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TITLE:  The Measuring Rod of the World

 

Tawaghat to Manasarovar via Tanakpur and Puithoragarh

 

 

Tawaghat is at the confluence of the Kali and the Darma rivers. The motorable road that goes via Tanakpur, Lohaghat, Pithoragarh and Dharchula ends here. Trek starts.

 

DISTANCES along the Kali to Tibet from Tawaghat (3329’ or 1015 m):

1-         Sirkha         = 17 kms

2-        Jipti            =  17 kms {along the Kali river to Jipti is 22 kms but a bit risky}

3-        Malpa              = 8 kms

4-        Budhi or Bundi= 9 kms

5-            Garbyang        = 9 kms

6-        Gunji               = 8 kms  -  {from here along the Kuti Yangti via Kuti & Jelingkong villages to Dhampiya Dhura & Mangshan passes- 38 kms}

7-            Kalapani         = 8 kms

8-            Sangcham       = 10 kms

9-        Lipu Lekh (16,750’ or 5107 m))            = 6.5 kms   

Total-                                     + 92.5 kms

 

 

DISTANCES along the Darma or Dauli to Tibet from Tawaghat (3329’ or 1015 m):

 

1-            Chirkila                      = 6 kms

2-        Nyu                             = 10 kms

3-            Bogling                      = 9 kms

4-        Sela                              = 8 kms

5-            Nagling                      = 5 kms

6-        Baling                          = 5 kms

7-        Dugtu temple             = 6 kms

8-        Gow                            = 3 kms

9-        Rama                           = 7 kms

10-      Bedang                        = 4 kms up the Darma river to

11-       Dewe                           = 17 kms

 Two camps & 28 kms later to Darma Dhura (18,510’ or 5644 m)

 

 

 

Sub Title=  The trek of attonement- Kailash & Manasarovar

Level= Moderate to tough

Ideal Season: Mid May and October when it is cold but colourful. Safest period is from June to September when it rains and rains spoiling views

Location= In Central Tibet

Route= Through Pithiragarh distt. Kumaon in E Uttranchal

 

Getting there and out:

From Delhi to Tawaghat by bus with night halts at Mukteshwar and Dharchula.

 

Introduction: I have given a route normally taken by the Mt. Kailash pilgrims but it is recommended for trekkers keen to go off the track beaten by pilgrims. A  challenging, delightful and spectacular trek branches WNW of Gunji – the last Indian village on the pilgrim route- and goes along the left bank of the Kuti Yangti till Kuti village, from where a track goes north over the Lampiya Dhura (18150’ or 5533 m) to Tibet and another  to Jolingkhang (4572 m) from where the peak by that name dominates the valley. Up ahead is Parvati lake, where the Jolingkhang peak (6191 m) now called Chota Kailas is reflected in its entirety.  Cross river towards NW and later turn south to Sinla pass, from where Sangthang pk to the south and Panchachuli to the south can be seen, and down past several glacial ponds to Bedang below which is the confluence of the Darma river coming down from Dewe with the Lassar Yangti coming down from Sipu and Anchari Lake to form the Dhauli (Darma) river from this point onwards. The route is on the right bank till as far as Tawaghat. A round trip is done.

 

Inner Line permit can be had from DC, Pithoragarh if not part of the Government organized pilgrimage.

 

 

 

Day 1:

 

Tawaghat to Sirkha (7920’ or 2415 m): Distance & Time- 17 kms and 7 hrs. Level- Tough

 

Drive 19 kms to Tawaghat from Darchula (3550’ or 1082 m) meaning the base of a chula and it is just that.  The pahari one, which is made with 2 flat stones standing. At Tawaghat a roaring Darma meets an even louder Kali. A stiff climb  all the way to Thanedhar (7120’ or 2171 m). A gentler climb of 3 kms to Pangu (7450’ or 2272 m), which is the first Bhotia village on the way and is big enough to have a college here. Beyond it is a wood of very thick Oaks.  A not so stiff climb that can be very stiff if one takes time saving short cuts to Sosha (2460 m). The forest is so thick that moderate rain does not penetrate the foliage. Shoka shrines. In autumn it has pockets of colour. Don’t take the longer road to the Narayan Ashram but carry on over the Tithila saddle to Sridang(2460 m) and thence to Sirkha (2400 m).  Beautiful vies of the Api (23,332’ or 7114 m)-Nampa (22062’ or 6726 m) peaks and the Byas Rikh Himal.

