September 28, 2008:
Namgyal and Audience with the King of Mustang
Got up at 7:30 am and had breakfast at the coffeeshop. Yam and I then picked up Suzi and leisurely
strolled towards Namgyal. Towering over Namgyal is the Thupten Dhargyeling Monastery. It is about 200
years old and like (I think) all of Mustang's monasteries belongs to the Sakya order of Buddhism.
When we arrived, the frontyard of the monastery was full of people. It was the last school day of the
adjacent monastic school and the students and their parents were celebrating.
We were approached by a nice monk who led us into the monastery and gave us a tour. First we went
through the inner courtyard into the Assembly Hall. There was a statue of Sakyamuni and it had lots of
beautiful wall paintings. Thereafter, the monk took us into a little side chapel. Entrance was only for men,
so Suzi was not allowed in. Inside this chapel were several buddha statues beautifully carved out of a
piece of black rock. Many masks adorned the walls and another monk was sitting in the corner saying his
mantras and pounding a drum. Very cool!
After leaving this chapel, we went into a
third room which housed many more
statues, mainly deities of the Sakya
order. We finished our visit with a cup of
coffee in the office of the monastic
school. Outside of the Monastery there
were breathtaking views of the
surrounding mountains and the valley
north towards the Tibetan border.
We walked down to the village of Namgyal. Here, Suzi left us and took the direct route back to Lo
Manthang whereas Yam and I continued along the northern side of the valley while enjoying the
magnificent views around us. We were back in Lo Manthang shortly before noon.
We got some hot water at Drolma's and ate some of the packaged rice menus I brought. While walking
through the streets of Lo Manthang, my Lama friends saw me and told me that their puja would start at
1:30 pm. So after lunch and a quick internet check where I ran into Suzi, we both went to the puja at the
Monastery. Tenzin saw us and showed us his room which he shares with another lama. It looked like the
typical dorm room type. Then we went into the Assembly Hall and the puja started. It lasted almost one
and a half hours. It was amazing to listen and watch the monks doing the mantras, blowing the horns and
shells, pounding the drums, etc.
Went back to the lodge to look for Yam. At 4 pm there was the King's daily Audience. The Owner of the
Lodge I ways staying in told me about it in the morning. But I needed my Mustang permit to get my ticket.
Tenzin also came to my lodge and together we looked for Yam whom we finally found. Then we went to
the King's Palace.
A group of Germans (again) also were there for the audience. I was the last one to get in. I took the kata I
brought, offered it to the King and he put it around my neck. Then I sat next to him. On the other side of
the room were all the Germans. We got some tea and everybody was just sitting there quietly. After a few
minutes, the audience was over and the German group left. I got to stay a few minutes longer and through
Tenzin got a picture with just me and the King. Of course Yam needed to get into the picture as well. After
the audience, Yam, Tenzin and I went to the coffeeshop to have a beer (me) and tea (they).
After the audience I walked back my lodge. While charging my video camera and my i-pod I talked to the
Lodge Owner for a while. He told me about the plans he had for his lodge which he apparantly just bought
a couple of months ago. He wanted to add a dining room and offer food to his guests. Dinner we had this
time at Drolma's. I had tomato soup and veggie chow mein. The place was packed with people, mostly
there to drink chang. We left around 9 pm and I went to bed. Slept good until that mouse/rat or whatever it
was woke me up again around 4 am walking all over the ceiling of my room.
King's Palace
The King and I