Tibet 2014 - Lake Manosarovar, Seralung Monastery

Darchen 20 September.

We eat breakfast in the shell of an empty shop unit. A man comes in to stare and returns with his wife, they both stare. A short drive to the shores of Lake Manosarovar and along a dusty track to the beautiful Seralung Monastery down by the lakeshore. The old man and woman look like they’ve been there for eternity. He sits and passes grains of rice from one hand into his cup then throws them to the ground. One at a time. All day. She repeatedly performs a small kora round the prayer wheels and flags at the base of a small prayer flag lined hill. To the south is the range of mountains that includes Gurla Mandhata, Kailash is still visible to the north.

We could happily have stayed here a day but our permits mean we have to return down the track and the road to the east. A huge modern tourist centre has been built at the junction. The scale of it is gross but the vast reception halls are empty and the toilets don’t work. Mass Chinese tourism is on its way, the ancient beauty of West Tibet is set to change.


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