The route till Kalapani is along or above the right bank of the Kali.

 

Day 2:

 

Sirkha to Jipti (8200’ or 2500 m ): Distance and Time- 17 kms & 7 hours; Level- Moderate-Tough-Moderate

 

After 2 kms is Simri (7810’ or 2381 m) beyond which is a thick jungle of oak, walnut and pang (looks a bit like walnut but fruit is poisnous) trees. Jungle Chatti with wild ringals growing. Every 7 years the ringal flowers and then withers. Continuous climb through dense forest to Rungling Top (9863’ or 3007 m). Continuous descent to Simkhola (8100’ or  2470 m) by the gurgling Simkhola stream. Tea shops on either side of the Top. Across the Kali is Nepal. Gentle ascent to Gala (8600’ or 2622 m). Look back. Wonderful view of the Kali gorge and a huge waterfall in Nepal.  Jipti (8010’ or 2442) is 2 kms away. The gorge just above the swirlingriver (at about 4500’ or 1372 m) is so steep that no tree grows on it.  At night, lights of Nepalese villages above the Kali’s left bank twinkle welcomingly. Rest house here and at Binda Koti (7800’ or  2378 m) 2 kms away.

 

 

 

 

Day 3:

 

Jipti to Malpa (6800’ or 2073 m): Distance and Time- 8 kms; Level- Easy, but occasionally difficult esp. in rain

 

 

Breathtaking views all the time. Unusually long waterfalls. Around a place known as Chaata (umbrella) Falls are 644 steps clinging to the steep mountain side. The Kali is 500 (152 m) to 1000’ (304 m) below. Above the Nijang gad’s (7400’ or 2256 m) 500 mw size roaring cataract is a striking gneiss peak called Latjekut. Meadows and forests. Climb to 8200’ or  2500 m and then descend for a while under a long gossamer like  water fall. After the Malpa nalla is the Malpa Forest rest House perched on a promontory with a great view. Kuomintang period coins of China can be obtained here after an arduous search. Under another rock face called Khan ka dera is dry stretch known as Nirpani, meaning without water. The valley narrows and Nepalese villages are very close.

 

Day 4:

 

Malpa to Bundi or Budhi (9400’ or 2866 m):  Distance and Time- 9 kms & 5 hrs; Level- Easy

 

Climb  to 8120’ (2476 m). Snow peaks above you and huge boulders around you. Descend in a series of zig zags on a clayish track through Chak, Ritch and Tish trees and conifers including blue pines and thick undergrowth to 6570’ or 2003 m. Pass another waterfall called Takti that is so high that only the spray gets to the track. Windy here. Rise to 8000’ or 2439 m to the cultivated fields of the small village of Lamari, which is so close to Nepal that avalanche snow mists from Nepal cover it in winter. Climb to about 9500’ or 2896 m where there are avalanche/land slide carried huge boulders through which the track weaves. Below is a yet another beautiful waterfall draped like wide fingers over a 300’ or 92 m high rock.  Descend to Budhi from where there is a high altitude route to Gunji and also to Kugti. The rest house is under a sheer rock cliff that appears to be falling. Legend: The old Budhi was under this rock face and a massive rock fall buried it. 2 brothers survived it  and started this new Budhi a km away. Picturesque village with 3 storeyed houses with carved doorways. Ringed by deodars. Most breathtaking in autumnal colours of gold and yellow and red of the deciduous trees and ripening corn. There is a chor rasta to Nepal where some of them own land. Budhi faces the Byas Rikh himal in Nepal. Two of its peaks 19920’ or 6073 m and 18910’ or 5765 m soar above it. Frosty nights in early October but clear skies compensate with great views.

