H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj (Muniji)


Highlights of the Yatra:
Official Opening and Inauguration of Parmarth Mansarovar Ashram and Clinic
Guru Purnima Puja on Lake Mansarovar
Rudra Abhishek at base of Mt. Kailash
Bhoomi puja for other projects in Prayang and Saga
Satsang with revered saints
Divine Aarti on the banks of Bagmati River in Katmandu
Meditation in Dalai Lama's Potala Palace in Lhasa on H.H. Dalai Lama's birthday

From July 1 � July 23, nearly 200 yatris from 13 countries traveled on a sacred, historic yatra to Kailash Mansarovar. With the blessings, guidance and inspiration of His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the yatra was a divine success. 

The Yatra was graced by the presence of the following revered saints. 

H.H. Shankaracharyaji Swami Divyanand Teerthji, Bhanpura Peeth 

H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji

H.H. Swami Gurusharananandji H.H. Acharya Kishore Vyasji H.H. Roopchandra Muniji H.H. Acharya Shrikant Vyasji H.H. Rasyani Babaji


The yatra was blessed by His Holiness Sri Shankaracharyaji Swami Jayendra Saraswatiji Maharaj and Sri Shankaracharyaji Swami Vijayendra Saraswatiji Maharaj, Kanchi Kaam Koti and the following revered saints:

H.H. Swami Satyamitranand Giriji H.H. Sant Shri Rameshbhai Oza H.H. Dr. Pranav Pandyaji

These saints were all planning to join the yatra in its original date of June 2003; however, due to various prior and unbreakable commitments (including Guru Purnima) they were unable to be physically present when the yatra shifted dates from June to July due to the closure of Tibet in June due to SARS. 

However, their blessings and love were with us every step of the way, and H.H. Swami Gurusharananandji Maharaj flew to Kathmandu for one day to officially "see-off" the Yatra and give his blessings in person. H.H. Acharya Shrikant Vyasji also joined us for the official "See-Off"in Kathmandu, although his original plans had been to join us for the entire yatra. 

Government officials came from Taklakote to offer respect and thanks to Pujya Swamiji for bringing the Ashram and Clinic into existence. They drove for 6 hours (several hundred kilometers) from Taklakote just to pay their respects to Pujya Swamiji.



So many people undertake the yatra, have 
darshan and return.  However, this was probably 
the first yatra to be undertaken not for personal punya or personal moksha, but rather to build bridges of love and friendship between people 
of 13 countries and the local people in the 
Tibet Autonomous Region of China


Pujya Swamiji feeds prasad to the child who has been chosen as the next main Lama of the Mansarovar region

This was not an ordinary yatra to Kailash and Mansarovar, however. It was truly a �Vishwa Maitri Yatra� [World Friendship Yatra].  The yatris inaugurated the Parmarth Mansarovar Ashram and Clinic on the banks of Lake Mansarovar. This ashram (tourist rest house) and clinic, the first ever to be built in the holy land of Mansarovar, were built by India Heritage Research Foundation, under the guidance and blessings of Pujya Swami Chidanandji, Founder and Chairman. 


The official inauguration was attended by all of the local school children, revered lamas, local authorities, and village people, who performed special local songs and dances for the occasion. The village women danced, the village men danced, the school children sang and danced, and the lamas performed a special sacred chant.  Then, the young rishikumars from Parmarth�s gurukul sang and danced along with the local Tibetan village children � the purity of love serving as their bridge across cultures, nationalities, languages and customs. 






Official Opening Ceremony of the Parmarth Mansarovar Ashram: (right) Nalini and Kamalini perform a special dance to Shiva. (below) Pujya Swamiji honors the local lamas. (below right): the official plaque is unveiled 




As the time for the official �opening of the ribbon� drew near, the local officials and villagers set off a loud display of fireworks, and an orchestra of different musical instruments mingling with the sound of the conch shell, filled the joyous air.




There are 40 children in the local school. All of them came from over 25 km away for the occasion. We distributed notebooks, pencils and biscuits to the children. 





