S: Sacred Journeys
FC: Sacred Journeys October 2011
1: Arrive Kathmandu from sea level --> 4,600'
2: Durbar Square
3: Nepal is a nation of extremes...
5: getting lost...
6: Swayambhunath Temple | One of the things I loved most about Nepal...
7: ...was the sense of spirit embodied in many of the Nepalese.
8: In our country, religion is something we “do;” something that often (and increasingly) divides us. In Nepal, the opposite seems to be true...
9: Their “religion” teaches them how to “be.” Hinduism and Buddhism are practiced side by side. Religion is in no way separate from their daily lives; and in no way separates them from each other.
11: Boudhanath Temple
12: Flight to Lukla
13: And then the Trek begins... Lukla at 9,383' | did we say we'd follow him ANYwhere??!!
14: Lukla to Phakding 9,383 --> 8,707
15: Religion IS life, not a separate Sunday activity. Prayer flags, prayer wheels, mani walls, and cairns were all constant reminders of this...
16: Phakding to Namche 8,707' -->11,319'
18: Above ~8,000’ there are no wheels. Imagine what that means!
19: EVERYthing is carried –- by people,
20: by yaks, or zokios -- along one of history’s most important (salt) and treacherous trade routes in the world.
21: People STILL journey over the Himalayas from Tibet to Nepal carrying goods for trade.
23: Namche to Dole 11,319' --> 13,250'
24: Dole to Machermo 13,250' --> 14,665'
28: Base Camp and...
29: Valley of the Himalayas
31: There’s a ritual connected with the creation of cairns. First, one meditates to get the intention clear. Then, holding that intention, one casts about for the right rock, and step by step, balances rock upon rock to create a sculpture, a prayer that reaches beyond the physical to the spiritual world.
32: Machermo to Gokyo 14,665' --> 15,600'
35: It’s not surprising that, over the centuries, traders have acknowledged the most treacherous crossroads as spiritual places –- places where frightened and weary travelers give thanks for having made it this far – and ask for blessings for the next leg of the journey.
36: Gokyo Ri!!! 17,600'
39: Gratitude and blessings; blessings and gratitude. I could almost hear the chant, the cadence of prayer as we passed these sacred spots, often marked, even at the highest of altitudes, by prayer flags and cairns.
40: The Sacred Lakes
43: At three of my most sacred spots, I built cairns for you -- family and friends -- an expression of gratitude for all your love and support, my way of acknowledging the blessing that is uniquely YOU.
44: To me, prayer flags symbolize the spirit of Nepal, and I offer them to you in the hope that they will remind both of us...
45: ...of the connections we share – with each other, and with all whom we meet. | Namaste
46: Everest in the background
47: The Himalayas – as India moves inexorably north, crowds Asia, and pushes the Himalayas ever higher each year, one can literally HEAR the earth groaning and grinding, the glaciers calving, the avalanches falling.
48: At 16,000’ the power and energy of the earth is palpable.
52: Gokyo to Machermo Did we REALLY trek all that way UP?!
54: Working our way down...
57: And then the climbers went UP again
60: While the rest of us continued on down...
61: from Mong-la to Namche | for a night in the prayer room
62: to Pahkding to Lukla
63: to Khatmandu and then home...