 

 

 

 

Day 5:

 

Budhi to Garbyang (10,800’ or 3293 m): Distance and Time-  9 kms and 5 hrs; Level- Easy

 

In autumn watch out for the hordes of sheep coming down from the high alps. Ascend through even tropical bushes and then firs to Chailekh (11,900’ or 3628 m) a vast alp covering the scree of a receding glacier that has become a spur. In October this climb is enjoyable but earlier can be very sweaty and uncomfortable. Blue pines here. Many langurs too.  There were two ruins in a hollow which were pillars erected by the Jongpen of Taklakot to punish the people of this region for not paying taxes to them.  This practice was stopped in 1902. A cairn shows the height of the pass. Gentle descent to Garbyang is dominated to the right by the Api (23,332’),Nampa (22,062’) and Tinker peaks and to the left by an immense and steep rock face with a fir or a birch clinging here and there to stress the ferocity of the sight. Garbyang is at the center of a magnificent panorama of cliffs, rock needles, snow fields, tenuous ice walls and fluted ice peaks, forests and rivers. Nearby is the confluence of Tinker and Kali rivers. Above this is a temple in Nepal called Changru. Nearby is a cave where in 1905 many corpses of women, men and children were found by Sherring, the D.C. of Almora.  Garbyals, people from Garbyang, stay for six months only.

 

Day 6:

 

Garbyang to Gunji (11,100’): Distance and Time- 8 kms and 4 hrs; Level- Tough and then easy

 

A small part of this route, still on the right bank of the Kali, in the olden days used to be across a steep rock face, which had hand holds cut into it. People would then prefer to go to Kawa in nearby Nepal and thence to Garbyang. Even now the frightening path traverses a steep gorge. The thick fir forest below and the lofty rock and ice ridges high above one provide a sort of peaceful counterpoint. The view is fascinating. Within 2 kms these difficulties are over and the route pleasingly opens on to a charming wide plain, which becomes wider as Gunji is pproached. This is the gorgeous Byas Valley where the rishi Byas is supposed to have written the Mahabharat. Wonder how he did it? The cave in which he wrote the epic is supposed to be high up on a perpindicular rock face above Kalapani.  Gunji is the last village before Lipu Lekh. The Kuti river coming in from the north meets the clear and green 1.2 m deep Kali at Gunji. The approach is through a beautiful deciduous and evergreen forest. Gunji to has attractive houses with intricately carved doorways.

Gunji plain is dominated by the Sangthang peak (21,262’)to the north. In the south the Api-Nampa are so close that only their lower icy sentinels can be seen.  A terrific panorama of cliffs, gorges, rock faces, trees changing colours to red, mauve, and gold.

It’s a short walk, but if a pilgrim one can take short trip towards Kuti village for the view, and if a trekker to Kalapani for the view there. If not interested in either carry on to Kalapani the same day.

 

Day 7:

 

Gunji to Kalapani (11,900’): Distance and Time- 8 kms and 3 hrs; Level- Easy

 

The track narrows along the Kali’s right bank.  The rock faces in the gorge above are light grey, orange, brown, blue, black, cream and ochre. We are now traversing the Zanskar range that’s to the north of the Himalaya. It starts from about here and ends in North East Ladakh. The ridge separating India from Tibet is serrated and crowned by numerous rock needles. No trees now, not even birch, only a few juniper bushes scattered sparsely about. Specatcular views in Nepal too. Startling steep north faces of Himalayan peaks. Source of the Kali is here after 3 streams from Lipu Lekh, Nepal and ENE merge. Also a spring here. Ruins of an old dharamshala and market just before the present Kalapani, where now are tinned roof barracks to shelter para military forces.

