The rainy season grows now with each day, and the moon grows bigger too, signaling that it's now nearly time for Janai Purnima, the fullmoon of the Janai. It is a tme when high Brahmins change the sacred thread or Janai that adorns their chests, worn all the year.
For the extreme pilgrim and lover of Shiva Mahadev, it is a time to take a rain-filled, masachistic march up to Gosaikund (Cow-Lake), in Rasuwa District of the Langtang Mountains. Literally thousands of the devout climb this trail, one of the highest ascents that the Himals can offer, to 4,600+m, in as little as one day, though I recommend at least two days.
Through the rains, clouds and misery, the devout are heard shouting Shiva's name in the mists, with countless Shamans rattling their drums as they too go for this event. It is a time when young Shamans get tested by dancing and playing through the night and day, giving their love and devotion to the master of Tantra.
It only ends, after one takes a high-altitude dip in the cold embrassing waters of Gosaikund. Even though this is not exactly a trekkers dream march, it is indeed one steeped in culture and history. Gosaikund is one of 108 lakes in that area, and just above Gosaikund is Suryakund (Sun-Lake), where Lord Shiva crashed his mighty trident into a rock face to attain drinking-water, to quench the heat of an earth-enveloping poison he had swallowed to save mankind. This is also where Shiva took his name Nilkanat or blue-throat, due to the poisons heat in his throat. Just above Suryakund, in the cliffs face is three spout of water that gush forth, to feed Suryakund, flowing into Gosaikund and on into many more kunds before becoming the Trishuli (Trident) River.
If you wish to join the pilgrimage trail and participate in something special, then this a journey to take and remember. Accomodation is simple, staying in tents filled with the masses and food is simple, with dal-bhat. Give yourself four days for the journey up and down. This will help with the extreme acclimatisation and to not have to walk through the frequent rain showers. Take an umbrella, plastic sheeting or water proofs for the march, as well as a warm blanket and sleeping bag, the nights get cold and the damp of the body is hard to shake-off. And, a wad of small banknotes is advisable to take along.
Getting there from Kathmandu can be done one of two ways:
Take the bus from Balaju, on the Trishuli side. It will bring you all the way to Dhunche Bazaar, taking about 8 hours. From there you can start hiking upwards, for about 2 days. Another way, if you want more trekking, is to take the micro bus the short distance to Sundarjal and from there walk in the back way, which is about three days walk, and then continue down to Dhunche and further to Trishuli town, where the Trishuli River joins the Bhote Koshi River, eventually leading onto Mother Ganga.
If you are a foreigner you will have to pay for the permit at Dhunche.
Taking a bottle of water form Gosaikund at this time, for friends and loved ones back in Kathmandu, is a mighty gift to give. Especially for the elderly, who will not make it there in their winter years.
For those who go, remember to enjoy yourself, as you take on the mountains and rain... and call out the big mans name if it all becomes too much...HARI HARI MAHADEV!!!