The 2 buildings of the Parmarth Mansarovar Medical Clinic - adjacent to the Ashram


Additionally, on the final day in Mansarovar, Pujya Swamiji met with the local village heads, farmers and doctor to ascertain what other help is necessary in the region. To each of their requests, Pujya Swamiji responded �done,� and assured the people that their needs would be met. 



The Reception room in the Ashram

Pujya Swamiji gives medicines to the local doctor

The local people, who were filled with natural wariness and trepidation at the beginning of the yatris� visit, shed tears of sadness as the yatra departed. Local villagers had come one evening, laden with 2 heavy cans of yak milk as a special, ceremonial offering to Pujya Swamiji. �Lama, milk. Lama, milk. Lama, milk,� they said, as they placed the offering at his feet and did dandavat Sashtaang pranam, before quietly exiting.  



In June, 1998 when H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, H.H. Swami Gurusharananandji Maharaj and H.H. Sant Shri Rameshbhai Oza (Pujya Bhaishri) went on yatra to the sacred land of Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash, in Tibet, they saw the desperateness of the local situation. There were no medical facilities for hundreds of kilometers. People frequently suffered and even died from basic, treatable ailments, due to lack of medical attention. There was no indoor place to stay - all had to camp in tents.


Therefore, Pujya Swamiji vowed that -- by the grace of God � He would do something for the local people and for all the pilgrims who travel there.

Two and a half years were spent in discussions with the Chinese government, to get permission for the project. Finally, in November, 2000,  the permission was officially granted to build an ashram and a hospital in the sacred land. Further, this will be the spring board for other much-needed humanitarian projects in the area, including schools, vocational training programs, etc.  



The Governor of Tibet comes to Katmandu for the official Contract Signing Ceremony


On December 14, 2000, Pujya Swamiji flew to Kathmandu, Nepal where a special banquet was thrown in His honor by the Ambassador from China to Nepal. All of the top, concerned Chinese/Tibetan government officials flew from Lhasa to Kathmandu for the final contract-signing ceremony.  On December 15, the official contract was signed, stating (in part), �Under the vision, inspiration and leadership of His Holiness Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswati, India Heritage Research Foundation has agreed to provide the Bureau of Foreign Affairs and Tourism of Ngari Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, Peoples Republic of China, with a clinic and Tourist Rest House (ashram) in the holy area of Lake Mansarovar and Mt. Kailash.�

Further, the contract states that for all future projects in the region (including schools, hospitals, rest houses, sanitation programs), the government of Tibet/China will give first priority to IHRF to sponsor the project.

The project is truly the grace of God and will be a divine gift to the holy land, to all the Tibetans who live there, and to all the pious pilgrims who cross oceans and continents in order to have a glimpse of the abode of Lord Shiva.


  The Signing of the Official Contract in Kathmandu in December, 2000. 
The Governor of Tibet, Ambassador of China to Nepal and 
the Cultural Minister of Nepal were all present







Pujya Swamiji meets with the Village Chief, local farmers and doctor to discuss what else can be done for the local people


1. The current dining hall is being used for satsang, but it could barely hold the 200 yatris on our trip. Therefore, Pujya Swamiji decided that a special satsang/meditation hall, which can also serve as a dormitory, is needed. 

The details were planned and permission granted to build a large satsang hall/dormitory on the land just adjacent to the ashram, directly on the banks of Lake Mansarovar. Pilgrims will have the divine darshan of Kailash through the windows as they sit and listen to satsang or stay in the dormitory. 

The local people and Village Chief expressed their great gratitude for this divine ashram and clinic. The Clinic is open to not only yatris, but also to the local people. We brought a great deal of medicine and supplies along with us, and also selected the particular machines (including an oxygen machine) which will be provided. 

Additionally, all of the profits which are earned from donations from yatris go directly to the local 450 families who live in the Mansarovar region. This year (the first year for which the ashram was open) the profits went to improve sanitation and health for the local people and they also donated to the local school. The ashram is being managed by the Village Chief, so he is the one most aware of what the village's needs are. 

Now, with a satsang hall/meditation hall and dormitory, the Ashram will be even of more benefit to yatris and the local people. 

2. The local farmers and Village Chief said they need a tractor and also water pumps to carry water from the lake to their fields and houses. Pujya Swamiji has agreed to provide both of these.

