Like every year, the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra is being organized by the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs starting end May/early June to September 2008. The pilgrimage or 'Yatra' is open to all Indian citizens above18 years of age who wish to proceed to Kailash and Manasarovar for religious purposes.
About Mount KailashThe holy Mount Kailash is situated in the western Tibetan plateau in the northernmost region of the Himalayas. Also referred to as Mount Meru and Kang Rinpoche, or snow jewel, Mount Kailash is a 22,028 ft high peak known for being the abode of Shiva. Hindus perform a 'parikrama' or walk around the 32-mile circumference of Mount Kailash, an act that is believed to wipe away all sins. Four holy rivers originate from Mount Kailash: the Indus, the Brahamputra, the Karnali and the Sutlej.
About Mansarovar LakeTravel 18 miles southeast of Kailash, and you arrive at the placid blue circular Lake Mansarovar, also known as Tso Rinpoche or 'precious lake' in Tibetan. Bathing in the freezing cold water of the lake which is said to contain miraculous powers is considered to be of massive spiritual benefit.
About the YatraThe duration of the Yatra is 26 days. In addition, Yatris will need to spend 4 days in New Delhi to obtain visas, undergo a comprehensive medical examination and complete other formalities. This year, 16 batches each consisting of a maximum of 60 pilgrims will take part in the Yatra. The first batch is expected to depart from New Delhi in the last week of May/first week of June and continue till the end of September 2008.
Cost of TravelApplicants should ensure that they possess an Indian Passport. The cost of the Yatra will include Rs. 19,250 to be paid to Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), Rs. 1,950 to be paid to ITBP for medical examination / tests at Delhi, and US$ 700 to be paid to the Chinese side, besides additional expenditure on equipment, clothing, food, baggage, ponies, etc.
An Arduous YatraThe Indian Mountaineering Foundation has recognized the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra as a trekking expedition with an element of life risk involved. The Yatra is extremely arduous - much more than Vaishnodevi or Amarnath Yatra, and involves trekking at altitudes as high as 19,500 feet, under hostile conditions, in extreme cold and on rugged terrain, and may prove hazardous for those who are not physically fit.
Fitness Test a MustApplicants should be physically healthy, medically fit and are required to undergo a comprehensive medical examination in New Delhi. A second medical test to ascertain reactions to altitude trekking is done at Gunji, after 6 days of the Yatra, at a height of 3500 meters.
How to ApplyComplete applications in the prescribed format should be sent to Under Secretary (EA) Room No. 255-A, South Block, Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi-110011 in mid-March every year as stipulated by the Government of India. The selection of Yatris will be done by Ministry of External Affairs through a computer-generated random gender-balanced selection process.
For further details on the Yatra, please visit the official website of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam.