Connoisseurs Learn the Pleasures and Perils of Pilgrimage to Mansarovar & Kailash Parbhat

The Connoisseurs Club ties each event with a chance to learn something new and its other constant is that each member brings a bottle of their favorite – or unusual – bottle of Scotch whisky to sample.

BY JAWAHAR MALHOTRA

HOUSTON: It was armchair theatre at its best: a glass of favorite Scotch whiskey in hand and hot appetizers followed by dinner brought to the dining table. On either side of the screen in the dimly lit private hall of Nirvana restaurant, 20 members of the Connoisseurs Club listened in rapt attention, interspersed with inquisitive questions, as the host presenters described their two-week adventure to Mansarovar Lake and Kailash Prabhat, two of Hinduism’s holiest pilgrimage destinations.

This was the Connoisseurs Club’s first meeting in 2019 after a Holiday party last December. The Club’s creed is to share experiences with that can expand the knowledge and enrichen the outlook of its members.

The six-year-old social group ties each event with a chance to learn something new from a member’s experience and its other constant is that each member brings a bottle of their favorite – or unusual – bottle of Scotch whisky to sample, and a dish for snacks or dinner that follows.

At this meeting, Satish Sheth and his wife Dr. Anmona Thacker shared their experiences from their trip last June to Lhasa, Tibet and onwards to Mansarovar Lake and Kailash Prabhat. Mount Kailash forms part of the Himalayan range in Tibet and devotees believe that it is the abode of Lord Shiva. Mansarovar Lake lies at its base, just to the south of it and is believed to have been created by Lord Brahma so a parikrama or trek around it, dip in it and drinking its waters can cleanse away sins. The two sites are considered holy by four religions and are just across the border from Nepal in Tibet.

Satish and Anmona described their “Live Your Dream” trip and the preparations they made for it. They started their trip in Kathmandu, Nepal where they got their visas to enter China.
From there they flew into to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet at 12,000 ft and then took a 50-mile busride to the base camp which was at an altitude of 18,000 ft. “We had to get acclimated to the height to avoid the nausea and dizziness associated with altitude sickness,” explained Satish and Anmona had packed lots of medications and water for the onward trip to the mountain.

Though thousands of pilgrims visit the site and some do the rigorous 3-day long parikrama on foot, Satish described how tough the trail was getting to the base and even tougher and narrower getting around with most people riding horses led by a guide. “It’s a good idea to do some endurance training before going on the trip,” said Anmona. “Many people who didn’t take precautions had to rest out the trip in Lhasa or the base camp as there are no shelters or creature comforts along the trail.”

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