The itchy-feet backpacker informs that there are about five prominently known holy Kailash Peaks in the Himalayan range
My perception that there is only one Kailash, the Kailash Manasarovar, was changed when I met this traveller from the state of ‘Gods own country' Kerala. The wanderlust M.K. Ramachandran informed me that there are about five prominently known holy Kailash Peaks in the Himalayan range. He was here in Visakhpatnam recently on an invitation from the Kerala Kala Samithi and squeezed some time to narrate his travelogue to The Hindu Metro Plus team.
The five holy peaks, which he says are the abodes of Lord Shiva, are: Kailash Manasarovar, Adi Kailash, Kinnaur Kailash, Shrikant Mahadev Kailash and Manimahesh Kailash.
After having worked for over 15 years in the Gulf region, he retired from his professional life to explore India. “Initially, I covered almost all the temples and holy spots in South India and in 1998, I set my sights to discover the mystic Himalayas,” he says.
Having travelled around the globe, the globetrotter and writer opines that the Himalayan range is the most fascinating spot in the world. “It is full of spiritual vibrations and mysterious in its own ways,” he adds.
So far, Ramachandran has travelled to over 41 destinations in the Himalayan range, covering the ranges of Garhwal, Kumaon and Jammu and Kashmir. “The eastern Nilachal range is left to be explored. I intend to take it up sometime in the next year,” he informs.
Apart from experiencing the unique vibrations and pristine beauty of the ranges, he informs that he encountered many mystics with immense yogic powers. “I just could not comprehend how some of the yogis in remote and rarefied places like Tapovan and Manimahesh Lake would drape a thin cotton cloth over their bodies, when we would shiver under the protection of at least six layers of warm clothing,” he says.
The Panch Kailash
Kailash Manasarovar: A known pilgrimage spot located at an altitude of 21,778 feet above mean sea level in Tibet. The mountain lies near Lake Manasarovar and Lake Rakshastal and is revered by almost all religions and faiths like Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Chinese and Bons.
Adi Kailash: The peak is also called as Chota Kailash and is located at an altitude of 15,510 feet above mean sea level near the Indo-Tibetan border in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.
Kinnaur Kailash: This holy peak is also called as Kinner Kailash by the locals. It is located at an altitude of 6050 metres above sea level in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh. This peak is considered as sacred by both Hindu and Buddhist Kinnauris.
Shrikant Mahadev Kailash: To reach this destination one has to take up an arduous and dangerous trek over glaciers for about a week. It is located about 120 km from Rampur (nearest motorable destination) in Himachala Pradesh. The Shiva linga is an 80-feet sheer rock face jutting out from the middle of a glacier stretch at an altitude of 21,700 feet above sea level. The pass opens only for a week in a year in the month of July (Shravana Masam), from 16 to 24.
Manimahesh Kailash: Located at an altitude of 4080 metres in the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas, it lies on the banks of Manimahesh Ganga, which originates from the peak.
The route to Manimahesh is via Chamba, Himachal Pradesh. Motorable road goes till Hadsar and the rest of the path is to be covered on foot, which is about 13 km of steep climb.
Books and awards
Ramachandran has documented his travels to the Himalayas in the three books that he has written so far. The first being ‘Utherkhandilode - Kailash Manasarovar Yatra', ‘Thapobhumi Utherkhand' and ‘Adi Kailash Yatra'. The books were all written in his native tongue Malayalam, but he intends to translate them in other languages including English. He was also awarded the Kerala Sahithya Akademi Award for his first book.