Diary

Walking in the rain

Nako, July 16, 2016, 1045 hours.

It’s been drizzling for a while now and that makes the walk that much more enjoyable, with a sweeping wind chilling one to the bone. And Kaushal has been warning everyone to be careful in the rain. “At this height, you can easily fall ill if you get wet.”

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The Big Prayer Wheel above Nako village; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

At the moment, am just loving the feel of the raindrops, the sight of the rain-soaked misty mountains and the company of the huge Prayer Wheel on this little hill above the #Nako village.

I can see an old cluster of stupas much higher up from where we stood now. That was our next destination. The beautifully inscripted #Mani stones and Mani stone mounds populated the otherwise bare mountainside. I wistfully looked over to the high trail we had seen from below – that trail led to the #Ka village (the solitary patch of green amidst barren rocky landscape we had encountered on the way to Nako). It was unlikely that we would travel that trail today. In fact, the drizzle has grown up to become a rain and we are turning back to the village.

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The vicinity of the Big Prayer Wheel has a series of stupas and other old structures all enclosed within stones walls leading into the Nako village; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

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The vicinity of the Big Prayer Wheel has a series of stupas and other old structures all enclosed within stones walls leading into the Nako village; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

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The inscripted Mani stones provide a window to a different world, accentuated by the silence; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

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Mounds of Mani stones populate the mountainside around the Big Prayer Wheel; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

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View of the old road to Ka (still used) from the Big Prayer Wheel; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

Walking back down, I can’t help but admire the ingenuity of the people who have lived here through the ages. Nor the sheer hard work that would have been required to make all this happen. The canals created with rocks to take rain and stream water down to the village and lake; the terraced farms; the patches of plantations; the fortified structures of the village… all part of the ingenuity.

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Irrigation canals going into Nako village; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

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View of Nako village from the Big Prayer Wheel; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

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In the far distance one could see another cluster of old monastic structures; Photo: Sanjay Mukherjee

I kept walking down, stumbling sometimes, and then all of a sudden I discovered the little mountain walker in me, the one who always took the path that wasn’t there. And I found a freedom in leaving the paved path and climbing down the mountainside in a steady drizzle and soon finding myself on a high ledge with only a long gravel slide down to the track to the hotel. I slid down the slope, a smile on my face, every fibre of my being alert and alive – this is the reason I walk mountains.

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