Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by Helicopter Route

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is one of the most revered pilgrimages in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Bon religion. Mount Kailash, believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva, and Lake Mansarovar, the source of several major Asian rivers, are considered sacred by millions. Undertaking this Yatra is a profound spiritual journey. For many, the helicopter route offers a practical and accessible way to experience this sacred trek, providing numerous advantages over traditional methods.

Advantages of the Helicopter Route

1. Time-saving:

  • The helicopter route significantly reduces the duration of the Yatra. While traditional routes can take up to three weeks, the helicopter option completes the journey in approximately 5 to 11 days. This is ideal for pilgrims who have professional commitments or other time constraints.

2. Cost-effective:

  • The helicopter route, particularly offered by agencies like Trip To Temples, is cost-efficient. Priced around Rs 1,65,000, it is more economical compared to the government-organized trips by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), which can be more expensive and time-consuming.

3. Lenient Medical Procedures:

  • Unlike the rigorous medical examinations required for the trekking routes, the helicopter route involves less stringent health checks. This is advantageous for those who may have minor health concerns but still wish to undertake the pilgrimage. The reduced physical exertion involved in the helicopter route makes it accessible to a broader range of pilgrims.

4. Reduced Physical Risk:

  • With minimal trekking involved, the helicopter route poses less physical risk. This is particularly beneficial for older pilgrims or those not physically fit for long treks. The reduced physical demands also mean that pilgrims can focus more on the spiritual aspects of the journey without the stress and strain of arduous treks.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by Helicopter

Detailed Itinerary of the Helicopter Route

Day 1: Arrival in Kathmandu

Travel:

  • Pilgrims arrive in Kathmandu independently. There are direct flights to Kathmandu from major Indian cities.

Activities:

  • Upon arrival, pilgrims are picked up from the airport and taken to their hotel for check-in and freshening up. The remainder of the day is dedicated to local sightseeing, which includes visiting key attractions such as Pashupatinath Temple, Boudhanath Stupa, and Swayambhunath Stupa (Monkey Temple).

Stay:

  • Overnight at a hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 2: Kathmandu to Nepalgunj

Travel:

  • After breakfast, pilgrims board a flight to Nepalgunj, a small town in southwestern Nepal near the Indian border.

Activities:

  • On arrival, pilgrims check into their hotel and attend a briefing session about the Yatra. This session includes detailed information on the upcoming journey and provides an opportunity to address any questions or concerns.

Stay:

  • Overnight at a hotel in Nepalgunj.

Day 3: Nepalgunj to Simikot, then Hilsa

Travel:

  • Early morning, pilgrims take a flight from Nepalgunj to Simikot, a town in the mountainous Humla district of Nepal. After a brief rest and refreshment in Simikot, they board a helicopter to Hilsa, a small settlement near the Nepal-Tibet border.

Activities:

  • At Hilsa, pilgrims have some time for refreshments before crossing the border into Tibet. They are then driven to Purang (also known as Taklakot), where they check into their hotel.

Stay:

  • Overnight at a hotel in Purang.

Day 4: Acclimatization in Purang

Activities:

  • This day is dedicated to acclimatization to help pilgrims adjust to the high altitude. Activities include short treks and light walks to enhance acclimatization, ensuring pilgrims are well-prepared for the higher altitudes they will encounter later.

Stay:

  • Overnight at a hotel in Purang.

Day 5: Purang to Lake Mansarovar

Travel:

  • Pilgrims board an AC Volvo bus for a drive to Lake Mansarovar. The journey takes approximately two hours.

Activities:

  • Upon arrival at Lake Mansarovar, pilgrims participate in the parikrama (circumambulation) of the lake. They also have the opportunity to take a holy dip in the sacred waters of the lake, which is believed to cleanse sins and bestow blessings.

Stay:

  • Overnight near Lake Mansarovar.

Day 6: Lake Mansarovar to Darchen

Travel:

  • After the spiritual activities at Lake Mansarovar, pilgrims are driven to Darchen, the base camp for the Mount Kailash parikrama.

Activities:

  • The rest of the day is free for rest and preparation for the upcoming trek around Mount Kailash.

Stay:

  • Overnight in Darchen.

Days 7-9: Parikrama of Mount Kailash

Activities:

  • The three-day trek around Mount Kailash is the highlight of the Yatra. The parikrama (circumambulation) is about 52 km long and is usually completed in three days.
    • Day 1: Darchen to Dirapuk (approximately 18 km)
      • Pilgrims start the trek from Darchen to Dirapuk. The path offers stunning views of the north face of Mount Kailash.
      • Overnight in a guesthouse or tent at Dirapuk.
    • Day 2: Dirapuk to Zutulpuk (approximately 22 km)
      • This is the most challenging part of the trek, crossing the Dolma-La Pass (5,630 meters). After the pass, the trail descends to Zutulpuk.
      • Overnight in a guesthouse or tent at Zutulpuk.
    • Day 3: Zutulpuk to Darchen (approximately 12 km)
      • The final leg of the trek returns to Darchen. Pilgrims are then driven back to Purang.

Stay:

  • Overnight accommodations are provided en route during the trek, either in guesthouses or tents.

Day 10: Return Journey

Travel:

  • The return journey follows the same route: Darchen to Purang to Hilsa to Simikot to Nepalgunj to Kathmandu. This involves helicopter rides and flights.

Stay:

  • Overnight at a hotel in Kathmandu.

Day 11: Departure from Kathmandu

Travel:

  • Pilgrims board their flights back home from Kathmandu airport.

Practical Considerations and Tips

Choosing the Right Travel Operator:

  • Selecting a reputable tour operator is crucial for a smooth and safe journey. Agencies like Trip To Temples are known for their well-organized trips, experienced guides, and reliable services. Research and reviews can help in making an informed choice.

Health and Safety:

  • Even though the helicopter route minimizes physical exertion, it is essential to undergo a basic health check-up before the trip. Carry necessary medications, and be prepared for high-altitude conditions. Acclimatization days are built into the itinerary to help with altitude sickness.

Travel Documents:

  • Ensure you have all required travel documents, including a valid passport, visa for Tibet (China), and any permits required for the Yatra. Tour operators typically assist with the visa and permit processes.

Packing Essentials:

  • Pack light but carry essential items such as warm clothing, comfortable trekking shoes, rain gear, personal hygiene items, first aid kit, and any necessary personal medications. A good quality camera or smartphone is also recommended to capture the scenic beauty.

Cultural Sensitivity:

  • Respect local customs and traditions. Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar are sacred sites, so conduct yourself respectfully. Follow the guidance of your tour operator and local guides regarding appropriate behavior.

Physical Preparation:

  • Although the helicopter route is less physically demanding, some physical preparation can enhance your experience. Light cardio exercises, such as walking, jogging, or swimming, can help build stamina.

Conclusion

The helicopter route for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra offers a practical, time-efficient, and accessible way to undertake this sacred pilgrimage. With significant advantages such as reduced travel time, cost-effectiveness, lenient medical requirements, and minimized physical risk, this route allows a broader range of pilgrims to experience the profound spiritual journey.

By carefully planning and choosing a reputable tour operator, pilgrims can ensure a safe and fulfilling Yatra. Whether driven by deep religious devotion or the desire for spiritual growth, the helicopter route to Kailash Mansarovar provides a unique and memorable pilgrimage experience, blending the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the Himalayas with the deep spiritual significance of one of the world’s most revered sites.

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Written By

Param Dass