HOW MADHUBAN FOODS IS SERVING SATTVIC VEGETARIAN FOOD DURING KAILASH MANSAROVAR YATRA

HOW MADHUBAN FOODS IS SERVING SATTVIC VEGETARIAN FOOD DURING KAILASH MANSAROVAR YATRA, CHINA

This happened few years ago. It was the toughest day of my life. It was the day when we had trekked non-stop for more than 18 hours (3 a.m. to 9 p.m.) on high altitude in Uttarakhand, India. I and my friends Vipul and Srikanth were at the height of 16,499 feet (5029 metres), gasping for breath.

vegan cafe Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

can you believe this delicious pastry is 100% vegan. Only at Vegan cafe by Madhuban Foods in Taklakot. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

We were as thirsty as a dog in summers and so hungry that we could have chewed our arms. The trekking company we had traveled with had not given us anything to eat since 10 p.m. last night. This happened just before we were about to summit the famous Roopkund lake. Out of the blue, a team member cam running to us. He handed over food packets to us wrapped in aluminum foils.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China

A Chinese restaurant in Kyirong, China. En route En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

Excited, we attacked the packets like famished wolves, only to be crestfallen within seconds. I had been given boiled potatoes sautéed in pepper. My non vegetarian friends had boiled eggs to eat. I got angry, ate some anyways and got angry again.  This was all we ate as we navigated our way through treacherous paths on entirely snow capped mountains.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods team

Prakash ji, Sumit ji, Akbar ji and me at Darchen.(left to right). En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China. Pic by: Swati Jain

This is when I realized why good, nutritious, protein rich food is so important on such altitudes. But then Roopkund trek was my first high altitude trek. The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovara Yatra is no different.

Deraphuk Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (3)

Me at Deraphuk. Behind is the beatific North face of Mount Kailash. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China. Pic by: Swati Jain

Though, the trekking days are comparatively less than Roopkund trek in India but even the best of us can find it difficult to complete the parikrama when embarking upon Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. It is not for the faint hearted. It requires determination, lots of pre-trip preparation, even giving up on alcohol and smoking and following a healthy dietary regime.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods lake

I contemplated alone for many hours by the holy Mansarovar Lake. This is just posing for the camera of my co-yatri Swati Jain. En route En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

Yes, it is very important to eat right even before you embark upon the arduous journey. Being a vegetarian heavy nation, many Indians are worried about the sattvic food at Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in China. And we all know China can give vegetarians sleepless nights.

Also read: The first International Great Indian Food Trip in China season 3

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (6)

I could have eaten the entire plate of this vegan dhokla. At Taklakot kitchen. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

Especially for Indians who consider even onion and garlic as non vegetarian or vegans from mostly West, who have shunned even milk and all dairy products from their diet. So, how did I cope in China during Kailash Mansarovar Yatra?

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods lakes

I took ‘God alone know how many’ dips in Mansarovar Lake. I did not want to leave. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China. Pic by: Swati Jain.

I was lucky that I visited when Madhuban Foods had just entered the scene. Thanks to Scout My Trip team for extending this invite to me and in believing in me and my skills. Scout My Trip is a well known brand which specializes in road trips.  Madhuban Foods is also a known name in Indian Food and beverage ecosystem. With its restaurants in Katra, Gurugram and Shirdi, the brand has established a niche in providing healthy, nutritious, sattvic vegetarian food.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Madhuban Foods served authentic Indian food on 7 stations En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China. Can you identify the Gujarati kadhi and ghevar. This was my food at the Kyirong kitchen.

The entry of Madhuban Foods in China is a diplomatic victory between three neighbouring nations viz. India, Nepal and China. During my yatra, I could not help but admire the staff of Madhuban Foods who successfully cooked and catered healthy, nutritious, vegetarian food to yatris (pilgrims) from all walks of life.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (2)

Our saviour. It was very cold and hot water taps are provided by Madhuban Foods on all stations en route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

What makes their work even more heroic is the fact that all the 7 stations where they have the kitchen are in remote locations and without much facilities or mobile and internet connectivity. The herculean task of catering to hundreds of pilgrims (sometimes even thousands) is no small feat.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods kyirong team

Me(in center) with the very bubbly team of Madhuban foods at the Kyirong kitchen. We bonded so well that I felt like working with them. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

1. Warm Welcome With Ghevar in Kyirong:

The moment we entered China via Nepal, I realized I have entered in a completely alien landscape. I had no idea what to expect. I had not even read about it much. Being a strict vegetarian, I was most worried about the food.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China (2)

Wow I can have this breakfast all day and not just in the morning! My favourite idli and poha at Kyirong. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

As soon as we dumped our luggage in the quirky hotel in one of the glitzy lanes of Kyirong, we rushed to the kitchen of Madhuban Foods. Seeing a team of Indian chefs and management waiting for us was comforting.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

Biting into a hot samosa in foreign land is so satisfying. Thanks to Madhuban Foods, this was possible. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

We stayed for 3 days there. Can you imagine what we ate there? Gujrati dishes included the farsans, theplas, dhokla, white kadhi-khichdi and hold your breath oundhiyan! Gujrati dishes are one of my favourite and it’s near impossible to find many of these dishes even in North India.

