Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rolwaling Valley of Dolakha

Gauri Shankar has deep religious significance for both Hindus and Buddhist. Jumbled rock escarpments sweep upwards into knife-edged and corniced ice ridges which finally merge at Gauri , the south summit. So prominent is Gauri Shankar from the Ganges Plain that legends long claimed it to be the highest mountain in the world. The Rolwaling Sherpas call it Jomo Tseringma and throughout Buddhist Lamaism, to as far away as Sikkim, Tseringma is considered the most holy mountain of the Sherpas. Two variations are possible: The first is a four day hike from Jiri (1,860 m) over the Chordung Ridge (3,698 m), Suri (1,890 m) and Gonger (1,040 m): the other is a six day hike starting from Barabisi (819 m) via Tinsang La (3,319 m), Bigu Gompa (2,5l9 m), Chilangka and Gonger.You finally set foot into the Rolwaling through the villge of Simigaon (2,000 m) located high above the Bhote Kosi. Above the Shapka Meadow (2.600 m) the path divides. Here the right branch is recommended, for while it is certainly more arduous it is also decidedly the more rewarding. After a four-hour ascent you reach the Daldung La (3,976 m) which has a fantastic view of the 7,134 meter high Gaurishankar opposite. According to old Sherpa mythology, this is the seat of the goddess "Tashi Tserringma," who is the guarantor of a long life. Gaurishankar is also holy for the Hindus: Shankar, the name of the northem peak, is a designation for Shiva in their everyday spoken language The southern summit, Gauri (literally: "the white") is a synonym for the feminine manifestation of the god. From Daldung La you climb down for four or five hours on a really adventurous path through the densest rain forest to the Rolwaling River, which you then cross. There you meet up again with the other path, which certainly also has a beautiful landscape, but doesn't snake down to Simigaon quite as spectacularly.
After about 2 1/2 hours' walking time up-river you reach the Sherpa village of Beding (3.693 m) - the only noteworthy settlement in Rolwaling. If it should happen that the monk belonging to the Gompa is in the village at the moment, you can ask him to show you round it himself, 150 meters higher a rocky hermitage is visible, where Padmasambhava is supposed to have meditated some 1.200 years ago. The last human lodgings of the valley you can find in Na, which is located about three hours' distance from Beding. From here you have an overwhelming view of the mountain-giants Chekigo (6,735 m), Bamongo (6,400 m), Kang Nachugo (6,735 m), and above all, Tsoboje (6,689 m). Over the Yalung La (5,310 m) you reach the Kare Kola Valley and the Bhote Kosi in 21/2 days. Over the Trashi Labtsa (5,755 m) you come into the Khumbu in four days. This is a difficult and fatiguing tour, which requires ice-climbing equipment.

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