The Great Indian Food Trip Chapter 3- Exploring Sattvic Food at Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Healthy eating has become a part of me especially after I started taking Yoga seriously and the reason that I am vigilant of what I am eating and giving my body. I refrain from consuming things which can put your body on low energy. Nutritious eating is important because it has a huge impact on your Body and the mind. I don’t know how many of you reading this are actually aware but it is the Food you eat decides, how your body and mind will perform during the day. And therefore, it is important that a Right Food habit should be developed

Tasting the Indian Food at Kailash. Pic Credit- Abhinav Singh

My limitation from experimenting with Food has kept me away from doing Food walks and the reason that you seldom see a food blog from my end but this time I decided to explore the Food trail of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, in association with Great Indian Food Trip (GIFT) and if you ask me- Why- I would say because it was different and supports the food pattern I follow !

The Chapter 3 of Great Indian Food Trail crosses Three Countries 

When I got the invitation from GIFT to be at Kailash, my happiness owes no bound. As excited as I was, I also knew that this is going to be a different trail. This was the first time that GIFT was crossing borders to reach Kailash Mansarovar and bring out something unique for its audience, which was introduced on this trail this year itself. And secondly, exploring and eating Sattvic Food on a trek was something unimaginable. Inmy humongous treks, believe me I have survived only on Maggi. All in all I was satisfied that I will be able to justice to this one !

I am a believer that food plays an important role in forming a perception about a place.  It is a imperative to know where you can get good food to eat. I appreciate this effort of Great Indian Food trail, a ScoutMyTrip property, where they bring together the culture as well as the food of a place to highlight its unique aspect. GIFT is an exploratory drive to rediscover some of the iconic cuisines lost in the hinderland otherwise.

Exploring Sattvic Food at Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

While the last two chapters of GIFT was exploring the varieties of Biryanis from South India and the street food of Central India, the chapter three was planned differently. It was about exploring the Sattvic Food on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, which was served to thousands of Pilgrims who did Yatra this year

I don’t know how many of you are actually aware of this news but this a massive collaboration was formed between the three countries- India, Nepal and China–  who are responsible to conduct the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra to provide Veg Indian Food to the pilgrims doing the Yatra. A Jammu based company called Madhuban Foods was mandated to deliver food for the entire Kailash Yatra on behalf of the organizers that issue permits to pilgrims and tourists globally. 

So what was different here ? You must be wondering !

The Back Story of Food served at Kailash Yatra

The scenario was different till 2017. The agencies taking the bookings for Kailash tour from Nepal, would assign sherpas to a group. Apart from taking care of the group, they were also responsible for preparing food for the pilgrims but since these Sherpas were either Nepalese or Chinese, the food prepared seldom matched the Indian taste buds. And considering the age group which generally travels on Kailash Yatra, it is obvious that being flexible with the taste and experimenting with it would be difficult for maximum of pilgrims.

A well known spiritual organisation who organises Kailash tours every year told me  that till last year people would come to them and request them if they can serve them food from their Kitchen “Since they will tell us that they haven’t eaten anything for 2 days as the taste was too bland for them. We felt bad”

While I was preparing for Kailash Yatra I spoke to people who have completed the Parikrama and I was advised to carry dry fruits and energy bars with me, just incase I find food bland to eat

Also, earlier the operations of serving food to the pilgrims was restricted to the concept of moving kitchens, which means that the kitchens were temporarily set wherever the group used to take a halt. Once the pilgrim group would reach their halting destination, the moving kitchen would then be setup for preparing food, causing delay to the yatris who would be exhausted due arduousness of the terrain. Most yatris would sleep without food

What are the changes made this Year with the Collaboration 

There were many changes which were brought after this robust collaboration, the most important was serving the right combination of food to the pilgrims needed to sustain the altitude. The menus were designed specifically in consultation with a team of nutritionist to boost the strength and energy of the Yatris. .

Mr. Sumit Pratap, the owner of Madhuban Food and a Kailash devotee himself said ” It was important for us to ensure that right combination of food should be provided to all pilgrims since the terrain is tricky and could really impact your health if right food is not provided. We laid immense focus on the required nutrition, which can help people with strength and they can complete the Parikrama”

Unlike the earlier concept of moving Kitchen, this year permanent kitchens were set at the seven prominent stations where the group of Yatris take hault- which were Kyerong, Saga, Mansarovar, Thaklakot, Darchin, Deraphuk and Zhulthulpuk, which meant that the hot Indian food was always available while the group comes to the station after the journey. “It was a perfect co-ordination between the team which worked. If a group would leave a station in the morning, the team would inform the next station head of the count of number of Yatris expected, so the team could keep themselves prepared” Sumit said

Extensive arrangements were made for packed lunches, which were provided on the way, along with fruits and packed juices.

My View

Making arrangements in a third country and at a rough terrain requires commitment and therefore there is loads which I would like to say and highlight but for now a thumbs up to Madhuban Food for ensuring the well being of everyone and serving everyone at Kailash !

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