Menchuka, September 28, 2013
I woke up rather early. A 530 am start. I stepped out of the room to find the whole sky covered in mist. A passing cloud had enveloped the whole town. The sky started clearing at about 730 am and then I started out to see the place armed with my new friend and guide for the day – Dawa.
As we drove around the surrounding areas of Menchuka, I attacked him with question after question, almost all of which he answered with enough confidence to make me believe him. I double up as a tour guide myself in Bangalore and I’ve had quite a few questions asked that I don’t know the answers to. Hence the interest in my guide’s confidence levels. We drove past quite a few mountains, streams, temples and one monastery. The Yar Gyap Chu river that flows along side Menchuka is quite spectacular. Especially when the mountains reflect on the clear blue water. The water turns green at some spots. Not sure why, but I suspect it might have something to do with the depth at that point and maybe the presence of moss or algae.
I made Dawa stop every now and then to take some photographs. He didn’t seem too bothered with the frequent stops and appeared to have no interest in the photos I was taking. I guess that happens once you’ve taken many trips as the guide. I should know.
We had a short trek up a hill that has a monastery on top of it. We first had to cross a bridge over the river. That was quite an experience. A small suspension walkway bridge that bounced up and down with every step – a likely reason might have been the 90 kilos that went down with each step. I watched Dawa. He didn’t seem to cause the same effect. Apart from the fact that he must have been only 50 kilos, his steps were much shorter and closer to each other. He also walked with each step right in front of the last – quite unlike the normal way of walking. After copying his gait, I considerably reduced the bounce. So now I know how to walk across a suspension bridge with a fast river flowing beneath.
The monastery was a lot smaller than the ones I have seen before in Dharamsala, Bir, Tawang, Bhutan and Bylakuppe. The chants by the monks were something to remember. Luckily I did manage to record some of their chants. I did like the fact that the whole monastery is made of wood. It gives it a nice charm. I quite enjoyed this monastery. The 30 minute trek up was worth it. The view from up there of Menchuka and the river alongside it as well as the run way in the middle of the town was quite spectacular.
The only photograph I had left to take was of the river with the mountains in the background and the clear blue sky. Unfortunately by the time we reached the spot I had picked earlier, the skies had clouded up again and the mountains were barely visible. There wasn’t enough light for photograph.
Back at the lodge meant a quick drink, a light dinner and bed time. All this after a bath in freezing cold water. An altogether unpleasant experience but a necessity after sweating it out the whole day.