Friday, August 2

Stories from the Nepal Himalayas - in portraits

My recent trek to the Nepal Himalayas wouldn't have been the same sans the exciting encounters with people of the Solukhumbhu region - the region often termed as Everest Region by the trekking and climbing communities. 
Here are some of the snapshots from the trip:

The Best Wishes Girl:


She smiled at every trekker passing by her house on the way to Namche from Phakding and waved her hands wishing them luck.


The Legend of the Trails:


If you have trekked from Namche Bazaar to Tengboche on the Everest Base Camp route, its highly unlikely that you have missed this living legend. Lama Sheru has been building and maintaining the trekking trail all the way from Namche Bazar to Dingboche since 1958 with the help of donations from trekkers and fellow sherpas. In all these years, he has carved out a 20 km long smooth trail out of the rugged mountains, making life easy for thousands of trekkers who visit the region every year. And all this was done alone without any help from the government or local authorities. Don't forget to help this noble man with your contribution if you see him during your trek.
 
The Chocolate Boy:


While trekking from Phakding to Namche Bazaar, I had stopped for my routine energy break(gobbling up a snickers bar) when he emerged out of nowhere. "Chocolaaate please" - his timid voice turned authoritative. The moment I handed over a bar from my supplies, he vanished. In the next minute I heard another "Chocolaaate please", this time it was for a couple, standing twenty steps behind me.


The Monk who sold his house:


It was a chilly evening in Pangboche, when I ran inside the monastery to take refuge from the relentless snow-shower outside. There was this man, draped in a maroon robe smiling up to me, striking a conversation -"You don't seem to enjoy the weather outside"."I wasn't prepared for this" - I said. "Are you an explorer?", "Yes somewhat, but what made you think in that way?", "Ohh, everyone of us is an explorer in some way or the other...." - and then it went on and on.
I wasn't ready to discuss philosophy or religion at that time but I had no clue how time flew. After an hour of yoga for the mind, I was definitely wiser than before. The monk who had ran away from all earthly pleasures had sold off his house to explore the planet in search of the eternal truth. Would I be able to do something like this ever? - the question kept on lingering in my mind.


Sherpa mother:


Her sons had lost their lives in helping others conquer the tallest peaks on earth. Yet she lives with a permanent smile on her face to talk about their tales of bravado. She symbolizes the strength of a community that remains a lifeline to man's eternal desire to conquer the highest place on earth.

The Devotee:

She had walked 20 miles to offer a homemade drink at a religious ceremony in Dingboche and would carry back the drink to her village without shaking it further. Her sense of devotion and faith was strong and explained the sincerity of the people in the mountains when it comes to their rituals and beliefs.

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The simplicity, honesty and hospitality of the people of Solukhumbhu had elated me even more than the sights of the tallest peaks on earth and their smiles will remain in my heart forever.



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