Bistari, bistari 2.0 - A second trip to Nepal - Lo Manthang to Chosar Valley

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March 24th 2013
Published: June 6th 2013
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This turned out to be my favourite day of the Upper Mustang.

Lo Manthang Rest Day- A visit to the Chosar Valley

NPI score of 0 this morning- no oats, therefore no porridge. We have a bowl of cooked muslei- courtesy of Dhana's food stockpile!

Set off after 8 - it's our big day out (BDO) to the Chosar Valley with the Belgians. Packed lunch- check, Nike Ipod pedometer- check, enthusiasm - check. We detour via the Lo Manthang gompa on the way out and then we're off. Another beautiful blue sky, more good weather. It is great to be striding it out and mixing up the combination of walkers. One thing I LOVE about trekking is meeting new people from diverse backgrounds and just getting to know them within the constraints of time spent in the same place. I think we have been really fortunate to meet the Belgians and their guide (Narajen). The three guys know each other through their kids rowing club, they all work in totally different fields and it has been a lot of fun getting to know them over the last few days. They are collectively a very funny bunch, they make me smile. A lot. The walking into and out of Chosar today has given us a bit more time to get to know each other better.

We walk out across to the other side of the valley and up the hill and are rewarded with some great views of Lo Manthang and the snow capped mountains behind it. It all still looks so medieval that it is easy to imagine it hundreds of years ago when it was a major trading route. I dont think much has changed externally. We reach some ruins marking the site of an old village, climb up the slippery slopes for a bit of a look. The terrain is essentially flat, flat and dusty, flat and stony... Further along before reaching Chosar is the village school. There are bunches of snotty nosed little kids walking with their back packs. One little boy's backpack is nearly as big as him. They are a sweet group- curious and shy at the same time. Interspersed with the kids are women in traditional dress. One of them walks along spinning wool at the same time as escorting some of the kids. We arrived at Chosar and hung around for a while waiting for the keys to the gompa there. There were 2 girls washing clothes at the village water supply. Pretty hard work. Narajen decided to break up the monotony of wash day by washing his hair- shirt off, of course! Lots of litter lying around. Took about 2 hrs to get there.

Whilst at the village we visited the gompa, the monks school and the the cave where a monk had meditated since 1988! Admission to each of these attractions was 200 NPR each. From here we got picked up by a small group of boys who took us out to the Jhong caves (about 2500 yrs old). They ran ahead whilst the 7 of us dutifully followed- they were great characters with very smelly feet. With the caves towering ahead, we crossed the volleyball and soccer fields to get to the steps up to the caves. Entering the caves was incredible- there were a series of ladders leading up into various caverns, chambers and levels- 108 caves in total. We got covered in dust, squeezed through small holes in walls, jumped over ledges, hung out "windows" looking out across the valley and generally had a great time. I guess we spent an hour or so actually in the caves. It was just brilliant. That also cost 200 NPR, the money going to the Himalayan Youth Club- absolute best $2.50 I spent in Nepal! Climbed back out into the broad daylight covered in dust. Took lots of photos and then the kids locked up the caves and ran off back to where they had come from. We sat in the sunshine and had a great lunch picnic style. The Belgians had tibetan bread and boiled eggs, we had tibetan bread- NO boiled eggs, hmmm. We also pulled out the biscuits, the jam, the chocolate bas, the muslei bars, etc, etc. It was a memorable feast.

The walk back was equally as pleasant as the walk there. Various walking group configurations. Lots of conversation. And, I got to stride it out. Was thoroughly outpaced by Vincent ( I never get outpaced!!), not that it was a race... The wind got up as we walked back and it got a bit chilly. Total roundtrip - 21.7km- a great Sunday Walk to add to my "Year of Sunday Walks" project.

Back in Lo Manthang Mary and I had another crack at visiting the monastery- rang the
very long bell- no monks, only dogs. Had a look in a few of the little shops and 2 roof tops on top of shops. Very cool views. Got separated. Got lost. Got found (the villagers knew where we were at all times so Mary and I were reunited as the villagers tried to tell each of us where the other one was - got it? Confusing sentence!). Back at the Mystique we got another bowl of hot washing water! 2 days in a row!!!! Mary got the washing body bowl- I ended up with a kitchen pot! And.... I know they used it for cooking later! Eeeewwww. Utterly starving by this time (despite knowing where the cooking pot had been). Spent the evening bundled up together in the dining room-Belgians, porters, guides, horse guys and owners. The Japanese helicopter tourists arrive tomorrow, we are planning on walking to Drakmar.

This turned out to be my favourite day of the Upper Mustang. A great BDO. Sleep comes easily.

Additional photos below
Photos: 37, Displayed: 25


Ancient ruinsAncient ruins
Ancient ruins

(not me, the buildings)

Lady spinning Lady spinning
Lady spinning

- she was spinning whilst walking the kids to school

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