Day 8:

 

Kalapani to Sangcham (14,620’): Distance and time- 10 kms and 6 hrs; Level- route is easy but altitude makes it strenuous & tough

 

First come the ruins of Krim Kang marked by a well kept cairn, more ruins at Nag Dang and Dang Gang followed by a para military camp at Nabi Dang, which also was a camp site. Chil, where there are more ruins of camps from the past when traders and pilgrims used to rest here to break their weariness from high altitude. Stony schist, dry and barren. The winter colouring of the few and spread out bushes, some of them of wild berries and seabuck thorn, near Krim Kang gave the appearance of a pretty carpet in tatters. Sparkling streams from the snow ridges above provide water to the thirsty. Just before Sangchum near Nabi Dang is a picturesque side valley with a dominating peak above it in Nepal. This is the first tributary of the of the Lipu Lekh stream up the right bank of which is the track.  It is an attractive walk and the camp site deserves more time for strolls up interesting side valleys and around nooks and crannies.

Till early October the passerby will be pleasantly surprised by small white, blue and yellow flowers.

 

Day 9:

 

Sangcham to Lipu Lekh (16,670’) to Pulang Chong or Taklakot (13,300’): Distance & Time- 6.5 kms in 3 hrs and then 20 kms in 7 hrs; Level- Long day and tough because of snow & ice in may and October, and for those people not used to it.

 

If its snow on the pass climb straight up, if scree wend your way up it. On the Indian side the walk is up a widish moraine filled valley. The pass is cleft into two by a rock outcrop, which makes the pass have an entry and exit gates. Even in sunlight its bitterly cold because of the late morning wind. If its 12.00 hrs IST it will be 14.30 hrs CST! In one step 2 and a ˝ hours are covered. The track goes perpendicularly into a narrow longitudinal valley at the right of which is the Tinker Lipu, a pass into Nepal. The route to Taklakot is to the left and north. As it has a glacier girdling it, it must be a difficult crossing. The snow line on the Tibetan side ends abruptly a few steps later.  Unvarying Tibetan sterility takes over.

So dry that despite there being a lot of snow no stream of proportionate size appears to flow out. Only near Palla does a full fledged stream emerge out of the moraine.

A few minutes away from the pass the lone and massive bulk of Gurla Mandhata (25,350’) appears directly north and ahead.  It has a straight west ridge which has only a small cleft in it near the summit.  Its also called Memo-Nami, meaning God’s Name. Past an old tower in ruins, and settlements of the past till the village of Murang. Beyond it is a fast flowing stream coming down from Lampiya Dhura (Chang La to the Tibetans) and Mangshan Dhura on the Indian border. It is a tributary of the Map chu or Mugu Karnali that goes into Nepal. The Guest House in an open area of Pulang Chong or Taklakot is reached through narrow alleys. Paper work done here.

 

The view is extremely generous and fabulous. No niggardly views of looking at one or two peaks or even three up a valley or from a promontory. From a window one can see an endless array. Saipal (23,079’), Api (23,399’), Nampa (22,162’), Nalkankar (24,064’) and Lagna (21,932’) and many many more. To the SW are some of the peaks and passes of the Zanskar in Kumaon. They ought to have been familiar but are not because we are seeing their north faces. A senses smashing view that stretched and stretched from the eastern horizon to the western horizon. Above the rest house is the ruin of an old fort of the tyrannical Jongpens of yore who used to force people to take water up to the fort for free. This was one of their minor discomforts to which a helpless populace was subjected.

