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Murli Menon, his Trek to Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet

I left Ahmedabad by Flight IC 818 to New Delhi on April 20th'2004. My goal was to reach Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet armed with only my Government of Gujarat Driving License as the sole document, which proved my identity.

Murli Menon in conversation with Prittle Prattle News

Murli Menon in conversation with Prittle Prattle News – I left Ahmedabad by Flight IC 818 to New Delhi on April 20th’2004. My goal was to reach Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet armed with only my Government of Gujarat Driving License as the sole document, which proved my identity. To some readers, this would have looked like an exercise in futility. Still, however being a trained ZeNLP master, I knew that meaningful coincidences would propel me towards my goal if I continued my meditation, creative visualization, autosuggestion, and goal achievement mental visualizations. My weight before I started was 66 kg. Taken on 20th April 2004 at the AVERY weighing machine at Ahmedabad airport. The journey from Ahmedabad to Delhi on election day was uneventful. After spending three days in Delhi, I took the Ranikhet Express to Katgodam station. This train leaves Delhi at 10:00 p.m. and reaches Katgodam at 7:00 a.m. At Katgodam, I was received by Mr. Vishnu Hari Bhatt of Kumaon Vikas Mandal Nigam (KMVN). After a quick cup of black Uttaranchal tea at KMVN’s Tourist Rest House at Katgodam, I left by car to Naukuchiatal (nine cornered lake 1218 meters above sea level) and Sattal (1219 meters) to meditate. I also visited Bhimtal (Height: 1371 meters), which was in the vicinity. I visited the Jyotirling at Jageshwar, home to a pre-historic, ancient temple and twin one thousand-year-old Deodhar trees. From Jageshwar, we proceeded to the forest sanctuary at Binsar, which would provide us with a picturesque view of Panchachuli, Annapoorna, Trishul, and Shivling peaks. I was provided accommodation at KMVN tourist rest houses, courtesy of Mr. N. N. Prasad, secretary tourism, Government of Uttaranchal, and Mr. Tarakendra Vaishnav, Managing Director of KMVN, Nainital. KMVN provides clean, basic amenities with simple food at value for money prices for tourists. I must mention here that KMVN staff are courteous, friendly, and helpful.  

From Binsar, I went to Kausani (1890 meters) via Almora, where I stayed at the Gandhi Ashram for a week to tone up my respiratory system before trekking up to 17000 feet (4000 meters) and higher. Kausani is a beautiful hill station to recharge your energies before taking 110 km. Treks in the upper Himalayas at heights of over 17000 feet. At Kausani, I meditated for four hours per day, often waking up at 4:00 a.m. It is worthwhile to mention that the sunrise over Kausani is spectacular, especially when viewed from the Ashram. From Kausani, I went to Bagheshwar, Baijnath, and Chakouri for short breaks. Baijnath is home to an ancient Shiva Temple, similar to the Jyotirling at Jageshwar. The unique feature at Baijnath is a huge round stone, which has to be lifted by nine people by using their thumb. It is believed that the wishes of devotees are fulfilled if nine thumbs can lift the gravestone. It is essential to mention here that I was among the few nine groups, who successfully lifted the stone, and I mentally visualized myself in front of Kailash, while suggesting to myself that “I am reaching Kailash Mansarovar” as we were raising the stone. Chakouri is a small forest, with Trishul’s close-up view and a panoramic view of Kumaon Himalayas. The KMVN guest house at Chakouri is an excellent place for bonfires in the night, as there is a nip in the air, even in mid-May. I visited the Kali temple at Gangolihat (a Shaktipeeth) managed by the Kumaon regiment and Patal Bhuvaneshwar (a maze of underground caves with natural limestone formations), which are a short drive away from Chakouri. 

Patal Bhuvaneshwar is nothing short of a miracle, as, inside this labyrinth of caves, one sees natural rock formations representing Sheshnaag holding the universe on its hood, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Parijat tree, Nandi, Kali, and Durga. The entire spectrum of creation, maintenance, and dissolution of the universe is depicted through the language of rock. It is a little challenging to descend into the cave owing to its tiny entrance, but minutes turn into hours as you explore the natural rock formations once you are in the cave.

