15 July 2009

Everest Region December 2003 - Day 6

Tengboche to Dingboche

You can see a slideshow of my best pics from Everest on flickr.
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The Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis) is huge, some reaching over a metre in length, with a wingspan of three metres and weighing up to seven kg. A bit like a turkey that eats meat and can actually fly. I managed to snap a pic of this one just above Pangboche.

The birds are involved in the old (and vanishing) Tibetan practice of what to do with corpses when folks die.
The ground is normally too cold to bury them.
Wood is too scarce for cremation. So, after a ceremony, the corpse would be dismembered and literally "fed to the birds". The Himalayan Griffon is considered a sacred bird in Tibet for this service that it provides.

Himalayan Griffon
Chorten & Ama Dablam

We stopped at Pangboche Gompa (at 300 years old, the oldest in the region) on the way, and were rewarded by hearing the nuns reciting some Tibetan texts, punctuated with drums, cymbals and trumpets.

Taboche Peak from Dingboche

Even though we climbed 600m from Tengboche to Dingboche, it didn't feel that bad because the climb was spread over about 12 km.

This is a view looking west to Taboche Peak (6367m) from Dingboche.

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As seen on Andrew Purdam's Bushwalking Treasure Box blog.

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