I am not a religious person at all. I believe in spirituality more than religion. I read about spiritual trekking trips and was hooked to the idea. I read up some more and finally chose to do the Kinner Kailash trek.
Kinnaur is one of the most underrated yet charming villages in Himachal Pradesh. It is located on the Indo-Tibetan border. Till about 1993, the entry was restricted to even Indians on this trek.
Now the restrictions have been lifted. However, foreign nationals have to register themselves before they embark on this trek. Surrounded by Tibet on the East, Kullu to the west, Spiti Valley to the North and Garhwal Himalayas to the South, Kinnaur has been heavily influenced by Buddhism; although majority of the people follow Hinduism.
PC : Supriya Joon
Greater Himalaya, Dauladhar and Zanskar - the world famous mountain ranges are housed in Kinnaur. Mount Kinner Kailash (6050 metres above sea level) is believed to be the humble abode of Lord Shiva from where he controls the Universe.
This trek holds a lot of importance in Hinduism because of this reason. There is a massive 79-feet rock formation that resembles a Shivalingam. This rock changes colour throughout the day and this can be witnessed on a clear day. The circumambulation for Kinner Kailash moves from Kalpa to Triung Valley.
Best Time To Take Up This Trek: May to October is the best time to undertake this trekking experience. Avoid the monsoon and winter seasons, as the weather conditions here are not favourable for a trek.
PC : High Contrast
Things To Carry On This Trek: Trekking shoes, backpack, gloves, sun hat, sunshades, thermals, LED torch, trekking pole, toiletries, medical kit, water, snacks, socks and warm clothing are some of the must-carry trekking essentials.
The trek was to start from a village called Tangling (7050 feet above sea level) on the bank of the river Sutlej in Himachal Pradesh. I flew into Chandigarh and took a bus to Manali and then a taxi to Kinnaur from there.
Day 1: Tangling - Ashiqui Park
Tangling is a quaint little village, which runs to the tune of the roaring Sutlej. The trail follows a metalled road that leads to a small stream. This stream flows from Kinner Kailash mountain range.
It took us around 2 hours to cross the stream. We filled our empty water bottles and moved to walk towards the Ashiqui Park. After walking a steep ascent of 7 km, we encountered Kailash Daar/Dwaar. It derives its name because it is considered the door to Kinner Kailash.
PC : Darshan Simha
We walked some more and halted at Bara Pathar. It is a huge rock in the Deodar forest range and is a resting place for the trekkers. A couple of kilometers later, the trees disappeared and only meadows came into the line of vision.
Ashiqui Park (11,778 feet above sea level) is a big meadow and is a campsite. The view of Kinner Kailash mountain range from this vantage point is breathtaking. Watching the snow-clad peaks in the moonlight is something else. We retired for the day, after talking and laughing with the co-trekkers.
Day 2: Ashiqui Park - Kinner Kailash
The distance between Ashiqui Park and Kinnaur Kailash is around 10 km and it takes approximately 8 hours to trek, depending on the fitness level of the trekker. We had to return to Ashiqui Park after conquering Kinner Kailash, so we started early in the morning.
PC : Narendar Sharma
It is advisable to start these mountain treks early because of the fluctuating weather conditions and also because the streams and rivers are easier to cross before the water level increases. After ascending and descending for 2 km, we came across Bheem Dwar (12,400 feet above sea level). This took us around 1.5 hours. Bheem Dwar is a cave and is a potential camp site. It can accommodate 10-15 people at a time.
There's a small stream nearby, so we rested at this place and refilled the water from the stream. The next part of the trek to Parvati Kund took us about 3 hours to walk 3 km. It was filled with rocks, boulders and snow.
Parvati Kund is a glacial lake, it is said to be named after Goddess Parvati. Pilgrims invoke the blessings of the Goddess by worshipping this lake before moving to Kinner Kailash.
PC : Amrita Bhattacharya
Kinner Kailash is 4 km from Parvati Lake, and is a vertical ascent of 3 km. The Shivalingam at Kinner Kailash faces Reckong Peo and Kala. After marvelling at the wonder, which is the Shivalingam at Kinner Kailash and offering prayers to Lord Shiva, we started to descend towards Ashiqui Park. Once we reached there, we camped there overnight and started to trek to Tangling the next day.
This is a one of its kind trek and I totally loved the entire experience. I witnessed many people who were not in the best of their physical capability trekking to see and offer prayers to the Shivalingam. The determination in their eyes was quite mesmerising. I would love to go on such a trek again.