I say this at every opportunity, “Not for nothing people associate the Himalayas with renunciation of the material world.” If you spend enough time in the mighty mountains, renunciation becomes a natural process. When you are up there, in the lyrics of Metallica, “nothing else matters!”
The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal was one of the most difficult yet most beautiful trekking trails I have hiked. Being an offbeat traveller, I had to take up this challenging trek. Needless to say, it was beautiful because of the out-of-the-world Himalayan landscapes that included, green valleys, glistening glaciers, flowing rivers and the inner peace it comes with. It was certainly difficult because of the steep climb across the Thorung La Pass stuck in the snow under horrid weather conditions.
Exactly a year later, I heard the news about the severe cyclonic storm “Hudhud”, the second strongest tropical cyclone after Nargis 2008, struck Andhra Pradesh, my hometown and even Nepal. My heart sank when I heard trekkers were marooned in the Annapurna Circuit, and some of them were killed by an avalanche at the Thorung La Pass.
However, I only have fond memories of this place. I quickly flipped through my photo gallery and it pained me to realize that such a beautiful place had suffered and is now inaccessible to the trekkers and the locals alike.
Most people I met in Nepal depend on tourism for their livelihood, which include people working as Nepalese sherpas (porters), guides, tour agents, people running tea-cafes, Tibetan hawkers and Nepalese sherpas selling knickknacks, etc. I have heard individual stories of such porters and shopkeepers personally and feel it is important for this place to revive as soon as possible.
Here’s hoping that both Andhra Pradesh and the Annapura Circuit recover and get back in business quickly.
Map courtesy: Mountain Sherpa Trekking & Expedition