Tibet 2014 - Kailash: Over the Drolma La to Pass Camp

Driraphuk 17 September.

Piles of discarded clothing and jewellery - passing around Kailash represents spiritual death and rebirth and it is customary to leave something of yourself behind, maybe clothes, shoes, jewellery, hair. An old woman hanging onto her husband's belt. Offerings of food and smouldering incense piled together in small heaps by the path. The quiet drone of the mantra om mani padme hum. Stopping for a rest, catching our breath, everyone except the young men who, like our driver, raced past hoping to complete the circuit in one day. Hairs on the back of our necks as we saw the final pull to the Drolma La, the highest point. The path ahead just a narrow line through thousands upon thousands of prayer flags that covered the hillsides. The path becoming a narrow tunnel through the flags as we approach the final climb to the pass. The feeling of elation and wonder. Tears. Tears of joy? Tears of rage? Tears at the beauty of the shared experience? Just tears.

Resting and sheltering from the wind on the far side of the path. Tibetans sitting down having a picnic.

Throwing my parents ashes into the wind, carrying them away.

A different feeling after the Drolma La. A falling away of anxiety? We made it. We pass Tibetans prostrating down the rocky path. Broken uneven surface, their bodies must be aching and their mouths full of dust. People stop at a tent camp, we pass on but not for too long, we can see our tents on the hillside by a stream. It will be a cold night here but I’m relieved not to be walking another two hours to the next camp at Zutulphuk.



To best view the photos: Play Slideshow. You can let the slideshow play on auto or operate manually with your keyboard arrows.

Double click to best view an individual slide, to enlarge an individual slide to full screen, select Download.