3. Adoption of local school. There is one school with 40 children studying in the entire area. Pujya Swamiji has said we will adopt the school in cooperation with the Village Chief and sponsor it. 

4. Special, authorized soil samples were also taken which will be given to special scientists in Delhi and Rishikesh who will analyze what can be grown in the fertile soil. Currently the people subsist mainly on yak meat which is occasionally supplemented by potatoes or a special kind of wheat. However, the farmers are not sure how best to grow these things nor do they know what else can be cultivated. Pujya Swamiji assured them that we will help them cultivate the land. 

5. Ashrams in Saga and Prayang. Further, Pujya Swamiji initiated the bhoomi puja (ground breaking ceremonies) for ashrams (tourist rest houses) and other charitable projects in Saga and Prayang along the way to Mansarovar, and has also received permission to build at Dirapuk (4909 meters) and Zuthul Puk (5650 meters) along the sacred Kailash parikrama route. Further, discussions are underway for an ashram in Taklakote, which is where those entering via helicopter first reach Tibet, and it is also the location where the Indian yatra, entering via Uttranchal, enters Tibet. 

The sacred Brahmaputra river in Saga, the site of the next Ashram


Bhoomi puja and prayers are performed in Prayang and Saga

His aim is not only to provide much-needed facilities for the pious yatris, but also to build a bridge of friendship, trust and assistance between India and China.

While in Lhasa, on July 6, the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the yatris had a special meditation in the main hall of the Potala Palace, where the Dalai Lama had lived. They also sponsored tea, snacks and dakshina for over 800 lamas at the Drepung Monastery. 

The yatra was a sangam of Kailash, Sanskriti and Dharma � Art, Culture and Religion.  


Two of India�s most famous classical dancers, Nalini and Kamalini and their Respected Guru Jitendra Maharaj, performed sacred dances to 
Lord Shiva at the base of Mt. Kailash and on the banks of Lake Mansarovar, to the drumming of world famous drummer, Shivmani.

It was probably the first time in history that Indian classical dance was performed by such accomplished artists, as a devotional offering to 
Lord Shiva, in this holy land. 



Additionally, at the base of Kailash, at the holy place of Ashtapath, one of the holiest places in the Jain tradition, the place where Adinath Sri Rishabhdevji attained enlightenment, Pujya Roopchandra Muniji (a revered Jain saint from Delhi) and Pujya Swamiji performed a special puja and chanted the sacred Namokar mantra. This was probably the first time that a Jain saint performed puja at this holy place. 

On the final day in Mansarovar, a special Mansarovar aarti was performed by the revered saints, yatris from 13 countries and also the local people! Pujya Swamiji has agreed to build a special ghat on the banks of Lake Mansarovar so that regular Mansarovar aarti can be performed, and so that yatris have a place to sit and meditate comfortably. 



The local people perform Mansarovar Aarti with the revered saints and yatris


Upon return to Katmandu on the 20th July, a special aarti was organized on the banks of the Bagmati river at Pashupathinath Temple. Prior to leaving Katmandu on the 3 July, Pujya Swamiji had organized the first large-scaled aarti to ever be held at this holy location. Then, upon the yatra�s return, more than 10,000 people flocked to the ceremony to take part in the festivities.


July 3-4: Katmandu, Nepal: A large, special puja at the holy Pashupathinath Temple was arranged, and Pujya Swamiji initiated the first Aarti on the banks of the Bagmati river, outside of Pashupathinath Temple. Thousands of people came for the first aarti during which He announced that on July 20, upon the return from Mansarovar, another large Aarti would take place.


  Aarti on the banks of Bagmati river at Pashupathinath Temple, Katmandu  



These days were filled with visiting of local temples and other holy sites, as well as with satsang by the revered saints and yoga/meditation classes. 

July 3 marked the official "Welcome Ceremony" for which we were graced by the presence of H.H. Swami Gurusharananandji Maharaj who flew in from Bombay just for the occasion. Several other of the local spiritual leaders in Nepal also graced the event with their presence. 




