Deraphuk: A Trek in lively La-chu Valley
Trip Start Aug 19, 2006
21Trip End Sep 13, 2006
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Where I stayed
After an excellent stay here at Darchen we are now fully prepared for our 52 km parikrama of Mount Kailash . We start for Deraphuk early in the morning. Deraphuk is situated at a height of 4900 meter (16200ft) and is 20km away from Dharchen of which ten km is a bus drive.
We carry with us only articles of basic necessity for two nights and the rest we leave here in charge of the caretaker of the tourists' hostels. From here onward we have to make our own food arrangements and we decide to put them under the efficient charge of Mrs. Deshpande one of the yatris from Maharashtra. .
We drive clockwise in the westerly direction along the periphery of the foot-hills of Mount Kailash. As we pass over the Tibetan school for children we sight the dark blue Rakshas-Tal shining far in the south
After walking for a while we take the bus ride again for few more kilometres at the end of which the mules and porters are waiting for those who have booked them. Many of the devout do the entire parikrama on foot. It is a pleasant day and an enjoyable walk under a clear sky. Occasionally as the wind howls in the hills, stones large or small roll down in to the valley which echoes with resounding moans. The journey is through a rugged and barren landscape. Bald, grey, rocky mountains stare at you. A complete absence of greenery adds to the severity of the landscape. We encounter a herd of yaks grazing on the slopes
Along the way we come across a lone young monk doing prostrate parikrama. We have heard of such penance performed by devout monks but see it first hand now.
From Deraphuk we have exceptionally clear and closer view of the imposing western face of Mount Kailash. It has a dazzling aura. It is dome-shaped mount of sparkling snow standing on a pedestal flanked by lesser mountains guarding it. We are so close yet so far from it. The very thought that we have such close view of Holy Kailash, the abode of lord Shiva, seems dream-like and unbelievable. Slowly however, it sinks in. And yet we are not satisfied and want to be still nearer and have darshan from the close quarters. We therefore, climb up about 300 m of steep ascent to be in close proximity to Him. Some of the yatris go even further up but Kailash remains elusively....the hunger, however, remains.
"And I am blissfully lost here,
In these rugged desert valleys,
A captive of serene stillness,
Where Mt. Kailash stands tall,
And dazzling with its beautiful aura
This is the closest and clearest view of Mount Kailash, a spectacular sight especially when illuminated by the rays of setting sun
Each side of Kailash has a unique grandeur and grace of its own. It stands tall and beautiful among snowy peaks. I don't know of the mystery that lies beneath or the million myths that surround it but I am deeply overwhelmed and spellbound by the ethereal beauty that it presents amid the grand rugged surrounding landscape.
What more is needed than this? Don't mortal beings strive to surmount the pain of the journey to be amid such serene and sublime surroundings?
Our camp is situated on the left bank of the river La-chu. It is newly constructed stone masonry structure with several cubicles. Each cubicle accommodates 4-5 pilgrims. Mattresses, pillows and comforters are provided. Deraphuk means 'Cave of the female yak's horn' and refers to the monastery which is inside a spacious cave about a kilometre away across the river La-chu. It is visible from our camp.
By evening it is very cold even inside the cubicles. We are very tired and after a small meal we retire early to bed. With this we bid adieu to the memorable twelfth day our journey.