In The Heart Of Shangri La
A Travelogue of My 3rd Yunnan Adventure… By Andrew
Part Two: Rediscovering the discovered
I don’t know if any of my Indian friends who visit my blogs have been to Kailash Mansarover or not. I must ask Usha Suryamani because she is always out visiting temples. I marvel her faith that I believe gives her strength to make pilgrimages to even little known temples at far off places. In India the devotees undertake arduous journeys to temples situated on high hills. One is often amazed to see little children and even the old and infirm, marching on, with prayers on their lips. The conditions euphemistically speaking are not good. Poor infrastructure, lack of toilets on way, insufficient rain shelters, inadequate health and safety support from the administration- everything seems lacking except enthusiasm of the people and the vagaries of weather but still millions of people make pilgrimages to Amarnath Caves in Jammu and Kashmir, Vaishno Devi (also in J & K), Kedarnath and Badrinath in (Uttranchal) and many other places deep in the Himalayas.
Some people go to Mansarover in China. They have to undergo fitness test because it is said that physically weak people cannot undertake that tough journey. I don’t know, how one feels on being there but the memories of seeing the majesty of ‘Nar’ (Man) and Narayan (God mountains at Badrinath, covered with snow are still fresh in my memory though I went there more than twenty years ago. They are two towering mountains facing each other as you see them while standing in the valley where Badrinath Temple is located. The sheer size was Narayan dwarfs Nar mountain range and their names thus aptly symbolize the stature of man in comparison with the majesty of God
Today, while writing introduction for the second part of the blog by Andrew a thought came to my mind that what the pilgrims think on reaching Mansarover? Perhaps the heaven lies beyond the foreboding hills and on seeing the snow-capped mountains surrounding Mansarover what do the apostate think? That what hidden beauty lies on the other side of the yonder mountains? Well, no one knows it for sure where heaven is or whether it is there or not- but many of us will contend that it is here itself ; all that you need to have is an eye to discern it.
Let me bring to you some lines from a beautiful Hindi song that has suddenly come to my mind.
Yeh kaun chitrakar hai (Who is the artist?)
Tapaswiyon see hain atal yeh parawato kee chotiyan
These mountain peaks are like unshakeable (faith, grit of the) meditating hermits
Yeh sarpa see ghoomeradar, gheradar ghatiya
These serpentine, curvilinear valleys
Dhwaja se yeh khade huye hain wariksh dewadar ke
These deodar trees are standing like flags
Galiche yeh gulab ke, bagiche yeh bahar ke
These carpets of roses, these gardens of spring
Yeh kis kavee kee kalpana kaa chamatkar hai
This is the marvel of imagination of which poet?
Yeh kaun chitrakar hai..........
Who is this artist…
Now I take the liberty of presuming that you have liked this stanza and therefore I am going to put the other two stanzas too here because poetry enthuses me, it’s my first love.
Let’s enjoy the song first
The First Stanza
Haree haree wasundhara pe nila nila yeh gagan
On this sprawling green carpeted earth is blue sky
Ke jis pe badalon kee palakee uda raha pawan
On which the air is swaying the palanquin of the clouds
Dishayein dekho rangbharee, chamak rahee umang bharee
See it’s colourful all around. All directions are glittering with excitement
Yeh kis ne phul phul pe kiya singar hai
Who has decorated every flower?
Yeh kaun chitrakar hai
Who is the artist?
Kudrat kee iss pavitrata ko tum nihar lo
Behold the purity of the Nature
Iss ke guno ko apne mann me tum utar lo
Assimilate her qualities in your heart
Chamakalo aaj lalima, apne lalat kee
Let your forehead (shine with its glory)
Kan kan se jhankatee tumhe chhabee virat kee
From every particle the image of Almighty peeps out
Apnee toh aankh yek hai uss kee hajar hai
We have just one set of eyes but He has a thousand
Yeh kaun chitrakar hai.........
Who is this artist?
Although the song is very meaningful but my translation is poor, I know I haven’t been able to do justice to the words but I think I have conveyed the essence.
We all know, who He is and the more we see His art, the more we learn to see His art in everything around us, the more blessed we feel.
If you happen to go to Kailash ManSarover and a thought comes to you that “What lies beyond?” then- this blogs brings an answer to your question- “What lies on the other side of Kailash Man Sarover?” (For the benefit of my Chinese friends, let me put here that Kailash Mansarover is a Holy Pilgrimage site revered by the Hindus.
In the heart of Shangri-La
My original plan was of skipping Lijiang and finding some company for coming along with me to visit Meri Snow Mountain（major peak Kawagebo ). The main purpose was of course to save on expenses by sharing a cab, for the reason that public transport never allows hopping off for taking instant photos when captivated by random awesome landscapes. Besides, having dinner in solitude is a torture in itself.
On such an excursion the best thing would be to trek all the way, camping at night but in today's commercial world, it's even impossible to dream such long excursions.
Now hundreds of such places are visited each year by multitude of humanity and they leave the marks of modernization in the form of garbage that Mother Nature doesn't know how to get rid of.
My expectation fell through after two nights in Lijiang where I learned from the local people that it was perhaps the leanest off-season that they had seen in years and they couldn’t recollect when they had seen so few tourists to follow Joseph Rock’s trail in the heart of Shangri-La before this.
A sleepy little town and the foothills