by Carla from the Netherlands

The word ‘Kailash’ resonates with us and touches our hearts. 

We did have an experience of hearing such a name in the past, with an impact we had never known before – Belur Math (in West Bengal, India). Belur Math is a pilgrim spot which attracts people of many faiths from every corner of the world. This is where Swami Vivekananda (1836-1886), the most prominent disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, spent the last years of his short life. 

Our calling to go to Kailash was just as strong, which compelled us to reach out to Mohanji. We made it a priority to invite Him to visit our temple in Onderdijk. We also sought His advice on the various programmes that the Mohanji Foundation arranges, out of which the ‘Kailash’ trip was the biggest highlight! 

When He said, “I will definitely come to Onderdijk, and I suggest ‘Kailash'”, it was sweet music to our ears. 

The sheer number of documents that had to be filled planted doubts about my resolve for the journey. 

The age limit for Indians is 65, and 70 for Westerners. Which made me wonder – what is my age as far as fitness was concerned? Hiking has never been my thing, let alone climbing mountains of such high altitudes! 

Though the name ‘Kailash’ may have struck me to the core, while going through the itinerary, I realised that this trip seemed physically impossible for me, Carla. The tour would involve taking a ’round’ around the base of Mount Kailash, so to speak. The ‘Parikrama’ – a 52 km circuit – also covers a mountain pass (Dolma La Pass). 


Day 01: July 23 (Sunday) 

  • Our first meeting with Mohanji and the group, apart from Meret, consists of 27 people. All new faces. (Indians have been denied the visa due to political issues with the Chinese authorities). Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kathmandu (Nepal) Altitude: 1,350 m 

Day 02: July 24 (Monday) 

  • 06:30 AM morning meditation and chanting the ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ mantra 3×108 times. 
  • Visited Chinese consulate to apply for visas (duration: 4 days). 

Day 03: July 25 (Tuesday) 

  • 06:30 AM morning meditation and chanting the ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ mantra 3×108 times. 
  • A day of free time in Kathmandu. 
  • Satsang with Mohanji in the evening. 

Day 04: July 26 (Wednesday) 

  • 06:30 AM morning meditation and chanting the ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ mantra 3×108 times. 
  • Sightseeing tour to the holy Pashupatinath Temple and Budhanilkantha. 
  • Satsang with Mohanji from 5-8 PM. 

Day 05: July 27 (Thursday) 

  • Morning meditation and chanting the ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ mantra 3×108 times. 
  • Orientation for Kailash (continued) and Group Meditation with Mohanji. 

Day 06: July 28 (Friday) 

  • Morning meditation and chanting the ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ mantra 3×108 times. 
  • Kailash briefing by chief Sherpa. Packing the sports bag (duffel bag). 

Day 07: July 29 (Saturday) 

  • Send-off by Mohanji from the hotel. 
  • Kathmandu-Syaphrubeshi Trip: Syaphrubeshi is a small town near Rashuwagadhi, at the border of Nepal and China (the Sino-Nepal Friendship Bridge). Lunch on the go. 
  • Overnight stay in Syarubeshi. I had dinner and stayed at the hotel. Altitude: 2,380 m 

Day 08: July 30 (Sunday) 

  • Syabrubesi-Kyerong Trip: After an early breakfast, we drive to the border. Customs formalities are cleared (which takes almost an entire day). Drive to Kyerong. Altitude: 3,700 m 

Day 09: July 31 (Monday) 

  • Kyerong-Saga Drive 
  • Dinner and overnight stay in Saga. Altitude: 4,500 m 

Day 10: August 1 (Tuesday) FULL MOON 

  • Saga-Mansarovar Drive, via Prayang and Mayum La Pass (5,200 m), and arrival at Hor Quo (4,560 m). Lunch on the go. 
  • (Engine troubles caused a 2.5-hour delay, so lunch had to be eaten at the bend of a hairpin curve.) A ride of 13.5 hours was rewarded with the sight (Darshan) of the holy mountain Mt. Kailash and the sacred Lake Mansarovar. Dinner and overnight stay at Parmarth Guest House. Altitude: 4,540 m 

Day 11: August 2 (Wednesday) 

  • In the morning, we were at Lake Mansarovar. Then, a ceremony of fire (Homa) was done with a view of Mt. Kailash. 
  • Lunch. We go by bus around the lake (a two-hour ‘Parikrama’), after which we go on a drive to Darchen, the base camp of Mt. Kailash. Altitude: 4,620 m 

Day 12: August 3 (Thursday, 12-08-2023 = 9) 

  • 1st day of the Parikrama: Getting assigned the porters (backpack carriers) and ponies. 
  • Commencement from the Yama Dwar (gate of death). 
  • Overnight stay at a guesthouse in Diraphuk. Altitude 4,890 m 

Day 13: August 4 (Friday) 

  • 2nd day of the Parikrama: Diraphuk-Zuthulphuk. A 22-km trek which spans 8-10 hours. Early morning trek uphill to Dolma La Pass. After reaching the top of the pass at 5,850 m, we can see Gauri Kund way down below. After crossing Dolma La Pass, you will trek down into the valley on your way to Zuthulphuk. This day is the longest and hardest day of the Parikrama. So, prepare yourself mentally. Overnight stay at a guest house in Zuthulphuk. Altitude: 5,850 m 

Day 14: August 5 (Saturday) 

  • 3rd day: This is the last day of Parikrama. In the early morning (when it is still dark), we trek 10 km down the winding path. Once we arrive at Chongdo, we get picked up and drive back to Darchen. From Darchen, the whole group (three stragglers) travel to Saga. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel in Saga. Altitude: 4,500 m 

Day 15: August 6 (Sunday) 

  • After breakfast, depart from Sapa to Kyerong with fond memories of Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansarovar, Altitude: 2,700 m 

Day 16: August 7 (Monday) 

  • From Kyerong to the Sino-Nepal border, we are the first (open at 10:00) to pass through Immigration / Customs and cross the border to Kathmandu. 
  • Late arrival at the hotel in Kathmandu. Altitude: 1,350 m 

Dag 17: August 8 (Tuesday) 

  • 10:00: Festive closing with the Sherpas, plus coffee and cake in the hotel! 

