post

Cerulean Skies Over Nyalam

Kailash-Manasarovar Yatra continues: Day 5, Blue Skies Over Nyalam
photos of mountains around Nyalama Tibet by Arun Shanbhag

Once we reached Kailash, the plan was to walk around the mountain parikrama. We’d hike 40 km over three days, at elevations starting at 15,000 ft and reaching over 19,000 ft. While this might appear trivial at sea level, reality is vastly different at 15,000 ft. To test our selves, the organizers arranged a short hike on our free day in Nyalam. Even though we would start at 12,000 ft and hike only a 1000 ft, it was an important part of the self-assessment before continuing onto Kailash.

Even at 12,000 ft, I could feel the reduced oxygen levels in the air. Once I lightly ran up a flight of stairs and found myself kneeled over, gasping. After a few minutes I was back to normal and remembered our instructions to “walking slowly”. Even a short walk through town would leave me panting. Thus this hike was not going to be easy.

After a leisurely breakfast, we started on the trail a few 100 meters from our guest house. Within a few minutes of walking, the elderly folks were taking long breaks. A few had already given up and started walking back to their rooms. I brought up the rear and tried to motivate many to rest often, but keep walking. Yet many would not be able to complete this small, but exhausting hike. I too was winded on reaching the top. Certainly the marathon training gave me the physical endurance, but it did nothing for my oxygen requirements.

Once we got to the top, the views of the mountains were mind blowingly spectacular. The mountains here are covered with wild grass, yielding the green velvet look, and a few scrub bushes on the slopes. At 13,000 ft, we are above the tree-line and there are no trees here.

I was surprised at the deep azure sky. Many photographers have noticed this and there are several reasons for this appearance. 1. there is zero pollution here and we are getting an unveiled view of the sky. 2. at the higher elevations the atmospheric layer is thinner. 3. at higher elevations, the angle of the incident light from the sun is lower, yielding deeper blue skies and higher saturated colors. 4. I use a circular polarizer which reduces extraneously diffracted light from reaching the sensor; and 5. (I love this one), it is said that our minds are cleansed by the hardships of this spiritual journey, permitting us to “see” more purely.

Halfway up the left of the opening photograph, notice the ant-like stick figures; that’s the rest of our group. I had walked to the nearby hillock for a better view, giving us a better sense of the size of the mountains in the background. The boulders in the foreground appear to have been tossed like giant dice rolled by a celestial hand.

In the grand scheme of things, how insignificant we are. How fortunate to perceive this nature in this form. How blessed to have been entrusted to care for all this. Truly so fortunate. You can see large versions of many images on Arun Eyes.

Enjoy the glory of this planet.


Next on Kailash Manasarovar Yatra: Across the Tibetan Plateau towards Sishapangma
Start of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra: Rendevous with Sagarmatha (Everest)

Trackbacks

  1. […] a pass. There before us was the fabulous Peigutso Lake. The heavy overcast had cleared dazzling us once more with a striking azure sky with bright cumulus clouds and turquoise blue water. The view hushed us all and we simply stared in […]

  2. […] m (15,091 ft)], a remote Chinese Army outpost high on the Tibetan Plateau After a long drive from Nyalam, past the Sishapangma Base Camp office, we had stopped literally in the middle of nowhere, for a […]

  3. […] 4,850 m (15,900 ft) After the extra day in Nyalam (3,750 m; 12,303 ft) for acclimatization and a short hike, we packed our bags and left for the settlement of Saga. We were warned this would be a long day. […]

  4. […] on Kailash Manasarovar Yatra: Blue Skies in Nyalama Start of Kailash Manasarovar Yatra: Rendevous with Sagarmatha (Mt Everest) 42.361196 […]

  5. […] Cerulean skies over Nyalam, Tibet. Notice the blue pole at lower left and ant-like stick figures; that’s the rest of our group. See how massive the mountains are in the background. The giant boulders in the foreground appear to have been tossed like dice rolled by a celestial hand. Read more on ArunShanbhag […]

  6. […] also served to insulate the shed from the cold. Next on the Kailash Manasarovar Travelogue: Blue Skies in Nyalama To start at the beginning of the Kaliash Manasarovar Travelogue, click link below: Rendevous with […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s