This post continues from the last two posts describing my trek into the Tsum Valley in November 2019.
High in the Himalaya in Nepal is a remote glacial valley, the Tsum Valley. It is a side valley off the Manaslu Trail. To reach Chhokangparo we had climbed from steep sided river valley, up the terminal moraine and onto a flat plain. So strange to find this agricultural valley so high in the mountains, at around 4000 metres.
|The flat valley bottom with a new monastery and stupas in view|
On the flat plain between Chhokangparo and Nile and Chule we came to this new and brightly painted monastery.
When we passed there were young boys arriving to attend the school run by the monks. The children all had navy-blue tracksuits on, a sign of the modernisation that is affecting even remote areas of Nepal.
Outside is a line of brightly painted modern stupas, which can be seen from far down the valley.
There is at least one holy cave situated on the side of and above the valley. These caves were used as holy retreats by important Buddhist clergy and are much revered for their sanctity We visited the guardian to collect the key to visit. Here she is spinning yak wool, which she then weaves into warm blankets to sell.
In their living room they had many family photos on display and beautiful brass plates and bowls lined up on shelves along one wall.
The fields are small and much of the field work is done by hand. Not all though! There is a modern tractor working in the valley, apparently brought in by helicopter from China. We met it chugging along the lane, the two farm workers on board waved to us enthusiastically.
Look in the river on the photo alongside to see the blue tractor collecting stones for building.
We stayed at Nile and, leaving our bags there the next day, we walked up the valley to Mu Gompa, the old monastery. We had been warned that overnight accommodation higher up was not available as there is only the Buddhist Gumpa there.
It is a steep climb up to the Gompa, but worth the effort. The views from the courtyard are fabulous, surrounded by spectacular mountains with the path following the river up the valley towards Tibet.
Looking down the valley we could see the route we had walked up that morning, with Ganesh Himal towering behind.
|Inside the Gumpa|
The path to Tibet is followed by the Yaks and their drivers. Local yak owners have special passes to enable them to trade over the border with Tibet, rather than carrying supplies all the way up the valley from Nepal.
On the walk back from Mu Gompa we saw a line of loaded yak on the path across the river.
At the guest house in Nile the following morning we were awakened early by a herd of yaks being loaded in the courtyard, before departure to Tibet. Quite a surprising sight at 6am!
Yak dung is collected and dried to be used for fuel for fires. I loved the way it was dried, pressed onto the wall of a house. Just look at the fingerprints!
The journey up the Tsum Valley was spectacular, so much to see in both the landscape and the people and their homes. An experience of a lifetime!