 

Day 10:

Pulang Chong to Manasarovar (14,950’): Distance andTime-  120 kms approx & 3 hrs by bus/truck; Level- Effortless

 

Passed Hangang, Toyu where Zorawar Singh’s army was defeated in 1841, several kms long cultivated fields of Kardum flattened in typical Chinese style, Rungang and the grazing grounds of Baldak (15,200’) at the foot of the immense Gurla Mandhata (25,350’). This peak was attempted by Longstaff and the Brocherel brothers, who reached a height of 24,000 ft. From here they could see Kamet in the west to the Dhaulagiris in ESE- a view span of about 350 kms of snow, ice and a little bit of ochre, yellowish, black and grey rock. It has 6 attendant peaks above 21,000 ft to its east and south. Then over a pass slightly to the west of and a bit lower than Gurla la (16,800’) from where can be seen for the first time the inverted cup shaped Kailash (22,020’). “The measuring rod of the world”.

Actually, Gurla Mandhata is the more spectacular mountain and one can do a circuit round this one too. Chenrezi or Kailash is more accessible and that’s one reason for its sanctity, perhaps.

A bit lower down and Rakas Tal or Langak Tso (14,900’ & 80 kms in circumference) hoves to view. Kailash is reflected in it. Yellow pebbles stretch for miles and miles. Then the deep blue of Langak Tso. Reflected in it is the white Kailash.  The island of Topserma can also be detected to the SW of the lake. There are two other smaller islands nearby it. Travel north on its eastern shore. On the right is the 100 m to 300 m high ridge that separated Manasarovar or Tso Mavang from the Rakas tal. The rough road is between the shore of the lake to the left and a low hill to the right. At the first gap in this hill turn to the left for a km or so. Usual camp site is on the NW bank of the Manasarovar near a dry bed of a small pond.  Below are the sites of Chiu Gompa and north of Gossul Gompa.

Till late 19th century gold used to be found here.  The lake has a circumference of about 75 kms but the circuit is of about a 100 kms as the track leaves the lake. 

From June to September there is some vegetation and flowers but in October a most intriguing formation of ice forms within the tamarisk bushes. Its about 3 cms wide and spirals around the stems inside the tama bush. Exceedingly delicate and pretty. 

 

 

Day 11, 12 &13:

 

Circuit of Tso Mavang or Manasarovar:     Distance & Time- 100 kms and  days;  Level- Easy if acclimatized

 

Going in a clockwise direction.  3 kms gentle to steep ascent to Chiu Gompa, which is on a sharply pointed outcrop.  Even though you expect it the view is heart stopping. Gurla M to the south, Kailash above a yellow furze covered plain of Parkha, where the Lhasa-Sinkiang Highway passes.  Below extends the Manasarovar. Descend to Cherkip Gompa on the north of the lake and walk along the lake for 2 kms or so & then traverse below Langbona Gompa (again the elephant imagery) and sticking as close to the shore as possible by pass the Bonri gompa (below a 5800 m pk of that name) and some ruined attendant mane walls to go along the pebbly shore of the lake for 3 kms. Save 6 kms at least. Camp (15,000’) by the lake near Seralung Gompa on the NE of the lake. Distance travelled about 30 kms. Fascinating views of Gurla M as it changes shape along the circuit. At sunset the deep deep blue of the lake contrasts with the grey and silver sides of Gurla and the gold of the hillocks above the western shore of the lake and the dark blue mountain girdling the west of Rakas tal. Time taken: 8 hours

 

 

Going along the shore of the lake and over some undulating mounds to the Tage tsangpo- the source of the Satluj- which originates from the Ganglung  glacier to the east of the Maryum la the route to which is crossed here. During the rains the river is forded about 3 kms away from the lake’s shore. In October it can be crossed close to the lake. Further ahead of the source of the Satluj is the source of the Brahmaputra or the Martsang Tsangpo in Kubi Gangri. All of which can be reached by deflecting to the left & east from this walk. To prevent a very long walk on the last day go as far as possible to the south of the lake where one has to look right upto see the noble northern flanks of Gurla Mandhata. The Mugu Karnali comes down from its southern side. Camp by sunset, near the first patch of fresh water that is seen nearby. Don’t usually drink from the waters of the lake close to the shore as it is not clean. The last stage of this walk will be past the Trugo gompa and some ruins. Distance travelled ought to be about 30 kms or more.  Amazing views as usual. Time taken: 8 hours

 

Along the lake to below Gossul gompa, which is high above the path and then carry on to the camp site. About 40 kms. Time taken:  10 hrs. Wake up early in the morning to catch the sunrise above Maryum la. If there are a few clouds it’s a memorable and peaceful sight. Till October many ducks and swans will be seen.

