6. A journey into Tibet – Nyalam Mu to Zhongba

posted in: Uncategorized | 12
July 2012
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Today we will be travelling from Nyalam Mu to Zhongba via
Saga which a major town in the area. The total distance would be about 340 km.
After breakfast, we started from Nyalam Mu. The weather was
cloudy but there were signs of clearing up. The road after Nyalam Mu passes
through the mountains with river flowing to our right side. The land was mostly
barren with few green patches near the water beds.
After about an hour the climb to Lung La started. With
altitude above 15,000 ft this would be highest pass in our journey that we
cross on bus. Thanks to good road, the climb to Lung La was never felt. From
top of Lung La, vast plains of Tibet can be seen. The good part was that the weather
started to turn bright.
After Lung La, road passed though plains.
I was seeing a massif of snow covered mountains on the left
side. It was the range of Shishapangma. Shishapangam at the height of 8,013 m
(26,289 ft) is the fourteenth highest mountain in the world. It is the only
peak above 8000 meter that is completely in China. It was the last eight
thousand meter peak to be climbed due to the restrictions for foreigners to
visit Tibet.
A huge glacier at the base of the mountain.
We passed though a check post where the guide has to show
some documents to Police. No passport verification for done here.
I was seeing a blue lake on the far right. It was Paiku Tso,
also called as Hanuman Sarovar by Indians. It do not know the why it is called
Hanuman Sarovar but I assume it has something to do with Hanuman taking bath in
this lake. The lake is about 27 km long and 6 km wide. But its water is
brackish.
There is a stretch of road where asphalting is not
completed. Though this part of the road passes through mountain area, it is
still drivable on buses.
The drive on mud road would have lasted for about 1.5 – 2
hours. We were seeing a river flowing. It was Bramhaputra River (Also called as
Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet). The ferociousness and vastness of the river was not
seen here as it was still in its infancy. Here we cross the river to reach the
town of Saga.
Few years ago, there was no bridge across the river. The
vehicles and passengers had to be ferried across, process that used to take a
very long time. Now the bridge has made life easier.
At 1:30PM, we were in the town of Saga. Until last year Saga
was the second halting point on the way to Manasa Sarovar. Saga is a major
military town having range of good hotels with private restrooms. But due to
good road people proceed further for halting thus reducing the importance and
hype of Saga. Many people stay here during return journey.
We had our lunch at Saga. The lunch served was prepared and
packed in the morning. It was simple but tasty. One cannot be finicky about
food at these remote places. It is very important to have regular food to keep
ourselves fit at high altitude. And drink lots of water even if the weather is
cold as high altitude cause dehydration.
It started raining the moment we finished our lunch making
us run for cover. The rain lasted for few minutes and the sky was clear again.
The guides and drivers who had gone out for lunch (They do not take Indian
food!!) were not to be seen. For some reason, Sherpas asked us to walk for a km
where the bus would pick us up. By then clouds had vanished exposing us to
scorching sun. For few people the walk for too much to handle. No other
explanation can be given for the difference of 30 minutes between the first and
the last person who reached the bus.
Prayer flags on top of the pass
It was again the
barren landscape of Tibet again. We crossed a pass that was 4920 meters above
sea level. Plain lands started again.
New Zhongba town
At 6PM we reached New Zhongba town.  Stay was at Namla Monastery hotel. The rooms
were good (In fact I got a King size bed!!). The rooms had televisions but no
power!!  The generator was not working. The
sad part was that the hotel had common Tibetan toilets. Tibetan toilets are
unbearable and beyond any imagination!! Seeing my worried face one of the
Sherpa told “This is the better one sir. From tomorrow, it will be even worse…
this is a new one. So it stinks less!!” . Not sure whether it was a good or bad
news. 
I should here say about the role of Sherpas in this trip. They
are the most critical members of the team who can make or break the trip. The
activities done by them are:
·        
Pick up duffel bags from all rooms and put it in
the truck. And in the evening, give it back to the respective people.
·        
Prepare food – Morning tea, hot water to wash
face, Breakfast, lunch, evening tea, soup, dinner and hot water for drinking.
And everything is served inside room (sort of room service!)
·        
Unload and load all items (Utensils, water
drums, gas stoves, groceries, vegetables) from truck.
·        
Carry oxygen cylinders during trek.
·        
Help people during trek.
·        
Washing utensils.
·        
Arranging ponies and porters for trek.
A mountain seen from Hotel
Basically they are the ones who run the show. Majority of
them are simple people who always keep smiling. They just sleep for couple of
hours. Their service is simply unmatchable.
View from my hotel room
The truck carrying food items reached late due to breakdown.
So the dinner was served at 11:30 in the night. 
We would be seeing Manasa Sarovar on the next day!!

12 Responses

  1. Srikanth Manjunath

    buddy snaps are jaw dropping..what a clear sky..and also the clouds are just like sponges..

    Breathtaking landscapes, rivers, barren lands, brown cover, snow clad mountains..awesome awesome..

    Above all narration tops the list..

    Way to go buddy..eager to read your next pipeline….Kudos to you!!!

  2. Santosh bs

    Completely barren lands… reminds me of parts of Ladakh!
    By any chance would you pass by the Pangong lake that is majorly in Tibet?

  3. Aravind GJ

    Srikanth,
    Thanks for your comments.

    Santosh,
    Ladakh is just the extension of Tibet!!

    Pangong Lake is still 350km North West of Manasa Sarovar. Not sure how difficult is to get permissions to visit Chinese side of the lake.

  4. Deepam

    Mind blowing pics ! Thank you for the narrations…..very informative and inspiring……waiting for the pics of Manas sarover and the Parikrama experience…..we are heading there later this month and looking forward to any and every tip that may come our way, thanks again and continue posting please !

  5. Aravind GJ

    Niranjan,
    Thanks.

    Chetana,
    Manasa Sarovar post got delayed… but on the way!!

    Nisha,
    Thanks.

    Deepam,
    Thanks for commenting. Wish you the best.

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