This morning we leave Manang heading for Khangsar (3734m). Few stops to take some photos of the bakery produce- it all looks so good! And we are off.... Our group of 4 (Mary, Dhana, Santos and I) has become 5- Stephane has asked if it is OK for him to join us for a few days. It is quite forested for part of the way; pine plantations along the lower banks of the river and extending up the hills, with silver birch at the higher levels, all amongst the snow. The song, "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas", pops into my head, I suppress the urge to sing ....
Easy walking this morning along dusty trails . The river has really narrowed, we have a bit of an uphill climb leading into Khangsar. The lower landscape is rock coloured, dusty, barren and stony. Breaking this monotone landscape is a wonderfully ornate kani at the village entrance. The kani is painted gold and white and looks amazing against the backdrop of the mountains. The village is predominately made up of old stone dwellings, it lacks the colour of the more garish teahouses we have passed earlier on our trek
but is really impressive.
It has only taken 2 1/2 hours to this point; a very slack morning. We pick the first teahouse that we see - hmmm, is it possible? could it be???? Yep, another Hotel Maya (I'm thinking Dhana has a particular affinity for anything with a Maya in the name). Anyway, we drop the bags and head upstairs to have a look at the rooms, this Hotel Maya is three storey, we are on the second floor. There is a bit of construction going on but it looks really nice. There is actually a double bed and
a twin bed in our room and the sheets and pillowcases are snow white- they look brand new. The best feature of this Maya though is the courtyard downstairs- it is a sun trap and sheltered- perfect for a cup of tea. End up having an early lunch and just sitting. We meet the family, they have a baby called Sonny, a dog called Pinky and a 5 year old at school down in Kathmandu.
In the afternoon we take the low path with the high climb up to Tare Gomba, a significant Buddhist monastery. The monastery is
thought to be 1000 years old (so says the sign) and is very important to the local people. There is no one in residence so the monastery is locked up, no sign of a caretaker. However, we spend some time exploring the site. There is one structure with a huge prayer wheel inside that is open, the roof is in dire need of structural support- there is a pole and 2 rocks propping it up and the floor is pretty rickety too. The yellow roof of the monastery looks stunning against the mountains and we sit in awe soaking it all up. The cloud is coming in and moving fast toward Manaslu peak- another stunning phenomena to witness.
The route back down to the village is easy, parts of the trail are heavily forested and the bird life is out in force. We pass 2 other tourists in the town as we come in from the back way. The houses are all flat rooved and double storey. Lots of ice and snow lining the street, lots of cattle and horses, lots of firewood stacked up. Back at the Maya, Santos (who has had the afternoon off), is glued to
the TV. We spoil his peace and quiet by joining him. Early dinner, 5 of us playing Yahtzee tonight - I excel myself with the first Yahtzee (50 points) of the ongoing tournament. The TV blasts away in the background - Hindi soaps followed by WWE wrestling followed by a Bollywood extravaganza. The yak dung fire keeps us warm. We are all happy.
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