforts will be made to accommodate such requests as far as possible, subject to eligibility conditions of each applicant. Application should be completed on-line for each applicant.
  2. Intimation: Selected applicants would be informed through automated messages to their registered email id/mobile number after the computerized draw of lots. Status updates may also be accessed through IVRS helpline 011-24300655
  3. A route and batch once allocated to a Yatri through the computerized process will normally not be changed. Yatris may register on-line for change of batch to be considered on first come basis, subject to availability in a preferred batch or route. This option can be used only once. Selected and confirmed applicants would be given preference.
  4. After the computerized draw of lots, each selected applicant will be required to confirm participation by crediting the non-refundable Confirmation Amount detailed in 'Fees and Expenditure for Yatris' into designated bank account of (KMVN) or, the Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation (STDC) before the cut-off date.
  5. If payment is not received by KMVN / STDC by the cut-off date, such Yatri will be automatically removed from the selected list to wait list for the batch, and request from other Yatris would be considered.
  6. Yatris confirmed in a batch may be required to re-confirm their participation in the batch before their arrival in Delhi for the Yatra. The reconfirmation has to be done online at the website. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of their name from the list for the batch.
  7. Confirmed Yatri must report on the scheduled date & time at Delhi Heart & Lung Institute (DHLI) according to the itinerary for the batch.
  8. Important Documents Selected and confirmed Yatris must ensure to bring following documents with them when they arrive in New Delhi for the Yatra.
    1. Ordinary Indian passport,valid for at least six months as on 01 September of the current year.
    2. Photograph - color, passport size (6 copies).
    3. Indemnity Bond executed on a non-judicial stamp paper of Rs.100, or as applicable locally, and authenticated by a First Class Magistrate, or Notary Public.
    4. Undertaking for evacuation by helicopter in case of emergency.
    5. Consent Form for cremation of mortal remains on Chinese side in case of death there.








  • Packing Tips: In addition to what’s mentioned in the brochure, I would suggest the following:

      1. If you’re going on Yatra during Monsoon season, it’s not a bad idea to carry an umbrella.
      2. Common luggage should be properly packed in polythene sheets because of waterfalls and possible rain that your luggage will be exposed to.
      3. A good quality belt pouch to carry passport (original and photocopy), emergency telephone numbers, medical reports, currency, IDs and important documents. Each should be kept in a separate ziplock.
      4. Carry at least 2 permanent markers to mark your bags for identification. 
      5. If you’re staying at Gujrat Samaj (Delhi), big fertilizer bags will be given for sealing your bags (no need to worry about bringing your own).
      6. A string to secure your sunglasses
      7. An extra nylon rope
      8. Backpack that your porter will be carrying (in case off-loaded) should contain some eatables, water, sunscreen, toiletries, hat, wet-wipes, poncho, essential medicines, flashlight, camera, etc and one extra set of spare clothes because sometimes you won’t get to see your luggage at day-end. 
      9. Extra luggage can be deposited at Dharchula and Navidhang.
      10. Don’t forget M-Seal to secure your bottles (to carry Manasarovar water).
      11. Medicines: In addition to brochure mentioned medicines, consider carrying:
        1. Dexona tablets/injection (useful in cases of cerebral edema)
        2. Diamox
        3. ORS
        4. Broad spectrum antibiotic
        5. Ankle and knee support bandages
        6. Vicks
        7. Crepe bandage
        8. Nifedipine (useful in cases of Pulmonary edema, take only when advised by a Doctor)
          Always carry your medicine bag with you and do not pack it with common luggage. 
    Currency Exchange: I used UrbanClap to find locally based agents who will home deliver required currency at good rates, which are more convenient and provide better rates than brand names like Thomas Cook etc.
    This is how bag looks after packing

    To be continued..

    IMPORTANT ADVICE: We should be blessed that we are chosen for this yatra and it is our responsibility to not litter and keep Devbhoomi clean. Carry your plastic wraps that you use with you and dispose them later. Try to clean the trail. Tell your porter not to litter. Gutka and chips packets lie everywhere. Particularly distressing was to see shores of Manasarovar littered with used underwear packets, ghee packets, used sanitary napkins etc. It was distressing and abominable. A place, which is so pious to us must be respected by all of us and deserves a conscious effort by all yatris to lead a cleaning drive as and when possible. Don't forget to do your bit, even if others are not doing it. 

    Monday, February 6, 2017

    Kailash Manasarovar Yatra 2016 via Llipulekh Pass - The Beginning

    PART 1


    This is a travelogue about Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, which I took through Government of India (organized by MEA) via Lipulekh Pass route. KMY is organized by MEA between June to September with max of 60 pilgrims per batch. Pilgrims wishing to undertake this Yatra must hold a valid Indian passport and be between the age of 18-70 and medically fit. Another government approved route is through Nathula pass (starts from Sikkim). Few private operators also offer customized packages through Nepal route.