 

Day 14:

 

Manasarovar (14,950’) to Darchen (15,300’): Distance & Time- 30 kms and 2 hrs; Level: Very relaxing

 

 

 

Cross the earlier gap in the ridge and turn north along the right bank of Raksas Tal. Along the way a shallow stream coming from the right is crossed. Don’t ignore it. If there’s water it is a rare sight. This is the nascent Satluj or Langchen Khambab (the elephant river) that flows out from Manasarovar below the Chiu gompa. At this point it is known as the Gang chu.  It flows through Rakas Tal then again flows underground to emerge at Dolchu Gopa to the NNW to the west of Rakas Tal. Ahead is the famous Gompa of Tirthapuri  where there are two tusks kept in a gompa and hence the name. This is a hydrographically important area. Within 60 kms a river flows east – the Brahmaputra (Martsang Tsangpo), 2 rivers flow west (Indus or the Senge Khambab and the Satluj) and another flows south – the Mugu Karnali or the Map chu.  Travelling at an average height of 15,000’ in the wide tama spotted east- west configured desert through which the Lhasa – Sinkiang road passes. Gurla Mandhata and Kailash are always visible- at least in October. The Kailash range in front carries all the way to the north of Leh and is also known as the Ladakh Range. Cross the earlier trading village of Parkha now a sheep rearing center with several guest houses for tourists. Immense spaces. Fantastic view- again. A steep rise of 300 ft and arrive at Darchen (15,300’). Its gompa is in ruins, but some wall paintings can still be seen. There are some zomos or female lamas here. Can meet many interesting parikrama  performing Tibetans. Don’t be put off by their wild looks. They are extremely friendly even to the extent of entering your tent and staying in it for the night. Darchen is on the left bank of the only water bearing stream – Darchen chu- that flows off Kailash’s southern face. All the streams that run from Kailash flow into Raks Tal- the bigger of the twin lakes.  Visit the cairn somewhat about 100 m above Darchen gompa. From here a spell binding view just before sunset. First a whole lot of the vast Parkha plain.  Then even Nanda Devi in Uttaranchal to the west can be seen. So can Rakas Tal and Mansarovar. Gurla and to the SE the Gangri’s that contain the sources of the Satluj and the Brahmaputra. An unforgettable sight that is bound to give you goose pimples even if the chilly wind does not.

 

Day 15:

 

Darchen to Dung Lung Do (`16,800’): Distance and Time: 17 kms approx & 7 hrs       Level: Easy

 

 

About 2 kms away, across a million + boulders & rock strewn patch, at Sershung is a tarboche- a long pole with prayer flags, supposedly given by the King of Bhutan. Then a long line of mane walls in need of repairs. There is even a marsh here! Its called Khaleb. Good view of  Kang Rimpoche or Kailash (also called Meru) along the way till the turn to the left and north where is met the Dunglung chu. This stream drains Kailash’s northern face and the small glaciers hidden amidst granite faces above the chu’s right bank. The pilgrim’s route is up the left bank. Kailash’s summit hovers straight above. Beautiful and serene. The smooth well rounded violet, black, dark grey and green granite and completely dry western flank of the Kailash is to the left. Below it are several fans formed by aeons of rocks being disintegrated by contraction and expansion by heat and cold and then being washed down by rain. This is the only stretch where the Kailash can be easily touched. Its also most daunting and impressive. Behind can be seen the Himalaya and Langak Tso disappear. About 10 kms from Darchen can be seen the ruins of a lone squat gompa across the Dunglung chu the rippling waters of which are clear and just about knee deep in October. This is Nyandi gompa. The sheer cliffs are more wild now on both sides. They fall perpendicularly to pebbled terraces, scree covered steps and ledges, and frightening fortifications, battlements and towers separated by cannon shaped and smooth hollows, as though shaped by a giant mad ogre.  There is even a rock bridge crossing a cleft. These strange formations don’t end. Above against these dark sides lie long and thin and short and wide waterfalls trapped till next summer lets them go. Now on the left side the rock forms a single immense and wide vertical wall.  The Dunglung disappears for a km or so. Camp at a moraine where three streams from ENE the Hle lungpa, WNW the Chamo-lung-chen, and from NW the Dunglung chu meet. This spot is called Dung Lung Do.

