Light and Dark in the Windows, Doors and Pathways: the Kathmandu Eastern Valley Rim, Part 2
Women in the Window
Four women laugh together as they watch our passing along the road below.
The smiles from the windows and doorways along the trekking trail between Panauti and Namo Buddha in Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, are as warm as the bright sun overhead.
I was walking with a friend and local guide Angfula Sherpa (our porter had long since left us behind!) towards the sacred pilgrimage site of Namo Buddha, where we were to stay overnight at the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery.
We had spent the morning – after driving from Lazimpat – sampling food and chatting to people (see: Dirt Music and Sunshine). We weren’t moving very fast: every step was a visual feast, so we were stopping and taking copious pictures – and pretending that these stops were not an excuse to rest our ageing lungs and aching joints!
Contrasts of light and dark shimmered all around us, as the sun angled into the narrow lanes of the tiny hamlets and bounced off the brickwork, highlighting the resilience of the people and the rough edges of the damage from the 2015 earthquake.
Join me as we slowly make our way up the hills out of the Kathmandu Valley:
Corn Drying and Cracks in the Mortar
Following the devastating earthquake in 2015, life goes on: corn for seed and animal feed is stacked in windows and attic spaces to dry in preparation for the long winter. Everywhere we walk, we see reminders of buildings that have come down completely, and neighbouring buildings that have suffered very little.
Cat on a Stoop
Light and Shade
A “shopkeeper” sets up his goods in a shady corner on a dusty street.
In another corner, a woman does her laundry.
A Man and his Dog
Shrine in the Fields
The textured, terraced fields are punctuated with small shrines.
Minding the Baby
Everywhere, the windows and door-frames are graced by locals.
Yoga Master in the Window
As we walk down the narrow dusty street, a man leans out of a window overhead; a sign on the shaded building advertises yoga. Much as we’d have loved to have joined him, we still had a long way to walk before our final stop for the day.
Women in the Road
Two women stand chatting in a patch of light at the end of the village.
One of them pauses to have her picture taken in the bright sunlight before she heads back up to her home – high on the hill above the village we have just passed through.
As we head out of the little hamlet, the road once again reduces to a dusty track …
… rising through the terraces of blooming mustard plants. Farmers here alternate their crops of potato, mustard, and seasonal vegetables to use their limited agricultural land to the absolute maximum.
Minding the Grandchild
At the top of one rise, we come across an elderly man looking after his grandchild.
Less than twenty minutes later, we are entering another row of homes …
… with more corn hung out to dry.
A little further along the way, we came across a “restaurant”: a dark hut with rickety benches outside. Inside – in the gloom – a husband and wife team were making over-sized momos, or Nepali-Tibetan-style dumplings.
The man engages in an earnest conversation with our guide.
I absolutely love momos! So naturally, we had to wait for a fresh batch to be steamed, …
… dished up, …
The Momos are Ready!
… and served with a rich, spicy sauce. Just delicious! Fortified, we continue on our way.
Woman in a Window
Houses on the Hillside
The terraced hills rise around us …
Flags on the Hill
… as we climb up to our first collection of Buddhist prayer flags.
Signs of Spring
A Heavy Load
I marvel as I watch petite women with overwhelming loads walk up the steep hill, …
… overtaking us easily.
We are thrilled to see Nepal’s national flower: Lali Gurans, or Red Rhododendron, blooming in the tall forest over our heads.
Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery
Finally! We get our first sighting of the monastery – which we will explore more fully in the morning.
View from my Room
This evening, I will bed down on a simple bed with this marvellous view back down the hillside. What a treat!
After finding our simple rooms in the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery Guesthouse, and taking quick, well-earned showers, we joined the monks and novices in evening prayers, and ate a simple meal of dahl and sticky buns.
It was a perfect ending to my first glorious day of walking in the clean, Nepali mountain air.
Until next time,