USA, December 5, 2023 (Vidya Mohan): At source below is Vidya Mohan’s (pictured above touching the base of the mountain) charming and informative multi-part blog post on her pilgrimage to Mt. Kailas. She begins:

I have never been an ardent devotee of Shiva. I have never harbored strong aspirations of coming to Mt. Kailash. Yet, on a morning walk in September, 2022, I felt a strong urge to go visit. I was on a career break which I had taken to focus on fitness and family after over 16 years in the tech industry. Confronted by an uncertain future brought by markets surging south, I was calm, determined to not act on desperation until I was ready. I was frustrated though in not having an Ishta Devata as a focal point of my meditation or clear spiritual guidance despite many years of reading, meditating and listening. Perhaps, the serene surroundings would help me find purpose or direction for my spiritual restlessness, I hoped in desperation.

I rushed home to tell my family that I wanted to leave immediately, only to be confronted by shock and laughs. I was unfit, unable to walk a flight of stairs without panting and struggling to lose the weight that I had gained over several years. I didn’t know much about going to Kailash except that there’s a lot of red tape with its location in Tibet, administered by the People’s Republic of China. My parents and spouse assured me they would chip in to help with the kids when I was ready, but I needed to strengthen my limbs and lungs to support surviving the altitude of over 5000 mts. Grudgingly I laid this wish to rest indefinitely.

It would not be until March of 2023 when the urge came back far more strong, exaggerated perhaps with weeks of inactivity recovering from a fractured ankle. With a few days of research and tapping into my network, I was able to narrow on 4 tourist agencies in Nepal that would support the aspirations of a single woman traveler. I had resolved to go alone. I yearned for silence, not wanting to be burdened by anyone’s safety or comfort. It was a selfish feeling that I wouldn’t debate with anyone. I needed to conserve the energy to focus on myself. This was mine to experience, mine to have a silent conversation with Shiva, mine to question and listen….

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