In October the skies are clear but with just enough stray clouds to make good pictures. Its quite cold too. The sides of the streams and rivers here remained frozen even in the afternoon. Passing pilgrims were paying tribute in their own endearing ways. I did in mine. 11 rolls of film exposed.

 

 

Day 16:

 

Dunglung Do to Dolma La (18599’) to Chando Sanglam (16,300’):  Distance and Time: 18 kms or so & 9 long hrs    Level:  Tough

 

Several Tibetans sleeping outside in the shelter of boulders in the frozen cold makes one feel very soft and inadequate in comparison. Head east at a point where Dunglung chu heads NE to the left and a small stream from Kang Rimpoche’s north face meets it. Hop over it and look south down the valley from where these streams emerge. Soaring high above in perfect curved symmetry is the ice and rock of the sacred mountain. One is breathless and spell bound.  There is no doubt why this is the more magnificent sight than Gurla Mandhata, which is just higher and bulkier. Studying the mountain till this far there appears to be an inner and much higher and more difficult route around Kang Rimpoche (22,020’).  The Chinese have climbed it from the eastern side.  Heading ESE at about 17,000’ appears a false pass called Tutu dapso. It has a lot of cairns and votive offerings including antlers and flags. The Dolma la is 3 kms of toil ahead. The view is still spectacular but Kailash is slowly hiding behind its outer ring of mountains and at the pass it disappears completely. One has to step around rocks and boulders from small to unbelievably large sizes. At Dolma la is a boulder larger than a badminton court called Tikpha khurnak.  It is some kind of a piety test. Stuck to it with rancid butter are strands of Tibetan hairs and under it is a narrow half a metre wide bore. If any one goes through it paradise is assured. Not even a baby can crawl through that one.  Two steps and peer down to the right. There in a small hollow is the frozen green glacial lake of Gouri Kund or Tso Kavala. The glacier retreated thousands of years ago but its moraine is easily seen.  Go along a dry affluent from the pass till it meets a larger stream called Tselung coming from true north. After a few more streams have joined this becomes Lamchyker and at last as Zong chu debouches into the parkha plain to meet Darchen chu and dunglung chu. .  Camp at a valley coming down from Kang Rimpoche’s east face and from where its noble majesty is seen for the last time. Place is called Chando Sanglam. Tibetans call this mountain here Zhungre and mention a peak by that name which is an attendant of Kailash to its north.

 

Day 17 :

 

Chando Sanglam to Darchen (15,300’):  Distance and Time: about 15 kms & 4 hrs; Level- Easy

 

Many cairns and mane walls requiring looking after. Look back. The valley down which the route was looks forbidding with its bare scree filled sides and precipitous rock faces above. To the south as one moves the vast Parkha plain slowly emerges, and later near the ruins of Zutulpu gompa can be seen Gurla Mandhata. Just before this gompa a stream comes in from the NE. Its Zongchu from here. Turn a corner and stop. The two hut village of Zamzui forms a perfect foreground for the 20 kms wide tama and sheep dotted plain behind it. 

 

End of trip. As a non resident Tibetan I had gone with exploded articulately “Very beautifuls yaaar, sachi mein, reals I mean.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Is this it?

 

RB