The golden mountain at sunrise from Thasang Lower Mustang. I was far too lazy to get up when dawn was breaking but saw this spectacular scene just a little later before we headed north to Kagbeni and the restricted zone.
We went sightseeing, in the afternoon and found the Keni or Ghost Eater statue that guards the Kagbeni North Gate. A fearsome figure, he is endowed with an extraordinary large set of male genitals. A female Ghost Eater with large orange-nippled breasts guards the South Gate. It is debatable whether these effigies are remnants of the pre-Buddhist religion, Bon-Po or are of the animistic traditions. They are strategically placed, to eat all the ghosts who might dare to enter the town. Zombies also have a difficult time because the doors are deliberately made small and they can’t pass through them because they are unable to bend. Every time they attempt to enter, they crack their heads on the door frames.
Lo Gekar monastery was the highlight of my journey, a blessing was said for my welfare by the resident monk and I felt tears come to my eyes as I realised that I had finally reached this place.
The humanist symbols are from the time that animism, the worship of spirits in the trees and mountains was practiced in Mustang. The religion is pre-Bonpo and pre-Buddhism.
Thrilled to be at Lo Gekar monastery, I tied my white katak at the base of the prayer flag in the courtyard hoping it would bring me good luck.
Raj our guide is joining my prayer flags from Ladakh to the others at Lo Gekar. I brought them with me as a ‘Thank you’ to the benefit I have received from the blessing at Lo Gekar.
They will also bring benefit to my adopted family in Leh who gave them to me.
Today, we headed to the Tibetan border. This was totally against all the rules but I did so want to see Tibet that we decided to bend them just a little bit. I was once told by an Indian guide, in the Himachal Pradesh, that rules on paper only become rules when you get caught. The Kora La is the gateway, between Tibet and Western Nepal. Sven Hedin, the explorer, crossed this border into Mustang in 1905; he travelled as far as the village of Garphu, a short way from the checkpoint. He did not stay long, because he was running short of money, having only enough for two more days. Secondly, he had no knowledge about whether the Nepalese were hostile or friendly. Finally, he turned round and went back to Tibet, because he was afraid if he stayed away for too long, he would be refused admittance back into the country.