Every traveler knows that feeling. That hmmm feeling when we finally get to a place.
We dream. We research. We plan. We pack. We set out. We slip. We scratch our heads. We smile. We pause. And we pull up. But sometimes when we get there, that’s about it. There are no pots of luck, bags of gold or a story that somebody before you hasn’t discovered.
And a lot of people perhaps for that very reason, don’t understand the concept of a backpack on the shoulder, being on the road and going to a place that one could easily Google or see on TV.
I was talking to a guy sitting next to me on a flight from LA to Miami once. I commented how lucky he was to live in Florida and he could go to all the places in South America so easily to which he replied naaaa…why bother when you can see it on TV.
There have been times when that guy’s words have rung in my head over the years. I get to a place and it’s overcast or there are aggressive crowds of people or it just generally doesn’t look as good as in them magazines. The photos in travel magazines are taken waiting for the ‘right’ moment over a period of days, weeks even and then wished and washed in Adobe.
For example the time, I crossed the 3rd highest motorable pass in the world to get to Pangong Tso for a glimpse. The sun wasn’t out! It hardly justified the 5-hour ride to the place. And this precisely is the hmmm moment.
So why do it and I guess this has to do with superlatives. The THEs’. The longest flight. The tallest building. The toughest trek. The oldest civilization. The smallest island. There is only one of it and that itself is enough to pull travelers to it.
And so the highest mountain in the world beckoned me.
Mount Everest or Sagarmatha in Nepali is the highest peak in the Himalayan range. Apparently Lord Shiva lives somewhere around but I really wasn’t prepared to trek up any mountains to say hi. (neither physically nor emotionally nor financially!) but that’s the beauty of Nepal. You don’t really need to trek up to see it. There are many place to view the Himalayan range and get a glimpse of the Everest on a clear day.
3 hours out of Kathmandu, at 2200mts is Mt. Langtang Lirung where you can see the Everest if you’re lucky.
I splurged and booked a hotel with a room overlooking the mountains. They guaranteed the sunrise from their property was the best in whole of Nagarkot. They were not wrong. Not only were the skies clear on that morning but also it apparently was of one the best days in a while up there according to the locals! The peak of Mt. Everest was just visible between the closer peaks but big enough to tick off my list! 🙂
And just like that, it makes up. This easily outweighs all the hmmm moments I can think of. No matter how many photos I’ve seen or the number of times I’ve seen it on TV, nothing compares to actually watching the sun rise over the East Himalayan Range.
No amount of preparation and planning can ever ready you for the first time you lay your eyes on the gigantic mountains. The magazines don’t do it justice.
Flight out of Kathmandu gave me goosebumps flying next to the mountains – thanks to the Air India check-in staff for a mountain-side seat!
If only I could just reach out and touch Lord Shiva’s feet. After all I do have to thank him. Again and again. For this wonderful, whisking-ly wandering life.
In gratitude. x
A glimpse at Mt. Everest – 28/02/2015