  Official See Off program in Katmandu.  the Yatra dances its way through Lhasa  



July 5-7: Lhasa, Tibet: Although the weather forecast had said "Rain for two days", the grace of God and the blessings of our revered saints granted us two beautifully clear days in which to visit the Potala Palace (prior home of H.H. the Dalai Lama) and several of the main monasteries in Lhasa. We held a special group meditation in the main hall of Potala Palace (where the Dalai Lama used to conduct his pujas and talks), an unprecedented event. 

Additionally, at a large function on the evening of the 6 July, His Honorable Lobsang Gyang Chun, the Vice- Governor of Lhasa attended and expressed his pleasure and honor at meeting Pujya Swamiji and hearing about the yatra and projects in Mansarovar. 

In the morning and evenings we gathered for satsang, pravachan, question-answer sessions and also universal prayers. 


At the Potala Palace (Dalai Lama's home). A special group meditation and then group photo. (below right): Shivmani drums with the Lama in charge of the Palace Gong.  






  Potala Palace Pujya Swamiji and Pujya Acharya Kishore Vyasji  




July 11: Prayang: In the morning before departing for Mansarovar from Prayang, we had a special bhoomi puja for a new ashram in this divine land which Pujya Swamiji has re-named Prayag! "It is not the confluence of rivers here, like in our Prayag in India, but rather here we have the confluence of cultures, the confluence of peoples and the confluence of hearts which have united together in this beautiful land," He said. 



Just as He has built an ashram and clinic in Mansarovar, so Pujya Swamiji pledged that we will do something for the local people in Prayang and also for all the pilgrims who travel through there on the way to Mansarovar. 


Bhoomi Puja Ceremony in Prayang



Beautiful speeches were given on the occasion by the revered saints and also by Shri Tarun Vijay. The speakers effusively praised Pujya Swamiji for His service of the dharma and His service of the poor and needy. "What the government of India could not do, one divine Saint has done," the speakers lauded.

July 13: Guru Purnima Day on Mansarovar:  There had been continuous rain for more than 5 days by the time we reached Mansarovar. Several groups had come and left without having darshan of Kailash or a bath in Mansarovar due to the inclement weather. However, although it was still lightly drizzling when we arrived on the 11th evening, by the 12th the skies cleared and we were granted divine darshan of Kailash. Not another drop of rain fell during our 4 full days in the holy land. 



The yatris gather together for the first darshan of Kailash as glimpsed from the Ashram

July 13th began with a special Guru Purnima Shiv Abhishek and havan on the banks of Lake Mansarovar. This was followed by uplifting and divine Guru Purnima messages by the saints, and also a special dance performed by Nalini and Kamalini Ashtana, famous classical dancers of India. They performed a beautiful dance tribute to the Guru. The Puja concluded with a special puja for the plaques of all those who had sponsored a room in the Mansarovar ashram.  


(Right): Guru Purnima Message is given by Pujya Swamiji. (below):Purnahuti of the yagna. (below right): special prayers for Late Shri Narendra Mohanji. 




Pujya Swamiji felt that before installing the stone plaques, a special puja should be conducted for the donors and their families. We also said special prayers and performed special puja for so many people across the world who had
written and requested that puja be conducted on their behalf or on behalf of their loved ones. 

Everyone had a wonderful lunch/prasad sitting outside in the clear sunshine right beside the waters of Lake Mansarovar.

We also had a special prayer and puja in honor of Late Shri Narendra Mohanji. Shri Narendra Mohanji was a close member of the Parmarth Family and greatly loved and respected by all. He was the editor-in-chief of Dainik Jagran, the most widely read newspaper in India, and also a dedicated member of Rajya Sabha in Parliament. His prolific and articulate writings brought both the culture of India and also the problems being faced by the Hindu community to light. His dedication to the community, to the country, to the culture and to all of humanity was peerless. His Dainik Jagran Newspaper is a daily �awakening� of piety, culture, tradition and spirit of India for millions of people every day. We were joined on the yatra by his beloved son and daughter-in-law Sandeep and Manjari Gupta. 

In the afternoon was the official 'INAUGURATION - OPENING CEREMONY" of the ashram. All the local villagers, authorities, officials, lamas, and children came for this special occasion which not only opened the ashram, but also opened everyone's hearts to the undeniable connection we all share, regardless of boundaries of language or culture.  



