A powerful mythology has grown up around the monastery at Tengboche (Thyangboche) as a result of the writings of explorers and mountaineers.Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, an inhabitant of this village, were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest on the British 1953 expedition and hence why this monastery has acquired international interest. Due to its routing Everest expeditioners visit the monastery to light candles and seek the blessings of gods for good health and safe mountaineering.
However the gompa is not as old as you might expect. The first gompa at Tengboche was constructed in 1916 by Lama Gulu, a monk from Khumjung, but the building was destroyed in the earthquake of 1934. A second gompa on the site lasted until 1989, when an electrical fire burned the stone and-timber structure to the ground.Sherphas , foreign aid organizations, Buddhish groups and mountaineering organizations then contributed allowing the monastery to be reconstructed with its doors opening in 1993.Luckily most of the gompa’s valuable books, paintings and religious relics were saved.
John Hunt, the leader of the 1953 expedition and one of the first mountaineers to visit the monastery ( offered the following description of Thengboche in The Ascent of Everest:
“Thyangboche must be one of the most beautiful places in the world. The height is well over 12,000 feet. The Monastery buildings stand upon a knoll at the end of a big spur, which is flung out across the direct axis of the Imja river. Surrounded by satellite dwellings, all quaintly constructed and oddly mediaeval in appearance, it provides a grandstand beyond comparison for the finest mountain scenery that I have ever seen, whether in the Himalaya or elsewhere.”
scattered lodges and stunning surroundings at Orsho ,where the trail is surrounded by dotted memorials to lost climbers.
As Jin Kwon quotes “one piece of log creates a small fire, adequate to warm you up, add just a few more pieces to blast an immense bonfire, large enough to warm up your entire circle of friends; needless to say that individuality counts but team work dynamites.”
Yes i most probably could have made it by myself however the group made it a far more enjoyable experience.For the past 9 days we have lived , breathed and eaten nearly every second together. What was mine became yours and together we did it. Of course there were times we might have annoyed each other but that just life and is something you laugh about afterwards.
From Gorak Shep the walk is a draining scramble over an ever-changing rocky path across the Khumbu Glacier. The last section is probably the most dangerous and totally unexpected , you have to run the gauntlet of falling rocks that could take you out like a bowling bowl takes down a pin.Totally bemused , I’m not sure if its the lack of oxygen however all i hear is our guide say ” what ever you do, do not stop – move, move, move!”
I had read and was prepared that many people have unrealistic expectations of Base Camp, looking around at all the large boulders was like where do people pitch their tents. Being out of session there was no one camping, just your usual prayer flags wedged between rocks at the bottom of the Khumbu Icefall.
Your trusted guide book describes it as a “semi-permanent village of brightly-coloured dome tents” with a “fascinating,with groups from dozens of different nations playing cards, gambling, eating, reading, strumming guitars and doing everything possible to fill their time while they wait for the green light to climb to the summit”. Part have me regrets not seeing the camp in that state however it is impossible not be taken over by a state of achievement in reaching the camp.
We all have our personal moments of quiet reflection in the warm sunshine before joining the group for celebrations and photos.You congratulate everyone and everyone and vise versa, the world becomes one for a brief moment in time.
Final words have to go to saying that this was probably the best place in the world to celebrate my birthday,i still can’t believe that they carried all the way to the camp and then apologized that it probably wasn’t the best quality. Who cares, such an amazing thought.