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Nepal Day 08 – Tengbouche to Dingbouche

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Tengbouche Monastery


I woke up early to join a group of other hikers that were heading to the Tengbouche Monastery for the morning puja, an act of devotion that involves acts such as bowing, making offerings, and chanting. As we approached the monastery, a monk leaned out one of the second-storey windows and blew on a huge conch shell called a 'sankha' - a trumpet that is customary to be blown before the morning puja. It has a lot of religious importance since it is one of the eight Buddhist auspicious signs (Ashtamangala) and blowing it is supposed to call forth happiness and all the 'sound offerings' to the deity. The shell itself is from a large sea snail, called a Divine Conch (Turbinella pyrum), that can be found in the Indian Ocean. The shell normally is 'right-handed' (dextral), turning upwards to the right when the tip is aligned to the top, although rare 'left-handed' (sinistral) shells can also be found (approximately 1 in every 200,000 individuals).

We removed our boots and tiptoed into the obtrusively colourful and garish interior of the monastery, with mandalas, pictures and symbols completely adorning the walls and ceiling. We edged our way to the back of the room and let the drone of the chants wash over us, completely clueless as to what was being said. The amount of monks chanting in unison was far less than what I had seen (and heard) in Boudhanath but the rhythmic chants seemed more intense and focused, reverberating off the walls of the room.

Tengbouche Monastery

Conch shells at Tengbouche Monastery


Debouche Nunnery


I left Tengbouche (elevation : 3867m) and made my way downhill towards the small Debouche nunnery. The actual name for the nunnery is 'Pema Choling Buddhist women’s convent'. It was built in 1928 and apparently has had minimal maintenance done to it since. I found it a little disheartening that the Tengbouche monastery (for the male monks) located at the top of the hill that I had just come from is thriving, whereas the Debouche nunnery (their sister-monastery) at the bottom is falling into disrepair. Sigh, 'tis a patriarchal world that we live in...

A couple of kilometres before Pangboche (elevation : 3985m), I crossed the old rope bridge that is the subject of some of the paintings that are sold in the artshops around Thamel. The rope bridge was still there, but a larger and longer metal bridge was built right over it. The new bridge was quite an eyesore but definitely looked a lot sturdier and safer than the older one! Pangboche itself was a sprawling town that lay at the foothills of Ama Dablam, a town primarily made up of fields and the meandering walls that divided them. I ended up stopping there for lunch at the 'Om Kailash Hotel' for some buff fried rice and lemon tea (NPR485, MYR17).

Mani Stones

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Next (Day 8) : Tengbouche to Dingbouche (Part 2)

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Chortens


Tengbouche Mani Stones Tengbouche Chorten

The path wound its way up and through the beautiful, tranquil hillside with the picturesque and regal Ama Dablam completely dominating the Eastern view, and passed countless mani stones and several chortens (the Tibetan word for 'stupa') along its way. Chortens tend to be fairly simple structures when found up in the mountains but despite this, are still seen as religious focal points in the landscape. They can contain offerings such as mantras that have been written or printed on paper and occasionally even valuable items such as jewellery. Chortens also contain a wooden stick that has been covered with mantras and gems that is referred to as the 'tree of life'. Each section of the chorten is representative of one of the elements - working up to the top, the square base represents 'earth', the rounded dome represents 'water', the thirteen ridges of enlightenment on a cone represent 'fire', and a small umbrella-like hood near the top represents 'wind'. Right at the tip lies a sphere that represents the unity of the sun and the moon.

A Gap in the Clouds


Junction to Periche


I came upon the small town of Syomare with an even smaller settlement called Orsho soon after. Right after Orsho, there was a fork in the road that lead left down to Periche and right up towards Dingboche. I turned right as I considered Dingboche to be the better option of the two, as it was said to be less effected by the cold winds that descend down the valleys at night. To be honest, I really think that I would have been fine with either one, as long as I was able to find a place to take my shoes off and to put my feet up for the night...

I took the left fork down to the bridge that crossed the Khumbu Khola. As the Imja Khola roared below me to the right, the clouds started to roll in from above, obscuring the clear skies that I had started to get used to. Occasionally the clouds would part and Everest would appear through the ridge of Nuptse and Lhotse, first shyly, and then slowly revealing itself as the rays of the setting sun turned the snow-covered peaks blazing red.

Lower Dingboche (elevation : approx 4300m) was reached shortly after, just less than two kilometres from the Orsho junction. I ended up checking into the 'Hotel Family Dingboche' guesthouse, hungry and eager to get my hands on some well-deserved dhal bhat for dinner; but decided to head outside first to take a timelapse of Ama Dablam as the sun's shadow slowly crept up its sides (Video Timecode : 01:08).

The Periche - Dingboche Junction

Route Playback

Suunto Movescount Stats

8a

8d

The information from the Suunto Ambit for this part of the trip can be found on my Movescount Page

For those who also have a Suunto GPS device and would like to use the move as a route, please click on the following link : 

Check the route in

Expenditure

End of Day 8 Expenditure (RM)

Transportation : 0

Entrance Fees/Visa : 0

Gear : 0

Food : 17

Maps : 0

Medication : 0

Misc : 0

Internet/Charging : 0

Accommodation : 0

TOTAL (RM)

Total

: 2266

: 339

 : 446

: 303

: 24

: 14

: 28

: 25

: 97

: 3542 

Next (Day 9) : Acclimatisation at Dingbouche
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