Adi Kailash is an ancient holy place in the Himalayan Range, close to the Indo-Tibetan border. A trek to Adi Kailash and Om Parvat takes the mind and soul into the heartland of awe-inspiring natural beauty and splendour.
Adi-Kailash is worshipped as the abode of Lord Shiva and has been considered as the most sacred and revered mountain ranges in the world. Om Parvat is a magical and inspiring mountain peak with an altitude of 6191 mt., in Dharchula district of Uttarakhand. It is considered sacred as the snow disposition pattern on it looks like the sacred Aum ( ).
The trek started with a darshan of Golu Devta temple, (the deity is known for settling legal and other disputes of the region), Jageshwar, (archaeological site having around 125 Shiva temples, notably the Jageshwar Jyotirlinga and the Mrityunjaya linga), and Patal Bhuvaneshwar (a cave temple of stalactite and stalagmite formations with interesting mythological tales, believed to have been discovered by King Rituparna of Treta Yuga).
The adventure begins…
After visiting temples, the trek started from Mangti, accessed from Dharchula by road. Up to Adi Kailash the trek route is Mangti-Gala-Budhi- Gunji-Kutti-Joling Kong (a total of 5 days of trek). The first day trek of 6 km is more of a warm up.
Gala to Budhi (20 Km)
The trek from Gala to the next camp at Budhi is difficult, including a steep descent of 4,444 rocky steps, alongside the treacherous path of a roaring river Kali. One wrong step and one can tumble down into the river or ravines below. But the landscape is the most striking of the entire trek, since the walk is through the captivating beauty of Kali river, green mountains, numerous waterfalls, notably the Najung Fall, cliffs, etc.
Budhi to Gunji (18 Km)
The trek from Budhi to Gunji involves a sheer climb of around 3 km to Chiyalekh Pass and offers great sighting of the Annapurna peak, Garbhayang and Sithi village. A further 6 km of strenuous trek through beautiful meadows, along the river Kali, takes one to Gunji, which is also the medical check-up point for yatris.
Gunji to Kuti (19 Km)
The route to Kuti is lined with Bhojpatra (Himalayan Birch) trees, meanders alongside Kuti river, villages of Nabhi and Rongkong, and some glaciers, over which one must walk. It is the last inhabited village of the Bhotias on the route, named after Mata Kunti. After an early lunch at Nampha, one reaches Kuti village, where at ITBP camp, yatris get off their horses. The locals at Kuti do not allow horses into the village for fear of any damage to medicinal plants. Here, houses are made of wood and have carved blue windows and doors.
Kutti to Joling Ko ng (14 Km)
The final part of the trek to Adi Kailash, i.e., Joling Kong is difficult due to decrease in oxygen. En route, one gets to see the Panchachuli peaks (legend goes that they were used as the last cooking pots of the five Pandavas, before their journey to heaven).
At the ITBP camp, one can get a clear sight of Adi Kailash with the form of Nandi in snow. One folklore goes that Lord Shiva used to first reside in Adi Kailash, but to escape from Bhasmasura, who wanted to test his boon first on Shiva himself, Shiva left for Kailash Parvat, through Navi Dhang, where he drew the OM to stop Bhasmasura.
A beautiful view awaits us at Adi Kailash. A further trek of 2 km took us to the Parvati Sarovar. At sunrise, golden rays illuminate the lake briefly. Although this sight was missed, we did manage to get the reflection of the mountain in the sarovar.
Trek to OM parvat
To visit the Om Parvat at Navi Dhang, one has to return to Gunji and then proceed through Kala Pani (where the mighty river Kali originates within the Kali temple). After a final arduous climb from Kala Pani, one reaches Navi Dhang, from where the OM Parvat is sighted.
Text: S. Tripurasundari