Sakya, Shegar and first sighting of Mt Everest
Xegar Travel Blog› entry 11 of 24 › view all entries
October 2nd, 2007 – by: portia
The 4WD's climbed higher and an hour later we reached our first high pass (Yulung La at 4950m) today. There were lots of prayer flags on top of this pass, and many piles of stone cairns. There were many vendors also selling prayer flags, papers and small souvenirs. Joel bought some papers, and with Jan and Kevin, proceeded to throw the paper into the winds. Kevin thought it was like littering, but we convinced him these papers disintegrate easily enough, and Tibetans have been doing it forever! Kristin also got some prayer flags and the kid who sold them to her helped her climb the microwave or cell phone towers to tie them high! Before returning to the car, I took a polaroid photo of the prayer flags over the pass, and the kid came to ask me to photograph him, and so I did more polaroid photos of regular Tibetans.
We took a detour to visit Sakya monastery. Sakya was the base of the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan buddhism which rose to power in the 13th century, although the monastery was originally established in the 11th century. The abbot of the Sakya Monastery was chosen by the Mongols to be the ruler of Tibet, and the Sakya sect still has some influence today. The Sakyapa allowed the monks to marry, and the power of the leader is transfered from father to son. There was a great hidden library at Sakya, however, the access to it was not possible, the Great Chanting Hall which leads to it was under renovation and nobody was allowed inside.
We had lunch at a restaurant/hotel in Sakya and then headed back toward Xegar. This was when we drove over the 2nd high mountain pass today, the Gyatso La at 5248m. There was a big sign saying we were at the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve, the area which included Mt Everest! As we decended the pass (a bit less than 1 hour later), we were rewarded with our first view of Mt Everest! Yeah! It was still more than 80 miles away, but looked impressive nonethe less. Tomorrow we would get up early and hope to catch sunrise at another pass (Pang La at 5200m) with view of the Himalayans. We were told to dress warmly for that.
We arrived at the small town of Xegar. Kevin reported there was not much around after a little walk around the hotel. At least they had electricity and hot water and more than enough food.
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