Kailas… a shrine of six religions, the unmade pyramid that rose in the dawn of time, the luminary that has seen thousands years of human history, the Chrystal temple of gods and the home of bodhisattvas, the repository of knowledge… Kailas is a light house showing path to our ships in the fog of delusions, and attracting by its genuine beauty and purity.
This August we set out on pilgrimage to this inexpressibly wonderful sacred place. We flew to Chengdu by different routes; and having reached it we naively thought that we had left difficulties behind, but Kailas always checks those, who go to it… so I can’t help recollecting: “A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain”… We ourselves, our actions, thoughts, behaviour, reactions, choice were those links that played their role. For example, in Chengdu we could pass the system of Chinese security and reach Lhasa safely as a whole group only because of self-sacrifice and responsibility of some of our companions, who missed their flights just to handle the originals of Tibetan permits to those, who had flights after them.
… In Lhasa our friend and permanent guide in all our tours in Tibet – Norbu – was waiting for us. His love to motherland, knowledge, skills of communication and survival, and surely the gift of guide have been given by God, and make his path. Our meeting with him in a distant 2005 is also a big gift…
We stayed in Lhasa very shortly – on the following day after our arrival we set out on a long drive. During the past years Lhasa, same as all the Tibet, has experienced great changes. We remember towns and roads 14 and 7 years ago. The infrastructure and the level of comfort have improved significantly, it is much cleaner around, cities and railroads are built, natural resources are recovered, but at the same time there is a whole lot less of the archaic, genuine stuff that once impressed us so much, made us feel on another planet. Civilization reaches most remote spots in the mountains. Will the Tibetan people manage to preserve their language and culture, their identity?..
Lhasa – Shigatse (270 km south-west of Lhasa)
First we drove to Shigatse (3900 m asl). Height requires adaptation, and high mountain passes were waiting for us, lowland dwellers. Mountain sickness is not the right thing to mess around. On our way we visited the magnificent lake Yamdrok Tso – the lake of Scorpio (it is considered as one of six sacred lakes of Tibet along with lakes Manasarovar, Namtso, Lhamo Latso, Pelku tso and Tso Ngonpo). They say in Tibet that lake Yamdrok is impossible to see twice the same. The lake is located at the height of 4400 m asl, the average depth is around 25 m, and the length from North to South is 72 km, but from East to West – 130 km.