From Chakouri, I went to Didihat, the headquarters of the 21st battalion of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). My objective in reaching Didihat was to meet the commandant of ITBP and obtain more information about the trek to Kailash and arrange for my accommodation at ITBP camps till Nabhidang. I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Kundan Singh Bisht, adjunct commandant of ITBP, who sent a wireless message to all their camps up to Nabhidang, informing about my proposed visit and making arrangements my accommodation at ITBP camps en route. I agreed to conduct stress management workshops for ITBP personnel at the centers where I stayed at. The next thing needed was an inner line permit mandatory for all Indian residents visiting Nabhidang. The inner line permit is issued by the Special District Magistrate (SDM) at Darchula. From Didihat, I proceeded to Darchula and met the SDM, Mr. Manoj Kumar, who gave me a two-month extended inner line permit, to enable me to complete my research work on “eco-tourism in Uttaranchal.” After arming myself with this permit, I proceeded to Narayan Ashram, a picturesque Ashram, established by Guru Narayan from Ahmedabad, near the last motorable point en route to Mansarovar. I recharged my energies through Shanti meditation for about eight hours, mentally preparing myself for the 110km. Trek that lay ahead of me. I started the trek from Narayan Ashram to Mangti Nala (Ghatiapakkad) via Pangu, a distance of 10 km. It took me 6 hours to do this trek through the Valley of Flowers. The climate was pleasant to cold. I did not sweat even a little, though I was carrying my backpack weighing 9 kg. In addition to my clothes, I was having dry fruits, a torch, khadi kurtas, a walkman, a digital diary, meditation tapes, an empty water bottle, candles, matchboxes, cold cream (in May), a digital camera, roasted potatoes, and a jute bag. I made most of these purchases at Darsula in Nepal, which is across the bridge at Darchula. One can walk across the bridge, shop, and return. No permits are needed to go to Nepal from Darchula. 

The trek from Pangu to Ghatiapakkad is along the banks of the river Kalinga. I reached the ITBP camp at Ghatiapakkad, where information about my arrival had arrived by wireless. After a quick cup of black tea with the ITBP commandos, I started my slow and arduous ascent towards the next camp at Lamari. My objective was to do the 13 km—Mangti to Lamari trek in 5 hours. I started at 4:00 a.m. from Narayan Ashram and descended 6 km. up to Gasgu by 7 a.m. From Glasgow, I took a slow and winding walk and reached Ghatiapakkad via Pangu by about 10 a.m.  

While trekking from Mangti to Lamari, I passed through Malpa, the famous landslide site in 1998. The debris of this landslide is still strewn about Malpa, as the terrain makes it impossible to evacuate the vast boulders lying on the banks of the fiercely flowing Kalinga. Malpa is 8 km. away from Mangti and 5 km. Away from Lamari. There is a small tea-shop at Shantivan where several flat rocks dot the landscape, lying on the river banks. I must mention that I meditated on these rocks to the soothing, gurgling sounds of the flowing mountain stream. After a short thirty-minute break, I began trudging the hill, as it is dangerous to trek after 7:00 p.m. (when it gets dark). A combination of treacherous terrain, wet and slippery rocks, and cascading streams make night treks impossible. I passed several small Shakti, Devi, and Shiva temples on the bridle path to Lamari. Some of the most beautiful waterfalls can be seen on this trek. It is worthwhile to make a note of the fact that the other side of the river in Nepal. As Nepal’s mountains are uninhabited and the forests are reserved, it is a canopy of green, whereas the Indian side has thin forest cover, owing to rampant deforestation. I trekked the 13 km. Between Mangti and Lamari in about 6 hours and reached the ITBP camp at Lamari by 3 p.m. I spent the night at the ITBP fiberglass hut at Lamari and left for Bundhi at 9:00 a.m. I completed the 4 km trek from Lamari to Bundhi in 2 hours, and I reached Bundhi by 11 a.m. The slope is gentle, but the path is rocky and uneven. I passed an iron bridge over the river, just before reaching Bundhi. Havildar Johnson received me at the ITBP camp at Bundhi. I stayed at the PWD guest house, which offers a close-up view of Nepal’s Annapoorna peak. After a quick visit to Bundhi village, I conducted a ZeNLP meditation workshop for the villagers and ITBP commandos. I spent the day in vipassana, chanting, and zen meditation. The temperature in mid-May rarely goes above 15 degrees centigrade, and mornings are pleasant. It is freezing at nights, and one needs thick cotton mattresses to keep out the cold. 

