Day 3: Menchukha
The day was reserved for exploring the beautiful town and its nearby places. The lady who owns the Gayboo Traditional Lodge was kind enough to ask her nephew to accompany us. As it later turned out, the trip wouldnt have been half as fun without Mr. Pema Khandu, the nephew. We started at around 7 in the morning.
Firstly the cottage where we stayed:
A mention must be made of the peculiar nature of the soil in Menchuka. Its like walking on a plush carpet. The ground just cave in if we press too hard and again bounces back.
View from the Cottage:
The first visit was to the Gurudwara. It is not technically a Gurudwara but it is said that Guru Nanak meditated here. There are also some interesting places to visit here. Some pics from the place:
There is a wooden staircase which leads to a "Prachin goofa".
Coming down this stairs lead to the stone river bank. Here, in a puddle are kept a few white and black stones. It is said that whoever has a clean heart will pick a white stone and vice-versa for one who picks a black stone. We all picked black stones
Us busy picking up stones.
Then it was time to see a nearby waterfall. The path to this place is a little bit of an adventure with slippery stones and dense forests. But its worth it.
Next up was seeing the Hanuman Mandir. There is an engraving/ opening on the mountain face which resembles Lord Hanuman.
Then it was time to see the 400 year old monastery. Some pictures enroute:
This is where the fun began to start. There is the usual way to reaching the monastery which is to drive all the way up. However, Pema suggested we take the alternate route, which is to climb straight up. The end result: lots of fun and exhaustion
A beautiful hanging bridge:
The climb to the monastery begins:
Exhausted but happy!
Pema and Safique just marched ahead of us while we were left deciding how to even make it through. The rocks and mud were just slipping off. At one point, we were stuck in such a place that we couldnt go forward anymore. One downside look ensured that we couldnt go back either. Fortunately, we were able to cross this too without hurting ourselves. Also a reminder for me not to skip any more gym sessions .
A fruit we found on the way.
After nearly an hour and half of trekking, we finally reached the monastery. And all the sweat and trouble was worth it. You have to be there to see the beauty and calmness all around. The prayer flags fluttering in the mountain wind making beautiful sounds and the beautiful mountains in the background. Heaven!
Monks busy with Volleyball:
We were warmly welcomed at the monastery with a local drink called "chaanss" made from millet.
Every year, a person is selected from the village who has to look after the functions at the monastery. The lady here is the wife of the person selected for the year. The hospitality here has to be experienced to be believed. One glass of the drink was not enough as per her. In the end, I had close to six glasses of it and all my tiredness went away.