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The Journal of Mirandita

Nepal

NEPAL | Monday, 1 April 2013 | Views [393]

It’s 8.30am and the train is pulling out of Ramnagar station in the state of Uttarakhand, north India. It’s our most luxurious travelling class to date – AC 2 chair car (or something like that) – and we have lovely big seats and a plug for the laptop. A chance to write about our adventures in Nepal before the new ones swamp them. 

My experience of Kathmandu was shaped by sound, learning more about its healing powers and reconnecting with my voice. On our first day we met a trio of Latinas who introduced us to Chaitanyashree, a singing bowl healer. He shared his knowledge, love and experience of sound healing with us, giving us sessions and teaching us how to play the bowls for healing purposes. He also opened his home to us where a number of people live in community, organising sound meditations and other similar events, a stone’s throw away from the hectic touristic quarter of Thamel. At one of these gatherings I had the opportunity to share my voice – what joy to let loose the gift and magic of song once more, yay!

Thamel itself is like groundhog day, eternal daily motions of touts peddling tiger balm and marijuana, and interminable shops selling yak wool blankets, pashminas, fake north face gear and Tibetan prayer flags. We had been warned to get out as soon as possible, yet it swallowed us up for a good ten days. Redeeming factors were finding delicious organic avocados and sourdough rye bread in the farmers market in 1905 restaurant, a peaceful and clean hotel where we could rest somewhat after two months in India, and of course, the singing bowls.

Nature’s call was clamorous after the pollution and enclosure of Thamel, so we caught a bus to Banepa, two hours east of Kathmandu, to stay on an organic farm. We spent some wonderful days with Shree Krishna and his family, hearing the story of his life, eating fresh, simple food, drinking lemongrass tea from the farm and telling nightly stories to his nine year old daughter, Priya. It has been a LONG time since I’ve told a proper story, but it was so fun to jump into the flow of imagination and get just as excited as Priya about Augustus Gloop falling in the chocolate river and Alice down the rabbit hole. I thought of my brother-in-law Ben, who tells stories for a living to hundreds of children each week, and can appreciate on some small scale what he feels like! Rather mad, but overjoyed.

The journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara could almost have been the journey from Bogotá to Ibagué: sinuous, single carriage roads, a river running alongside and beautiful mountain scenery. More than once I was struck by an energy in Nepal, similar to that of Colombia, not only because of the magnificent mountains, but also the national pride and the serene and dignified people. Maybe too, it is my own energy creating the sense of similarity; the same feeling of expansion when in the mountains, of freedom and possibility. We reunited in Pokhara with Carolina, a Chilean friend we’d met in the capital, and enjoyed tranquil walks, spectacular views of the Himalayas and relaxing days.  

We journeyed from Pokhara to Tansen, and from Tansen to the Indian border, along the breath-taking and heart-in-mouth Siddhartha Road. At times I felt awestruck by the dramatic mountain scenery dropping away from our tiny winding road, at others I felt sick with fear at the sheer edges and juddering bus, anticipating an Italian Job-style finish at any moment. Fernando asked me, “What do you prefer: this or flying?!” I really couldn’t say, but the fear definitely provided the same challenging meditation context!

Yes, Nepal is beautiful, its potency heightened by snuggling the length of the Himalayas. It feels like we just got a hint of the life simmering underneath the surface, beyond the tourism of trekkers, white water rafters and paragliders. The feeling I have is one of potential.  

Tags: banepa, kathmandu, organic farm, pokhara, singing bowls, tansen

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