Greetings from Manang, Nepal… Wish you were here!
Photo above taken in November 2010 during a two-week trek in the Annapurnas.
Probably one of the coolest cultural experiences of the entire trek through the Annapurnas was our visit to the Manang monastery. Due to Manang’s high altitude (11,483 feet), most trekking groups stop there for a day or two of acclimatization. An excellent acclimatization hike is to the famous Manang monastery, about another hour and a half straight up the mountain above Manang. There, lives the magical, 95-year-old Monk and his daughter (who is 65) in a cave monastery. The highlight of the chest-pounding, barely-able-to-breathe hike up is to be blessed by the monk. Upon entering the cave, you wait in line and when it is your turn, you receive a personal blessing from the Monk. He places a string necklace around your neck (or else for $7 you can upgrade to a beaded necklace), says some Buddhist prayers and well wishes (which of course you don’t understand) and then you leave to see the most magnificent, spiritual view of the entire trek to date: The incredible, mighty Himalayas in all their glory.
It was truly an amazing experience and I did not take those beads off until I landed safely at home in the States a week or so later. Months later, I am still mesmerized by my visit to Nepal, one of the loveliest, mystical places on earth.
Written by thirdeyemom (for more stories of my trip to Nepal, please see my blog posts at www.thirdeyemom.com)