More on Dhampush

We set out on a Wednesday from Kathmandu and drove until we made it to Dhampush in the late afternoon. The village is above Pokhara along a trekking route that leads to the Annapurna Range.

The View from Dhampush

It was a relief to be outside of the pollution of Kathmandu for a little while.

Dhampush was absolutely beautiful especially when it wasn’t raining. One morning, after getting up at 6:30, we walked outside to this…

The people there were very welcoming, and we got to know one of the women who lives in Dhampush with her son…

Tara and Her Son

She told me that she had had an inter-cast love marriage. She’s Chhetri, and her husband is Rai. Although his parents approved of their marriage, hers didn’t, so she has little contact with them now.

All the rain and wet brought lots of leeches. While growing up, I always thought of these blood-suckers as big, but the ones in Dhampush were very small. They still left a big bite though.

A Leech Bite

In all, I got about 6 leech bites. One of the aunties on the trip told me that leech bites are actually good, that they drain out the cancerous cells, a piece of information that pacified me a bit.

Kupri the Monkey

There was another animal on the trip doing some biting as well…the lodge owners’ pet monkey. She could do a few tricks and one of the local women put the monkey on her daughter’s head to pick the lice out. Kupri was incredibly cute, but it was difficult to see her chained up all the time.

We also got to eat some local food including sukuti and makaiko chiuraa. Sukuti is dried meat that is then fried with peppers and other spices. It’s very chewy. The other treat is flattened and fried corn. The lodge owners cooked some up for us on our second to last day.

The Lodge Owner Cooking Makaiko Chiura

Because it had rained so much the day before we left, the road back to Pokhara was in bad condition, but we set out anyway on the bus. Along the rocky road, the wheel got caught, and came off its joint. We had to walk down to the nearest tea shop and wait a few hours for it to be fixed. Here is me and my friend in the pouring rain, making it down the mountain.

Walking Down the Mountain in the Rain

Eventually they got the tire back in place and we went on our way. To pass the time, we sang both Nepali and American songs in the bus…

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A Visit to Namo Buddha

On Monday, Tri and I went to Namo Buddha, home to the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery. One of the reincarnations of the Buddha is supposed to have given his life to save a starving tiger and her cubs at Namo Buddha. We left bright and early at 5:30am on Monday morning with our friends, and it took about an hour to get to the area where we started hiking. First we worked our way up the “thousand steps” to Kali Temple. We were literally in the clouds when we reached the top.

After stopping for chiya (tea), we hiked further up to the monastery, which took about two hours. Here is a picture of the last part of the path, draped in prayer flags

The view of the clouds, valleys and hills was stunning. The building with the gold roof is the Thrangu Tashi Yangtse Monastery

Many of monks were Tibetan, and there was quite a bit of Tibetan script on the walls around the temple. However, I also saw some Newari script (Ranjana). Newari is a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by the indigenous people of Kathmandu Valley.

After hiking up, we were pretty tired, so we decided to take the bus back down. A local told us to walk half an hour down the mountain to catch a 2:30 bus that would take us to another stop where we could finally find a bus going to Kathmandu. On the way to the bus stop, we passed through Tri’s grandparents’ village. Although Tri’s dad was born in Kathmandu, his parents emigrated from Sanku, a village close to Namo Budhha. We walked the roads they walked, saw the fields that they saw every day. While living in the US, I rarely had a chance to connect with Tri’s past, but I’m excited to start learning more about his family.

We loved Namo Buddha, and we’re hoping to go back, maybe when my parents come to visit…