‘Helambu’ a village above the clouds!!
“Adventure is in man’s blood, you cannot expect to bring wild out of him and tell it to survive!” – William J. Black, 1987 from the book ‘Yolam- the wisdom of the lama’s! ‘
In the Lama Gaun (the home of the holy Lama’s)
Out of many journey of life I haven’t actually discovered home, until today; into the Lama Gaun, Helambu, where the holy Lama’s are born to spread their wisdom of hope and destiny.
Today after my visit to Helambu, if you ask me what Buddhism is? I would reply Buddhism is not a religion; it is a way of life; our everyday; how we learn to live with harmony with nature and ourselves; our very soul.
As usual, I packed my bag with some big money (as ATM is very rare in the village I don’t want myself to end up broke in middle of nowhere) and some clothes to ride to Helambu; my first hand information for mind mapping the place, it was somewhere around across Dhulikhel and it is a small village in the hills. Lol!!
Here I ride to nowhere at 11am from Kathmandu, date: 22nd April, 2013. It took me around an hour or so to Banepa and pass by Dhulikhel. Then I was lost, which was the way to Helambu??? Though, to end-up the suspense it was not the dead-end!!
I asked some locals the way in Dhulikhel, they said something like this, ‘Go straight from this way 17-18km and you will reach a place called ‘Zero Kilometer’ turn left and from there drive to Timbu another 17-18 km and up the hill 20 km to Helambu’. When I first heard the direction I was lost but the only thing that made me happy was the distance, it was only like around 60-80km in an average to Helambu; which was very less compare to Pokhara-Kathmandu which is like 200km and 5 hours ride; don’t forget its ground breaking 5 hours ride where your back goes numb! Haha… So, I was happy!
After stopping like 3-4 times to confirm where is Zero Kilometer; so that I don’t cross by and forget to turn left; which I actually wasn’t sure which left?
So, you must have guessed it, it was a very slow ride to Zero Kilometer. Ahh! Then I got the turn, I discovered something new but only for me, then I stopped by for a tea.
Drove again after half an hour of rest.
I got the road right at least, but I was still driving to nowhere as I had no idea where was the next stop. So, I was hopping down now and then to ask the locals for the direction.
After an hour or so to nowhere but the same left turn and straight I stopped again for a tea, it was almost 2pm. Just my clever technique to ask the local’s the path when I am lost (or when I think I am lost.) and of course make some awesome new friends! Lol
So, confirmed again! I was on track. One of the men there directed; it is about 17-18 km to ‘Timbu’ from here and 20km to ‘Helambu’; I was relieved; but another young chap told me I will reach there about 6pm. I interrupted, how come, it is just 37-38km, It must take me like an hour at most. He smiled and I thought he was a fool, but the man did remind me that the road was very rough and slippery.
Then I put up my smile and drove again with confident, but here I ended up with the most terrible journey of my life!!
‘Then I walked across the deadly rainforest, crossways to the graveyard; there was lots of ghost swamps I notice 3 on the way with winds that sounded like a witch calls; smoky from the dark and here in front of me, a dead end a dark cave.’
Naaah! Nothing like that, but still worse! Hahah!
I did reach Timbu after an hour it was almost 3:30pm by then and now was climbing up the hills; here was the worst situation of my life! It rained all the way and I was wet, though It was ok, I love the rain but never realized the rain would make the stiff; sloppy hill roads muddy and way slippery to drive up. I was determinant as always but this time I was so screwed; as my bike was literally jammed in the mud and I fall over on the roads like more than 10times; that I stopped counting after 7.
I had had to pick myself up (reminder no lunch no energy) and my bike off from the mud pits when I fall over, (I felt like I was the captain of the rescue team, saving my bike from the muddy roads, as it was stuck over and over,) adding the Masala I was lost, 20 km to Helambu was like “Come on I am riding my bike like for more than 2hours and I am still nowhere, where is this place! About to faint with no food no energy *!”
*Note: Kids reading this~ I was clever to bag pack my raincoat but no food; please carry some chocolates with you, when you try this or any long trips! Ok!! Thank you for your cooperation!
In-between lost many times on the road when I thought I was qualified enough to make my own decisions, but honestly telling was wrong turns, so I had to come back few times and make right turns.
It was almost night fall on the hills because of the mist. I reached Helambu at 6pm approx. “Silently within myself Yay!!! I made it!! Haha…finally!!!”
