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Jomsom to Kagbeni     Kagbeni to Jharkot      Mukhtinath          Tukuche
Buildings along the main route through Tukuche, Nepal. Tukuche was for centuries the chief market town in a major trading route between Tibet and India.

My guide Bishnu in the central courtyard of the Tukuche Inn, Tukuche, Nepal.

Many of the lodges now serving trekkers were originally built to house rich Thakali merchant families.

Gompa Kupa (Kyipar), monastery in the early morning.

I could hear the loud banging of cymbals and braying of horns from my hotel, and came to investigate.

Monks (and one nun) during a three-day festival at the Gompa Kupa (Kyipar), monastery.

Reading from long loose-leaf books kept in rectangular boxes, the monks chanted, beat drums suspended above them, and occasionally stopped to blow conch shells and trumpets or drink tea.

This went on for hours, with remarkably exact synchronization of the various participants. From time to time, though, someone would mess up and they would all break up in giggles.

While monks chanted inside the monastery, troops of kids played on the steps outside. Sometimes they raced around and around the building, spinning the prayer wheels lining the walls.

Shopkeeper of a typical small streetfront store in Tukuche.

Bishnu on a hill overlooking Tukuche. This river gorge, between Dhaulagiri on the right and the Annapurna range on the left, is the deepest in the world.

I recommend hiring a guide-porter, making sure he or she speaks your language. Aside from lightening your load, a good guide provides invaluable insight into Nepali culture. Also, many young men and women need the job.

Bishnu himself can be reached through the New Silvery Mount Trekking Shop, on the lake side in Pokhara.

A "scare-monkey" north of Tukuche, Nepal, looking toward Dhaulagiri.

On the edge of a terraced cornfield high on a hill, overlooking a deep gorge, the stuffed effigy of a man discourages the ravages of prowling monkeys.

Threshing barley on the rooftops of Ghasa, looking out toward the Dhaulagiri ice-fall.

After a night in Ghasa we we went down to Tatopani, over Poon Hill via Ghorepani, and back to Pokhara.

Tea-house trekking in Nepal is about as engaging and exhilarating a way to travel as I have experienced.

Jomsom to Kagbeni     Kagbeni to Jharkot      Mukhtinath         Tukuche    

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