The local men, the local women and the children perform for the opening ceremony while villagers look on



July 14: Puja at Ashtaputh/Tarboche. We travelled to the closest point to Mt. Kailash called Tarboche (or Ashtaputh). Kailash was clouded over as we set up for the special puja. However, just as the first mantras were chanted, the clouds parted and we were all blessed with the darshan of Lord Shiva. Eyes filled with tears as the puja ceased for several minutes so everyone could absorb the darshan in silence. Then, so as to protect us from the bright, blazing sun during our 2 hour puja, the clouds returned and we performed the sacred Rudra Abhishek ceremony under the protection of clouds. As Pujya Swamiji poured the final abhishek over the Shiv Ling, again the clouds parted and Kailash was clear, from bottom to top. For nearly 1 hour, we received complete darshan as we sat, mesmerized by the sublime beauty. 


Rudra Abhishek puja at the base of Kailash



Rudra Abhishek puja at the base of Kailash




July 15: Parikrama of Lake Mansarovar. In the glorious sunshine, we drove the full parikrama of Lake Mansarovar, having the clear darshan of Mt. Kailash the entire time. Finally, at the most perfect point, with Mt. Kailash towering above directly behind the Lake, we stopped and everyone had a group snan (bath) as the rishikumars chanted sacred mantras. We also performed a special abhishek ceremony after everyone had a snan. For hours, Kailash remained perfectly clear and its reflection shone in the crystal clear waters of Lake Mansarovar. 

On the return to our ashram, we took the route via Rakshastal and had darshan of Rakshastal as well. 









Along the Mansarovar Parikrama route, there are special gompas (temples) of worship where the local people pray







Pujya Swamiji performs abhishek on the banks of Lake Mansarovar, with Kailash towering in the background Pujya Swamiji in front of Kailash

July 16: On the morning of our departure from Mansarovar, as we had the first Mansarovar aarti ever, we also had a special puja and prayer in honor of the late Shri Rajjubhaiya who left his body for the Heavenly Abode. The puja was performed by Pujya Swamiji with Shri Tarun Vijay and Shri Rajesh Kalra. 

July 18: Saga: On the return from Mansarovar and Kailash, we had a beautiful ceremony at a site on the banks of the Brahmaputra river where Pujya Swamiji will build the Saga ashram, just like in Mansarovar and Prayang. Originally He was thinking to build inside Saga, but as we stood on the banks of the holy river, He decided that that would be the best place. 

July 20: Katmandu - Aarti on Bagmati River. Over 10,000 people came to this divine aarti and welcome back reception for the yatris. There was a special performance by Nalini-Kamalini and all of the local, revered saints of Katmandu also attended. 


Other pictures from the yatra:


Satsang and bhajans in Nyalam


(left): yatra cars driving on Tibetan highway; (below) group picture along the way. (below right) kirtan on the banks of Brahmaputra river 





Pujya Swamiji sits in meditation with the rishikumars on the Kailash parikrama




The Village Chief (Ashram Manager) and his family

A local child






Pujya Swamiji's Itinerary
August -  October, 2003
August September October


Rishikesh 1-18 Rishikesh 1 Sydney, Australia
    19 Delhi 2-3 Nadi, Fiji
    20-21 Bangkok 4-5 Auckland, 
New Zealand
    22-23 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 6-7 Hong Kong
    24-25 Singapore 9-29 Rishikesh
    26-27 Jakarta, Indonesia 31 Zurich, Switzerland
    28-29 Bali, Indonesia    
    30 Sydney, Australia    

Please note: Pujya Swamiji's itinerary is always subject to change. Prior to coming to Rishikesh, please make sure to confirm whether He is here by phone or email.

Contact Information:
Phone: (0135)  2434301, 2434308, 2440088 Fax: (0135)) 2434399
From abroad, dial: + (91-135) instead of (0135)
Links to RECENT Newsletters

Special 50th Jayanti of Pujya Swamiji

April - May 2003

January - February 2003 May - June 2003

Please click on www.parmarth.com/updates.htm for links to all previous updates and Divine Messages