Two passes which were quite bike able led us into the town of Sarang. The terrain is more green due to irrigation practices bringing water down from the mountains from the north. Also a lot of cattle living in small corrals in people’s backyards. Rock corrals on the outskirts house great looking horses. The smell of manure pervades the air and dust in town. Difficult.
After getting organized with tent placement and some basic cleaning, Bridget, Paul and I hiked up to the Gompa. We heard the drumming of a llama. The main doorway was closed so I crept up a stairway to the right. Reaching a meditation room, I was greeted by a monk’s hearty welcome. He had just finished 4 hours of drumming. We soon discovered that he was the Head Llama and had 105 monks in training living here. The Buddha statue behind curtains in this room had much power and was not to be seen by anyone except for a monk spending six months in solo meditation in this room.
The Llama introduced himself as Kunga and proceeded to give us a private tour of the inner chamber of the Gompa. Along with the Buddha statues and various ornate pieces, Kunga showed us the collection of 154 books all written in gold. One book weighed 47 kilos. Gold is heavy. The inner chambers painted walls had been restored by the American Himalayan Society. There was also a high chair (like a padded throne) which the High Llama used to sit on. It had been carried out of Tibet in 1959 during the Chinese invasion. There is also a former King’s Palace here in ruins. The original architect had had his hand cut off so he couldn’t build another similar building.
I invited Kunga to join us for dinner and he graciously accepted. He also exchanged emails with me. We all enjoyed his presence and had a great time listening to his stories. I felt very lucky.
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