You know when you're heading well off the beaten trail - when a voice comes over the radio and asks ' I've never flown to this village before - I'm guessing one of you knows where the helipad is?' What a fabulous experience it was though - flying east across the Himalayas from Kathmandu towards Kanchenjunga - even if our reassuringly calm and collected pilot forgot to point out Mt Everest along the way! #heliadventures
The morning at Tsaka Village welcomed us with snow. We enjoyed it over breakfast and tea, and waited for it to halt so that we could leave. But, instead, it intensified. We had no option, but to leave as I had a flight next morning.
After riding through the snowfall we descended to lower altitudes and the snowfall changed into rain. Riding became even tougher, especially with completely wet clothes, and ice cold winds piercing through the body. It wasn't easy to continue. I saw my co-rider's uneasiness. The harsh weather was taking a toll on her too.
As we made it to Chumathang, I requested a group of Vietnamese tourists to drop her to Leh in their tempo traveller. They agreed and I took a sigh of relief. There would have been 1 lesser person to fall ill.
The next 150 kilometers were probably the longest I have ever ridden. The rain had become harsher. The slush on the roads made it even harder. The body had become numb. Even the basics, like accelerating and applying brakes was a mountainous task. Curving along the road seemed tough. A couple of times I almost rode into the ditch. I screamed along to tell myself to not give up. Sometimes I wondered if I would freeze. Or make it alive. And a lot of other thoughts crossed my mind.
Somehow, I reached Leh and landed at a hotel from where I had already checked out a couple of days back. They looked at me. There were no words exchanged. They opened a room and within minutes hot water, extra blankets and room heaters were arranged. .
Ironically, after freezing for over 8 hours, I was burning. I had some friends, and some people I knew present in Leh, but didn't know whom to reach out to. Probably for the first time I needed some company badly, but there was none.
In some time, the owner and the staff members came to my room to check on me. Looking at my condition, they stayed there for much longer. Can't thank them enough for this. All the harshness of the day paled in front of their kindness.
And as I gulped down a few drinks, I knew, I would be able to catch my flight the next day.
📍Kathmandu Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal (2018)
The buzz of activity in the Durbar Square of Kathmandu is indescribable. It is always full of people, and of the national flag of Nepal, the only flag in the world that isn’t a rectangle.
📍Swayambhunath, Kathmandu, Nepal (2018)
Illuminated in the monsoon rains of Kathmandu, the stupa of Swayambhunath glitters in the moonlight as it’s prayer flags sway in the wind. Looking up at it from the colossal dorje (golden thunderbolt), the piercing eyes of the Buddha which adorn the golden walls at the top are hidden, making the experience even more mysterious and incredible.