Note from thirdeyemom: A lot of blogs I read participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge and I’ve always found it cool. Thus this week I decided to give it a whirl and its got me searching my photos archives. Here goes nothing….hope you enjoy.
Photo taken in Manang Nepal in November 2010.
I thought about this week’s photo challenge and decided to look back at one of those moments in time while I was traveling. Traveling and exploring the world is how I prefer to indulge in life (I also love food, don’t get me wrong). This particular moment was during my trip along the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. My father and I went at the end of November and were both blown away by the beauty and culture of the Nepal. It certainly is a sacred, magical place and the journey changed my life forever.
Probably one of the coolest cultural experiences of the entire trip was our visit to the Manang monastery. Due to Manang’s high altitude (11,483 feet), most trekking groups stop there for a day or two of acclimatization. An excellent acclimatization hike is to the famous Manang monastery, about another hour and a half straight up the mountain above Manang.
There, lives the magical, 95-year-old Monk and his daughter (who is 65) in a cave monastery. The highlight of the chest-pounding, barely-able-to-breathe hike up is to be blessed by the monk.
Upon entering the cave, you wait in line and when it is your turn, you receive a personal blessing from the Monk. He places a string necklace around your neck (or else for $7 you can upgrade to a beaded necklace), says some Buddhist prayers and well wishes (which of course you don’t understand) and then you leave to see the most magnificent, spiritual view of the entire trek to date: The incredible, mighty Himalayas in all their glory.
It is truly an amazing experience and although I would not call myself a religious person, I did not take those beads off until I landed safely at home in the States a week or so later. I still have those prayer beads up in my bedroom wrapped around a picture of my children.
For some reason, this moment has stuck with me all these months later and the memory of this “spiritual indulgence” will remain forever in my soul. Travel is a treasure.