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Life, love and language

Visiting Palung district in Nepal

Although our trip to Nepal was planned around the Annapurna Circuit we arrived a few days earlier having accepted an invitation from a Nepalese friend in Cape Town to visit her at her village, Okur, in the district of Palung,  This turned out to be a lovely introduction to the Nepalese way of life.

The driver picked us up after breakfast at the hotel in Kathmandu and we were treated to a beautiful scenic drive through the mountains to Okur where we found Moona and many members of her family waiting for us on the side of the road.

Arriving in Okur, Palung

We were warmly greeted with hugs and flower leis and then quickly unpacked the vehicle and followed her through the terraced fields and over a suspension bridge to her house.

On the way to Moona's house

Our warm welcome continued as we each had a bindi applied to our foreheads and flowers put in our hair and were then treated to a meal of rice, dahl and potatoes outdoors under a large shady tree.

Bindi's on our foreheads

After the meal we took a walk through the village, following the road uphill to a second village where we stopped at a tea shop for chai.  Sarah, who turned out to be a magnet for both animals and children, was soon surrounded by the latter who were fascinated by her camera.

The village street

The five of us shared a long room with three double beds upstairs in Moona’s house.  I slept fitfully and rose early to join Judy for a short walk through the forest.

Since it was too cloudy to see any mountains we initially decided against the planned drive to the lookout point for Everest at Daman.  However, after walking from the house to the village for tea, egg and chickpeas, our driver, Ram, appeared and it seemed we were going to do the trip after all.

In a packed vehicle – 10 passengers, South African taxi style – we headed up into the mountains on a switchback road which took us past valleys of cultivated terraces and into the indigenous forest.  Our first stop was at a small temple, Shree Rikheshwar, about 2 km south of Daman.  To get to the temple we set off on a 1 km walk along an ancient pathway and up and down a myriad steps laid with stone.

Pathway to Shree Rikheshwar

Turning a corner on the trail and coming upon the temple with its thousands of prayer flags was a stirring experience.

Prayer flags at the temple

From there we drove to a tea house where we stopped briefly for tea and coke

The cooking area in the tea house

... and the scullery

and then the rest of the group set off, walking down the hill to the Everest Panorama Resort, while I elected to drive down to the gates where I joined the others and walked up to the resort. There we used the facilities – ‘real’ western-type toilets at the restaurant – before climbing back into our vehicle and making our way to the Everest lookout tower, where, despite our best efforts, we were unable to spot the mountain in the mist.

Entrance to the resort

What we did see, however, were approaching storm clouds, green with hail!

Our next stop was a traditional restaurant where we were served a mouth-watering meal and watched the hail materialize, pounding the roof and road with small stones.  The hail had stopped by the time we left the restaurant and we drove back to Palung in intermittent rain.  Once back in the little village of Okur we elected to stop off at the tea house for a while as we waited for the rain to stop and then walked the 20 minutes back to Moona’s house.

By this time it was getting quite cold so it was lovely just to settle in and rest, looking at photo’s, reading etc.  A light meal with the family followed and then early (very early) to bed.  I went to sleep quickly and woke up around 4am, having slept for a full 8 hours!

The next morning we had a wonderful send off by the whole family.  We first had  a full photo session including all the family and the dogs

Family photo session

and then, as we walked away from the house after many ‘namaste’s’ and hugs we found a whole contingent waiting for us at the start of the pathway where two pots of flowers had been set up and we were blessed with leis of yellow and red flowers and a red bindi on our foreheads.

Saying goodbye

The rain which had fallen all night had all but stopped as we made our way along the now familiar paths through the fields and across the suspension bridge to Okur, accompanied by Moona and some of the family members  Here we made our last visit to a tea house in Palung  to breakfast on boiled eggs, potatoes, chickpeas and tea before, after another round of photo’s and hugs, we piled into the vehicle in which Ram was to drive us back to Kathmando and the start of our Annapurna adventure.

Road out of the village

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June 24, 2011 - Posted by | Travels | , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Thank you Dawn for this fabulous memento of our trip! Really wonderful!

    Comment by Melanie Black | July 5, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hiya Dawn,

    What a marvelous read – it brought it all back so clearly. Thanks Dawn, hope you are well xxx Sarah

    Comment by Sarah Slabber | July 8, 2011 | Reply

  3. I like daman palung and kulikhani …………….

    Comment by like daman palung | April 1, 2012 | Reply

  4. like daman palung

    Comment by like daman palung | April 1, 2012 | Reply

  5. My relatives Photo.Unikashrestha@gmail.com

    Comment by Subarna Kumar Shrestha | September 3, 2012 | Reply


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