Then I got a room in nearby lodge, Mountain View Lodge, they said 200 Nrs. Per night! I changed, and suddenly all the mist was gone lol! Like it was day light again!
Here, out in the lawn I met Carol and her friend dancing with joy with two kids from the lodge (2 girls working in the lodge, I saw them washing dishes both around 8 and another 11 maybe), I said why you girls are singing and dancing crazy? ‘The little girl said they sponsored us for school!’ :)
I was surprised and said them why I was here to Helambu, as a women~ Chhiring Didi call me up here for her assistance, though it was a delight to see a village and it is always a pleasure to help! :)
I was starving to death, and ask Ma the owner to cook anything that is edible, she cooked me Noodles with lots of Spinach! Lol. I said I usual don’t eat green! As I love nature! Lol
Tell you unexpectedly it was good! Perhaps I was way hungry to eat anything!
We had a tea, Carol, her friend and I. In-between I did call Chhiring Didi, she was surprised and came to meet me at the lodge.
We discussed about the project for a while and went off for the get-together, it was cold and my jacket was all wet so she gave me a thick shirt and a light blanket to get a hold, so I can go to their traditional celebration (ceremony followed with dinner), It was a strange salted Tea with ghee to start with! And a pan fried potatoes round shaped as a snack, I was too tired to hangout for a night so slept early, I was on my bed, had my medicines. The room was not that big and luxury but it had twin bed and I kept all my stuffs in one and I slept like a dead OX, doubled my blanket as I was not use to the cold, at that altitude
As usual was not willing to wake up when my 7am alarm knocked me up. But Chhiring Didi showed up and waked me early. I was up, washed my face and had my morning coffee with Roti and honey as Carol in breakfast table with me and her friend, and Chhiring Di said it will go better together and she loves it!!
Soon we left, I and Chhiring Di got up and running towards the jungle, on the way, traditional ceremony of inaugurating a new Stupa was going on; villagers gathering… we stopped by to say hello and around and passed by, at 9am we reached the jungle. Let me reveal the fact, I am at Helambu to see Chhiring Didi new office and Aasram (Children Care Center for less fortunate). I loved the place and the oldest stupa at her place, though it needed renovation it was very old and entice!
She wants to make her office, a home for the less fortunate! I was impressed by her talent and ambitions so it drove all the way from Pokhara to Helambu more than 350km central north from where I now live.
The plan was up and running! I needed to support her as a backbone, I agreed and she was hopeful.
Then with a walk we talked about the electricity and water supply for the Center and other important stuffs like food and interior of the house.
Moving towards the Village School! It was a wonderful ambiance and talking about the legend of the village and the high lama’s and the tiger stories of the villages was a great time to invest.
After half an hour of short but exciting walk we reached the school and I loafed around, peeping all the class rooms and the office. I did met Mr. Nima at his office after a while and discussed about the project ‘Back to School’ so, that we can sponsor more child for schooling. :)
It was a success. We had a great meeting and tea together. I promised to sponsor 5 poor children whose parents cannot effort schooling for them and 5 orphans from the Chhiring didi’s center, which will run soon perhaps end of this year or the beginning of next,
With god grace it started raining again, I asked Chhiring didi to rush for lunch and then drop back to Kathmandu. (I had had to go back to work the next day that is Wednesday).
We bag packed and rush for lunch but by the time we finished it rained like hell, I was afraid, to take Chhiring Di to Timbu as she had some work down there; because the road down the hill was more stiff and slippery, but we had to take our chances. It was the slowest ride ever! Haha, it took us 2 hours to travel 20km, down the rocky and muddy road to Timbu, we fall 3 times in total on the way as the mud were too slippery and my motorbike slipped and we fall, it was a nice game by the way… and training too!! Hahah!! Though my hand was having a terrible pain as all the weight of my body, luggage was on my palm, as we were driving down the hell.
However, we were survivors! Made till the end, stopped by Zero Kilometer again for some snack and tea and ended up in Kathmandu.
My journey was still not done, I had to sleep after dinner at my big mom place and wake up early and ride back to Pokhara!!
Here I am at my office! Writing my note at the end of my day!!
Thank you for this little adventure! I needed this to life myself up.
My special thanks to Gina (my best friend for life), Sarah (gave me confident to wake up this morning and drive myself to Helambu), Chhiring Di (had a hope on me), and everyone who can see dreams through my eyes!
~25th April, 2013 Deepain Raj Pradhan