    The idea of this blog is to acquaint people who wish to undertake the Yatra in future with relevant information, which is not adequately available on the web. And also to share my journey to the realm of Shiva and experiences I had. The purpose of my journal is to share my experiences and more importantly information that is not available online.

    IMPORTANT ELIGIBILITY PRE-REQUISITE:
    Make sure your passport has at least 6 months term left from the day of your travel else you will not be able to apply. Here's how to determine this: take the end date of the last batch (sometime in September, but see the exact date on KMY website and then add 6 months to it. If your passport expires before that, you must renew your passport to be eligible to apply.


    May 5, 2016
    I received a mail and SMS about my confirmation of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra for which one has to register through their website (KMY.gov.in). I was allotted batch #12 and days of my yatra were July 23 - Aug 16. I was a solo traveler on Kailash Manasarovar Yatra and all other co-travelers were unknown to me back then. This yatra was a homage to my father who was a mountain goat and would tell us that mountains are the best place to seek God’s attention.


    Journey to Kailash Manasarovar was to find that inner silence, inner quietude, the mandala. I had to deposit Rs 5000 by May 13th to confirm my attendance for the yatra. Afterwards, I received a confirmation in a few days. The journey for a solo traveler would unfold in days to come..


    Physical preparation for the Yatra
    Since this yatra is long and arduous and covers more than 250 kms, one needs to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually fit. Especially if you wish to take this journey on foot without hiring a pony. My preparation started with cycling 20-30 kms a day alternating with 8kms walk, yoga and trekking in between. Immensely helpful was my uncle, Mr Rajinder Raina who already has done Kailash Manasarovar Yatra around 18 times. His valuable guidance really helped me in planning my yatra.


    If you are a couch potato with poor physical fitness, it’s imperative that you build your stamina. Even if you plan to take pony, it’s critical to be fit and be ready to trek through regions where ponies can’t go.


    Medical tips
    Since I’m a Doctor, there are a few things, which I would like to bring to your notice. Never underestimate mountains and altitude. In my batch, we had multiple cases of high altitude, cerebral edema and pulmonary edema, who were managed by grace of Shiva. So, let’s look at certain pointers before you undertake the yatra:
    1. Stop smoking by all means.
    2. Start walking each day and consider Yoga and pranayama.
    3. Continue taking your anti hypertensive medicine (if taking currently). Do not stop on day of your medical tests as it will lead to very high blood pressure during the test, which will be aggravated by stress of not getting selected. Take your medicine very early morning with a sip of water.
    4. If you’re diabetic, do not forget to bring your glucometer with you to monitor your blood sugar levels.
    5. It’s advisable to get knee caps and ankle support. You might need them in case you inadvertently twist your ankle during long hikes through the extremely rugged Himalayan regions. One lady in our batch twisted her ankle, but with her grit and determination and ankle support, she completed her Yatra successfully.
    6. For people older than 50 yrs of age, it’s advisable to carry calcium and multivitamin supplements.
    7. It’s personal choice to get tetanus vaccination done prior to yatra If you have not had vaccination done in more than six months.
    8. Always make others in your batch aware of your allergies and any medical condition you have.
    9. Never taken acute mountain sickness lightly. Keep yourself hydrated with proper intake of water and never ignore even slightest symptoms of AMS, which include headache, nausea, etc
    10. Wrap your toe fingers and friction points in your feet with Doctor’s tape. You will thank me for this as it will help you minimize blisters. Additionally use, medicated dusting powder.
    11. Get a good sunscreen of SPF 50 or above, lipbalm and good quality sunglasses.
    12. Consider taking medical insurance through Insubuy, which is the only company globally that offers this service. Normal insurance carriers do not offer insurance for Kailash Manasarovar Yatra.
    13. Don't forget to carry medicines as mentioned in the brochure and always keep medical bag handy.
    14. Keep warm as the weather can deteriorate anytime and hypothermia can set in, as happened with one of my fellow yatris during our trek from Navidhang to Lipulekh pass.
    15. Don’t be taxed about medical tests at Gunji. Stress increases blood pressure. Have faith in scheme of things. Hope you find these tip useful.
    To be continued..

    A waterfall on way from gala to buddhi..



    IMPORTANT ADVICE: We should be blessed that we are chosen for this yatra and it is our responsibility to not litter and keep Devbhoomi clean. Carry your plastic wraps that you use with you and dispose them later. Try to clean the trail. Tell your porter not to litter. Gutka and chips packets lie everywhere. Particularly distressing was to see shores of Manasarovar littered with used underwear packets, ghee packets, used sanitary napkins etc. It was distressing and abominable. A place, which is so pious to us must be respected by all of us and deserves a conscious effort by all yatris to lead a cleaning drive as and when possible. Don't forget to do your bit, even if others are not doing it. 

    Click here to read next part of Yatra