September 23, 2008:
The Caves of Chhoser
Slept good and got up around 7 am. Went to the coffeeshop for breakfast. It took forever this morning for
the 2 girls to prepare an omelet. Yam and I finally left Lo Manthang towards the north. We were going to
the caves in Chhoser, around the village of Garphu. Behind Lo Manthang, we had to go down to the river,
cross it and then back up on the other side. From over here, we had a good view of Lo Manthang.
We continued on the road towards the northeast. To the right of us were many fields with lots of people
working on them and harvesting. Soon, we got taken over by the Amchi and tourists on horses. The
Amchi was guiding tourists who were staying with him to the caves of Chhoser. Also, another German
group was going the same way as we were, but they were far away from us. We continued along the
valley and behind us, the clouds opened up and there were great views of Nilgiri and Tilicho Peak.
After a while, we cam upon a big mani wall on the side of the road.
Not as big as the one in Ghami, but long nevertheless. After about
2 hours since we had left Lo Manthang, we came to Garphu. We
could see caves everywhere on the other side of the valley. We
crossed the river and went towards Nifuk Cave Monastery which
we could see from far away. It is located halfway up a rockwall.
Yam and I went inside. The monastery had a nice little prayer
room and from the outside there were great views of the
valley. After talking with the monks for a while, we went back
down, crossed another river and went to the Jhong Cave. The
Jhong Cave is a cave complex 5 stories high and has more
than 40 rooms. It is about 2,500 years old and have been
inhabitated on and off. To get there, we had to climb up steep
stairs. Of course, the Germans were there as well, but they
just left when we got there.
Through several ladders inside the
caves we got to the different
stories. Through windows, there
were great views. I can imagine
that this must have been a pretty
safe place in the old days. After
visiting the caves, Yam and I went
down into the riverbed and ate our
packed lunch. One of the eggs I
had was spoiled, but I saw it while
peeling it and threw it away.
Yam and I slowly mad our way back. This time,
we stayed on the east side of the valley. This
meant staying close to the rockwalls and there
were many more caves to be seen. From here,
we had great views towards the west where the
Mustang Himal provided a stunning backdrop
to colors of the valley.
Further south was the range of the Chunggen Changma Himal which provides the backdrop for Lo
Manthang. We walked through several villages and fields. At one time, an elderly woman stopped us and
asked us whether we had medicine for her knee. Sorry, but I could not help her. According to Suzi, many
of the old people here have arthritis problems. We continued on the eastern side of the valley and finally
crossed the river using a hanging bridge at Nenyul.
We got back to Lo Manthang around 3 pm. I was hungry. I had brought several ready made meals with us
which only needed to be thrown into boiling water. So we asked the Didi of our lodge whether she could
boil us some water which she did. She also gave us a couple of pots, so Yam and I ate some of the noodle
dishes I brought. Took a shower and rested for a couple of hours. At 6:30 pm we went for dinner. This
time not to the coffeeshop but to Drolma's where we were the first night at Lo Manthang. Dinner there
took forever. I had tomato soup and noodle chow mein. It was ok, not too great. Back to the lodge around
8:30 pm and went to bed and slept real good again.