After taking a well-deserved overnight rest at Bundhi, I started early the next day, to commence the most challenging part of my trek. The distance between Bundhi and Chia Lekh is a mere 3 km. But the incline is a right angle, and one has to climb 1000 meters in this 3 km. Ascent. The most picturesque scenes of my trek were revealed to me during this torturous climb. Every step of this climb is a victory. Against all odds, I completed this 3 km. Crawl in 6 hours. I started from Bundhi at 6: a.m. and made it to Chia Lekh by noon. ITBP commandos checked my inner line permit at Chia Lekh, and after a brief lecture to the commandos on “simple ways to manage stress,” I had some refreshing black tea with wild mint and left for Garbiang at 3:00 p.m. Garbiang is a 4 km. Walk from Chia Lekh. The lush green meadows, the grazing ponies, mountain goats, and horses remind you of Switzerland. This is a straight trek through fields, most of the time. I did stop at a mountain stream to drink pure mineral water. I reached the ITBP camp at Garbiang by 6:00 p.m., where I was received by Inspector Balbir Singh and sub-inspector Varghese, who had arranged my stay at their officer’s guest-room. I stayed at Garbhiang for two nights. On the first day, I conducted a six-hour interactive session on stress management, which was attended by about 30 commandos. The above photograph shows the workshop in progress at Garbhiang. This must be one of the first stress management workshops conducted in India at the height of 10,000 feet. After two days at Garbiang, I started my trek to the next ITBP camp at Gunji, 11 km. Away. I started from Garbhiang by 9:00 a.m. and reached Gunji by 3:00 p.m. I stopped at a tea-shop at Seeti for several cups of black tea with ginger and mint. The only vegetables available at Garbhiang and above are potatoes (Pahari allu), wild mint, Picchu grass, and wild palak. I lived on water and boiled food throughout my sojourn. Occasionally, I had dry fruits. Daily, I drank more than 20 cups of tribal green tea (which I carried with me) to replenish the liquids lost during trekking. 

I stayed at Gunji for two nights. There is a PWD guest house with a watchman named Maan Singh, who roasted potatoes and made green tea on a campfire under the starry skies in the backdrop of Mount Annapoorna. The lush green meadows across the river in Nepal are a picturesque sight. The climb from Gunji to Kalapani is a torturous one and is almost a 90-degree incline. It took me six hours to complete this trek on foot. I stayed at the PWD rest house at Kalapani for a week to adjust my lungs to the rarefied atmosphere, where oxygen levels are so low that only a few shrubs grow on these rocky heights. The river Kaliganga is at Kalapani, and a temple dedicated to Goddess Kali is run by ITBP here. I met a Gujarati lady named Kinnari Parikh from Ahmedabad, who had come along with the regular KMVN yatra. I also met some other yatris from the first batch. I distinctly remember a commerce professor from Kolkata named Chatterjee and a retired forest officer from Nagpur, who were in the first batch. I stayed at Kalapani for four nights. There is a PWD guest house with a watchman named Prem Singh, who roasted potatoes and made wild pudina chutney on an open hearth. The most challenging trek is from Kalapani to Nabhidang. It took me nine hours to do this 9 km. Trek at heights of 14000 feet and above. Nabhidang is famous for the “Om parvat,” a mountain near the tri-junction ( where India, China, and Nepal meet ). The miraculous fact about this mountain is that the Sanskrit symbol OM is etched on this mountain’s surface, and this OM is covered with snow throughout the year. I reached Om Parvat on June’2nd’2004, which is Gayatri Jayanti day. This day is most auspicious for reaching “Om parvat” and was the most satisfying moment of my 37 years of existence. I had reached one of my goals set as far back as  January 1995. I stayed at Nabhidang for two nights. After addressing ITBP commandos on  “Simple meditations to manage high altitude stress.” I crossed over into Nepal through Seetapul. From Seetapul, it is a weeklong trek to Tinker pass, which I completed accompanied by a group of Nepalese tradesmen, who were going to Taklakot in Tibet, for trading. I used my expert knowledge of palmistry to convince them to take me as a part of their trade delegation. We stayed at wayside inns, living mostly on roasted potatoes and spring water. 

At Tinker pass, we were issued a seven-day permit to visit China. We drove to Kailash Mansarovar, through Taklakot and after a quick ‘darshan’ and dip in the holy lake, on the way back. I completed the return trek from Nabhidang to Darchula in three weeks. From Darchula, I drove down to Katgodam via Nainital, Almora, and Ascot. I boarded the Jan Shatabdi Express to Delhi from Katgodam and flew down to Ahmedabad on 21st June 2004. Whatever goals are set in the mind, including the most impossible of dreams, can be actualised through creative visualisation, autosuggestion, chanting, prayers and ZeNLP meditation. My miraculous visit to Mansaractualizedliving example of visualization the power to succeed is within us., My book titled “Power to Succeed” has been launched by Sage Publications USA/UK and this book’s Indian edition is  available for sale. My weight on reaching Ahmedabad on 21st June 2004 was 59 kg. I had lost 7kg. During my 110 km. Trek in Kumaon Himalayas. I strictly followed my vegan diet (no products directly or indirectly sourced from animals, no milk or milk products, no leather, no woolens, no leather footwear, no woolen shawls). Just a khadi jacket, cotton pajamas, and Sambhalpuri kurtas protected me against the biting cold and strong winds. A synthetic windcheater and jute sandals completed my attire. 

About the Author:

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Murli Menon

Murli Menon is a travel writer, stress management consultant and author based at Ahmedabad, India. He is the author of “ZeNLP-Learning through stories” published by The Written Word Publications, “ZeNLP-the power to succeed” published by Sage publications and “ZeNLP-the power to relax” by New Dawn Press. He can be reached at

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