Also read: Complete checklist for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Trek China

Pilgrims enjoying a desi meal catered by Madhuban Foods in China. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

So, I was pretty excited for the meal times every day. Even Maharashtrian dishes, another favourite were available. I overate when they presented the spicy thecha with kothambir vadi followed by the sweet pooran poli?

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Trek China Parikrama (9)

Me outside the Mansarovar cafe. Rahul Gandhi ate similar food at the same place. That mirchi which looks Gujarati is Chinese though. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China. Can you spot the Mendu Vada and Thepla? Pic by: Swati Jain

And on the day, a South Indian group arrived, we were treated with idli, sambhar, rasam and what not!

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods Zuthulphuk

Day 2 of parikrama. In pic: Swati Jain. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

The best part was that the food was made with love. We interacted with the kitchen and service team. It made me curious to know what motivated them to leave their homes and families for months on end and work in an alien country.

Madhuban Foods Katra Vaishno Devi

Chef Ram Rattan showing us his vegan preparation of Rogan Josh in Katra kitchen. It is a Kashmiri delicacy. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

The few staff members at this kitchen were from different places in India such as Andhra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh etc and yet the camaraderie and bonhomie was to be seen to be believed. The friendly atmosphere also reflected in the way they served to the guests with attention to each pilgrim and their dietary needs.

Madhuban Foods

The food served in Katra under the supervision of executive chef Mr. Ram Rattan Sharma is vegetarian, sattvic, very healthy and light. It was our stop en route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

On the day of our departure from Kyirong, bidding them adieu felt like saying good bye to close friends or family. But I have trained my traveler mind to stay unattached

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods nepal

Swati, Akbarji, Prakash ji and Sunny ji in a Kathmandu hotel. It was our last day together! En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

2. THE SAGA KITCHEN OF MADHUBAN FOODS:

The kitchen at Saga, our next stop was right opposite the large luxury hotel where most of the pilgrims stay. The cafeteria is built on a raised platform accessed by a metal staircase. The dining space was quirky. The transparent glass panels replaced the opaque concrete walls and slanted roof of the building made it stand apart.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (3)

We enjoyed the food at Saga kitchen. I shared an on and off equation with my local guide Tashi (in red). He was rough yet fun and at the end we became friends!

3. WHICH VEGETRIAN/VEGAN FOOD TO EXPECT AT MANSAROVAR LAKE?

The kitchen here was one of the toughest to manage, I observed. It was an open space with not much construction. Everything was exposed to the elements.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods Gauri Kund

The eco-friendly tiffin by Madhuban Foods saved us, especially on all the days of parikrama and long bus/cab journeys. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

It was also one of the hugest kitchen since this is the place where most pilgrims congregate and often stay for more than a day. They need the extra time to perform religious rituals by the lake, a holy dip in the lake, to embark upon the parikrama (on bus) of the lake or to just sit quietly by the holy waters and meditate. I saw my first glimpse of Mount Kailash from far distance from here itself.

You can not not read: What Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is like!

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (5)

One of the main chefs at Madhuban Foods kitchen in Mansarovar. The entire team works so hard! Hats off to them! En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

A few days after our yatra, the Indian politician Rahul Gandhi ate in the same cafeteria. Food again is served in a buffet here. Be it breakfast or lunch or dinner, we were treated with hearty home-made Indian vegetarian food such as poha, upma, paratha, chola bhatura, mendu vada for breakfast and meals like aalu gobhi, missi roti, Punjabi kadhi, daal, salad, papad, pickles and assorted soups etc.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (4)

The delicious breakfast at the Mansarovar cafe. yes, that is aaluu bonda! En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

This is also the kitchen when sometimes as many as 3,000 pilgrims show up. The staff burns the midnight oil and serves them all, no questions asked. When we visited a large group of Isha foundation run by Sadh Guru had also arrived. The kitchen catered to them as well.

Quinoa salad Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

The vegan quinoa salad not only looked great but also tasted so good. Only at the vegan cafe in Taklakot. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

4. VEGETARIAN/VEGAN FOOD AT TAKLAKOT AKA PURANG IN CHINA!

Taklakot aka Purang had the most well equipped kitchen. Located inside a luxury property, the kitchen in Taklakot has modern amenities such as huge baking machines, access to exotic ingredients and a large working space.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (8)

Chef Varun at the bakery of Taklakot kitchen of Madhuban Foods made amazing breads and vegan doughnuts. On 1 afternoon, I ate 4 doughnuts! En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

We were stunned to be able to eat the exotic quinoa salad, falafel and hummus rolls, the delicious kidney bean vegan burgers, and latte without milk. The food at this Madhuban Foods kitchen took us by surprise.

vegan Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

Vegan kidney bean burgers, vegetable cutlets and spaghetti Aglio E Olio were vegan and delicious. I ate more than I should have. Only at the vegan cafe in Taklakot. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra, China

Please read: The holy Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake in China!

