Trek to: Hilsa & cross the Nepalese border into Tibet
Internal Transfer: Landcruiser to Purang (aka Taklakot)
Visa required: Yes if British plus an Aliens' Travel Permit
Currency:Chinese Renminbi (RMB)
Time Zone:+8hrs GMT
Day 7, 27/06/10 - Mt Kailash, Tibet
After an exceptionally windy night we awoke this morning to complete stillness. The skies had cleared revealing the expansive Valley and our route ahead. The valley mouth was open revealing a riot of grass and wild flowers, the etched hillsides appeared vibrant & fresh. Once again the gentle birdsong had returned to fill the air.
We were now circumambulating the Eastern face of Mt Kailash and according to mythology this face was said to be created from crystal. My time out here has been the perfect opportunity for me to reflect upon symbolism and the forms in which it manifests.
Reflecting back now I recall our initial walk up the Lha Chu Valley, being surrounded on all flanks by vertical walls of a deep black rock. I recall the words from the Never Ending Story..."in the beginning it is always dark" and passing close to the Ruby face of Kailash which stimulates a basic instinct of/for survival, strengthening both the physical and emotional heart. These elements are present at the start of this pilgrimage, when one takes that courageous step into the unknown, that blind step into the darkness.
Once however, the descent from Drolma La is achieved and Thukpe Dzingbu (Lake of Compassion) is passed this sense of darkness suddenly transforms into a sense of light. Here the surroundings become spacious & airy, the valley mouth gently opens to reveal a riot of grass and wild flowers. Here we pass the Crystal face of Kailash, the face of balance, of harmony. Having a similar vibrational frequency to that of the human body Quartz Crystal is said to help a person know & accept themselves.
It seems quite fitting that to begin the Kora one requires the elements of courage, a survival instinct and a strong physical & emotional heart, but to exit one only requires the ability to know & accept oneself, thus it is not the kora that forgives us our sins but that we in fact forgive ourselves...
I had a real sense of achievement in completing the Kora but if I'm honest there was also a deep sense of relief. We boarded our Landcruiser and headed along the North-Eastern shore of Lake Manasarovar. I can't help but compare this landscape to that of the vast Mongolian steppe, as both places boast the most incredible skies.
In the Landcruiser it was so hot, yet the dust meant there was no option to open a window. The lakes we passed en route were the most serene shade of turquoise, the landscape, a pastel coloured painting. Such is the scenic beauty of this place I'm still finding it difficult to comprehend the existence of a tarmac road, I'm still struggling to accept the digging, the quarrying, the damming - to be perfectly honest the Tibetan plateau just feels like a dusty building site.
Tonights camp is near to the mass road construction which seems to cover the entire length of Tibet - something which I don't think we can escape from.