I am from a very flat country. And Nepal is practically the opposite of flat. Not to say I’ve never seen a mountain before, but this post will be about the magic of the Himalayas. I’m intrigued by the impressive snow peaked mountain ranges, but also just being surrounded by mountains is absolutely astonishing. Kathmandu lays in a valley and every single day I got to the top floor of our volunteer base, I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular view with the flocks of birds catching the last sun rays of the day. It wasn’t until the last days that the sky was actually clear enough to see the Himalayas, but even without them, I think I got a little crush on mountainous landscape.
The very first time I saw them (the Himalayan peaks) was on my first volunteering day. We were driving back from site and everyone nodded off a bit until the driver woke us up and urged us to look outside. Like a Fata Morgana they had appeared, seemingly originating from the nothingness. The image was frail and distant, about to vanish again.
The second time I saw them, was the most magical one. We had gone to Nagarkot as we had an extra day off due to Nepal’s new constitution being signed. Nagarkot is a village about 1-1.5h drive from Kathmandu which offers a panoramic view on the Himalayas. IF it’s a clear day. As we were approaching the end of monsoon season, most days were still a bit cloudy, so we knew we wouldn’t get a guaranteed view on the majestic mountain range. Either way it was very nice getting out of the chaotic and loud Kathmandu for 2 days. We found a guesthouse with probably the best view (which I totally recommend, it was a Japanese guesthouse called Unkai Resort) and the lovely owner said he would pray for us to have a good view during the sunrise, which was the most likely time to be able to see them. Whichever deity he prayed to, it worked! We woke up at 4:30am to see the first signs of the majestic peaks in the distance…
What made this specific experience the most magical, besides from being the proper first good view, is that it was just us there. And it was so quiet. The only sound came from the crickets and other creatures in the trees below and a monk in the distance doing his sunrise prayer with a small drum. Below in the valley, the Nepali, as the early risers they are, started their days.
With the rising of the sun, the light changed from dark blues to purples and pinks to the snow peaks catching the golden sunlight and green valleys shimmering in last night’s dew.
At some point we got some other spectators there. Afraid that would be a bus load full of Asian tourists, it only happened to be a small traveling company of 5 and a guide. Then, three of the men started singing… It was amazing and I have a video, but the internet won’t let me upload it.
Suddenly the clouds started to come in. In a matter of minutes all we could see was light grey. Valley gone, hills gone, mountains gone. The crowing of the birds of prey we saw circling through the air before could only be heard. An eerie and yet amazing atmosphere. And then, as quick as the clouds came in, they disappeared again revealing the valley and Himalayan back drop. This kept going for a while until the clouds settled down below in the valleys, creating a heavenly illusion. I was literally and figuratively speaking with my head in the clouds. I could have stayed there forever.