The kitchen catered to the Vegan café by Madhuban Foods. Apart from Taklakot, they have vegan cafes in London (UK) and Shirdi (India) as well. I totally loved the concept, food and presentation.

Burang Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

The Taklakot kitcehn of Madhuban Foods at work. It is a lot of work! spaghetti aglio olio

It matched the 5 star standards. Apart from the vegan café, as expected the Indian food served here was equally brilliant, be it the multi grain pao bhaji, dhokla, curries or breakfast items, each dish had us begging for more.

Deraphuk Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (2)

The goose bumpy evening aarti by all the Hindu pilgrims at Darchen. Behind the man with aarti is the North face of Mount Kailash (not visible in the picture, pls check my instagram post). spaghetti aglio olio

For a moment I thought I was on a food pilgrimage. Special mention to the vegetable cutlets and doughnuts! It was the crispiest doughnut I have ever had. I ate 4 big different varieties of doughnuts in 1 day! The flavoursome cutlets were crisp from outside and melt in mouth from the inside.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods Saga Taklakot
Vegetables and fruits for the pilgrims are picked fresh from the local markets. This was in Taklakot. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

5. THE DERAPHUK KITCHEN OF MADHUBAN FOODS IS THE MOST CHALLENGING ONE:

It is the remotest location and yet a pilgrim magnet. This is the place from where you get the divine darshan of the most popular North face of Mount Kailash. This is also the most difficult place to set up a kitchen at.

Deraphuk Mayur Highway On My Plate Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

Prakashji from Nepal and Mayur from Highway On My Plate TV show and Sumit ji. (left to right) Behind is the north face of Mount Kailash. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

In spite of bare minimum facilities at their disposal and temperatures often dipping below zero, the kitchen team still delivers with aplomb.

Deraphuk Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

When representatives from 3 countries (China, Nepal and India) come together for a cause. Darchen. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

We met the energetic Mayur of the Rocky and Mayur fame who run a popular TV show called ‘Highway On My Plate’. Mayur was delighted to find hot and piping aalu ka paratha in the kitchen. A prominent lady from the Isha Ashram often spent time in the kitchen, finding comfort in the warmth of people and kitchen fire.

B Purang Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

Fresh hot tawa rotis catered by Madhuban Foods. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

The staff told me that the climate is harsh in Deraphuk. The weather here changes in a jiffy, which I saw for myself. Despite the odds, they love working here. It is the abode of Lord Shiva after all and to be able to see Mount Kailash so closely every day is nothing less than a blessing.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (9)

The Deraphuk kitchen of Madhuban Foods. The chefs faced the harshest of conditions here and limited resource. Yet they never complained and served food with a smile. Kudos. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.

6. AND THERE IS A KITCHEN AT THE REMOTE ZUTHULPHUK TOO. CAN YOU FIND IT ON MAP? :

Zuthulphuk is in the middle of nowhere. You can stand on any random rock and see most of what is called Zuthulphuk. There are very few buildings in the middle of a green valley surrounded by tall mountains and that is it about it. Now picture an Indian kitchen serving you hot sewai and assorted pakodas along with desi masala chai. It’s not luck but design. Yes, this is one of the remotest location of Madhuban Foods. It was so comforting to be able to eat Indian snacks and sweets to our heart’s content after a grueling second day of parikrama.

taklakot Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods

Varun is a magician in bakery. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

7. THE FEAST AT THE DARCHEN KITCHEN:

The Darchen kitchen was of average size. But their cafeteria came in XL size and so did the heart of chefs who served us delectable Punjabi food here. It was like eating in a big fat Hindu wedding in North India. The puris, sabzi, pakodis etc had us drooling. A sense of accomplishment after completing the entire parikrama successfully called for a celebratory dinner.

Madhuban Foods Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Sunny ji at Rasuwa Gadhi, the last village in Nepal. This was near the border to China. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

The other desi diners from different groups including some Europeans ate under the same roof, like one big family. They shared a joke, or their triumph or trials and the tribulations they faced on the yatra.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods Gauri Kund (2)

The thepla and aaluu jira by Madhuban Foods at Gauri Kund. It is near the Dolma la Pass at 16,000 feet plus height. It was the best packed lunch ever! Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

Hot soup and masala chai comforted them. The cafeteria here was the largest one. Like Taklakot, this cafeteria was inside a luxury property as well.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods cafeteria

The Darchen kitchen of Madhuban Foods. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

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Taklakot Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (2)

The pilgrim teams had briefing at most stations. Food was not one of their worries! Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

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The Nepali staff had their own kitchen. En route Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

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vegan cafe Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Kyirong China Madhuban Foods (2)

Spaghetti Alio E Olio at the vegan cafe in Taklakot, China was fab! Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. 

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