* Random images of ... Nepal November 30 2013

The images shown below are from a day trip to Patan, an out-lying suburb of Kathmandu.It's known for it's ancient wooden architecture, with carvings of surprising sensuality & extraordinary detail. A Heritage-listed area (1 of many in Nepal), it's nevertheless a working city.

         

The following images are from a day trip to the Boudnath Stupa; a Tibetan Buddhist Pilgrimage site in Kathmandu. The surrounding suburb forms a gathering place for Tibetan refugees.

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The image below is of students in Tibetan art, hand-drawing Thangkas, of incredible detail. Thangkas depict tribal religious scenes & weave exotic religious meanings.

 

the image below is of 1 of the entrances to the Pashupatinath Hindu cremation Ghat on the banks of the Baghmati River, in Kathmandu.

  

The Annapurna Circuit Trek coverage begins below. More images & commentary to follow.

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Lunch on the 1st Day (wet); the scene as you enter Tal, with rock-falls commonplace in this area;

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Buf (crossing a bridge); prayer flags

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the Paunga Danda rock-face (absolutely HUGE)

the bridge at Lower Pisang; Farming in the Himalaya - steep & steeper ...!

looking along the valley towards Tilicho Peak

Prayer wheels & prayer stones - Om Mani Padme Hum (Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus)

arriving at camp

a camp-site in the mid-altitude Himalaya

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the monastery at Bragha; Raj (1 of our Nepali guides) - now where's that turn-off again ?? All the way along the valley, it was noticeable the Nepalis were always carefully watching the weather & track conditions. 1 month earlier, there'd been deep snow in the Thare Ghompa region, making that side-exploratory impossible.

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Trek leader Juddha Rai - so much responsibility on this man; looking back down the valley towards the Paunga Danda Rock-face & Manaslu (8156 metres) 

 

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Just about to leave the valley for the Thorung La region; Bilkha & Marg talk to a solitary trekker of senior years (abandoned by his companions, I think I remember. We encountered him a few times; slowly slowly - Bistari Bistari ...)

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the trail going further in towards Thorung Phedi (phedi means foot of the hill - some hill ..!!); avalanch areas - 1 person at a time, & don't dawdle was the directive.

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Thorung Phedi - the slope of the hill - flattened somewhat by the Lens

Thorung Phedi - lunch stop for us. At the extreme top-left of this image, you can see the track reaching toward the Thorung High Camp (4800 metres)

Proof that I got this far (I'm rarely in the image, being a photographer). At this point, my feet were holding up ok. I learned a lot about dressing Blisters & stuff. Finally had to pull out at Tatopani (2 nights short of the finish). My head was willing; my `feets' weren't !

Climbing ever upward, toward Thorung High Camp. The scale of the mountains was incredible. I felt like I was clinging to the side of the world. Climbing the track, my peripheral vision was filled with empty space at my side. My vertigo was chronic at this point. Bloody horrible & incredibly exciting.

Bilkha, Margaret & Pete arrive at Thorung High Camp.

Pete arriving at Thorung High Camp - 4,800 metres.

Marijuana is commonplace in Nepal - it's even marked on the maps - `Fields of Marijuana' !

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