Every part of the experience is an added “bonus”, being at Lake Manasarovar and getting a view of Mt. Kailash, exactly as Mohanji assured us! My plan was set: I would remain at Lake Manasarovar. 

Mohanji advised me to consider the first day of the ‘Parikrama’. It would give an incredible view of Mt. Kailash from the west side. I “parked” the possibility within myself. With Mohanji’s visit to the Netherlands, we had, after all, a whole programme to go through. Afterwards, we – just like Mohanji – would travel to Kathmandu the next day. We looked forward to a trip of a lifetime but also dreaded it. Everything got connected seamlessly. There was no time to process Mohanji’s visit. In Kathmandu, we got back on track with Mohanji after two days of travelling. 

When it was time to bid physical farewell to Mohanji in Kathmandu, I suppressed the urge to ask Him like a small child if I could make do with the first day of the ‘Parikrama’. His answer might lead to even more questions, I feared. 

I was looking forward to the view of Lake Mansarovar! Sprinkling cold water did not deter me; I had experienced that often enough in ‘De grote Vliet’ next to our home. Clearing the ancestral line was something I had dreamed of.

Mohanji waved us goodbye with the promise that He would guide us at a subtle level. We left in a cheerful mood for the adventure on our bus. 

In the morning at Lake Manasarovar, I was asked if I – as the only one – really wanted to stay behind after the first day of the ‘Parikrama’. A Sherpa would then have to stay behind with me. It felt like Carla had no say, and Lord Shiva was pulling the strings. After consultation and consent from Kannaiah, whom I did not want to distract during his journey, I ventured into the three-day ‘Parikrama’. Although I was part of a great group with Kannaiah, you are still alone! Kailash is, in many ways, an individual journey. (After the first day, three fellow yatris could not continue due to altitude sickness). 

The crystal-clear, cold Lake Mansarovar were an incredible blessing because of the surprisingly sunny weather conditions. We subjected ourselves to a jug of water as ‘Abishekam’! We walked to a quiet area on the shore of the lake where we could do this in peace and with concentration. After all, I had been eagerly looking forward to this part of the journey: clearing the ancestral line and everyone connected to you. 

At the end of the 1990s, I had once made an attempt on my way to the Himalayas to clean the red thread of my roots but ended up in an Ayurvedic hospital. It was now or never.

Mohanji had clearly ‘drilled’ us beforehand. You do the first pouring of water on your head for yourself. Then, for the lineage, the first ring family, the ancestral line, the house deity, the people who love you and God in the form that suits you. 

We couldn’t stop! After 21 pourings of water, Kannaiah said, “Enough is enough”, ha, ha. We have given you a bath: the temple visitors, the neighbours and so on! We were euphoric afterwards. 

Thereafter, when everyone was dressed warmly again, the ‘Homa’ (ceremony of fire) was performed, led by Kannaiah at the request and instruction of Mohanji on the bank of the celestial lake. Up in the sky, the sun was surrounded by a corona – an experience that lingers in our memories. 

I was able to complete the ‘Parikrama’ (circuit around Lord Shiva’s Mountain) many times on a pony as well as on foot, which defied expectations. It shows me that GRACE has descended upon me because I’m not a hiker and haven’t even broken into my new shoes yet. Mohanji had told us that grace, surrender and focus on Shiva were all you needed for the journey, but before the ‘Parikrama’, I felt the tension and doubt building up within me. It became increasingly quiet in the group. The height also meant that there was fear and that overcoming it played a great role. 

The best thing for me was that during the ‘Parikrama’, my attention was so absolutely focused on the breath-taking course that I lived in the moment! Moments with eternal value! Moments of emotion. Moments in which I died, followed by moments of expansion and relaxation, moments of joy and tears at the sight of Kannaiah. 

Mohanji had mentally prepared us to take the journey to Kailash as a tough and true test of our confidence and surrender. He said that during Kailash yatra, “Grace is more essential than oxygen.” 

Now, after two weeks at home, following a trip that is too difficult to put into words, it turns out that we can’t get used to the 3D world, which feels so condensed compared to the frequency around Lake Manasarovar and Mt. Kailash. 

Our three hours of sleep per night notwithstanding, we felt high spirits on the way, and we were surprised that we were suffering and enjoying the trip at a great height without sanitary facilities. 

I am immensely grateful to Lord Shiva, Mohanji, Team Mohanji, Kannaiah, the Sherpas, my pony and porter, my fellow yatris, my ancestors and the entire universe, for this would not have been possible without their blessings. 

As Mohanji put it concisely, what guides you through this journey is simply: “Om Namah Shivaya.” 

We were drawn to that huge Shiva Lingam (Mt. Kailash), a place of immense energy, the abode of Lord Shiva himself. 

“No one can go there unless Shiva calls you. And no one leaves empty-handed. But to win something, you have to be empty first,” said Mohanji. 


Edited & Published by – Testimonials Team, 31st August 2023


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1 thought on “‘Kailash’…”

  1. So,so,so proud of you, Carla! I’m sure Kannaiah, Devi Mohan, Mohanji, & Sathya Sai Baba are also! Your writing is as beautiful as Kannaiah sings. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    Love & Best πŸ‘ Wishes, Charley & Ruth

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