Lo Montang to Dhi

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Dhi After a few days in Lo Montang we have to move on, nonetheless it’s hard to leave. Protracted goodbyes then we have a pleasant day, in spite of early light rain, walking along ridges among pale coloured hills. A lone rider passes us, little do we know that we’ll be staying at his house tonight. There are spectacular views as we appraoch the Kali Gandaki gorge before we drop steeply down to the old village of Dhi. Across the valley we can see the village of Yara which we’ll go through tomorrow. As we descend an ever steepening narrow defile in the rocks we look up to see a vulture watching from it’s nest in an old cave above us. Our papers are checked at the police post by the entrance to the village, housed in what was once the old gompa, before we get friendly directions to the Hiri Guest House. And meet Tenzin, our host, the lone rider, who married into the Lo Montang Royal Family.

It’s a fine house with a cultured atmosphere. Tenzin shows us round the village, now, like many villages here, mostly deserted. In terraced fields by the river he grows peaches and plums which he takes on horseback to Lo Montang. Tenzin hopes a new road will come this way so the village can get the fruit to the larger markets to the south - and maybe people will return to the village. To us it seems that the village is in a precarious location under soft cliffs with huge boulders, one of which rolled down and through a house just a year ago. Our diet’s been short on fruit and we see they have apples here, we ask about the apples and we get stewed apples and curd for pudding. It turns out that it was Tenzin’s uncle who works in St Petersburg and donated the statue at the gompa in Lo Montang.

Tenzin lives here with his in-laws and great in-laws, four generations, we stay up talking late into the night. The Chinese don’t seem to be liked by anyone, Tenzin tells us that since the King of Lo’s authority was removed by the government, the Chinese started bringing cheap food over the border to try and win hearts and minds. They don’t seem to be winning and there are violent arguments at the border. Tibetan refugees have used the passes near Mustang to escape from Tibet for many years but since the Karmapa Lama escpaed this way, the Chinese have posted more border guards and are training 20,000 Nepalese police to patrol the passes.

Our rooms are on the flat dirt roof, it’s raining heavily and I expect our corrugated iron roof to leak. It doesn’t, we stay dry and sleep well but the dirt roof turns to mud by morning.


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