Stay at Nayalam
After a comfortable journey we reached Nyalam, traditionally known as Tsongdu. Nyalam is situated at 3750 meters (12300 ft) above mean sea level .Once a small quaint town of stone buildings and tin roofs, it was nick named "The Gate of Hell" by the Nepalese traders because of the old trail between Nayalam and the Nepalese border was so treacherous to negotiate. But today Nyalam is a fast growing little town made of concrete buildings with red-curtained doorways, located on the Friendship Highway between Lhasa and the Nepal Border. It's cold and damp, and a grey mist hangs in the air, air that's already thin because the altitude is above 3500 meters. Wood smoke drifts from doorways and mixes with the mist, and the atmosphere is unpleasant. Kathmandu had been warm and pleasant, here in Nylaam it's grey and dull and much colder than expected, compounded with that it was also day of waiting.
Ornately coloured interior of the Hotel
As the yatra season had just begun after melting of snow at higher reaches and the festival of Saga Dewa is to be celebrated shortly it was over crowded everywhere. Nyalam was no exception, the hotel was full when we reached and has to wait for somebody to vacate the rooms, after a long wait of about 3 hours during which we sang some bhajans and had our lunch. The rest rooms here were public type in all about 10 for all the residents in the hotel We stood in queue to use them.
Waiting for rooms
The hotel resembled a flower garden with various hued butterflies, with so many yatris wearing different coloured over coats and caps of their tour operators. Also it seemed like a bee hive full of activity, one group was sitting in the vast forecourt and chanting Lalitha Sahasranamam ( Thosand names of Mother Parvati) under the guidance of a Swamji, some groups were enjoying their lunch, some were preparing for trekking on the nearby mountain, one group was loading their luggage in their bus for onward travel. Watching all these we were waiting in the first floor balcony of the hotel for some rooms to be vacated so that we can occupy the same .
In high altitudes it s not advisable to travel continuously above 3000m(10000ft) it is better to stay for one day for the body to get acclimatized for that altitude and proceed further. As Nyalam is situated at an altitude of 10000ft normally all the groups stay here for a day. There is a small hillock nearby and most of them climb this hillock for trekking practice. Some of them also visit the cave in which the Buddhist monk Milrepa's cave and return back. As we were here for half day only we went for trekking practice.
Still waitng .........
Bhajan while waiting
Lunch at Hotel
Lalitha Sahasranamam chanting group
Room in which we stayed
There is a shop inside the hotel and he has stocked all the items needed for the yatra like woolen gloves, woolen socks, monkey caps, over coat, sweater, oxygen cylinders, rain coats, walking sticks etc. We all bought adjustable walking sticks there to be used during parikrama. The shop was accepting Indian rupees also If needed we can exchange our currency also. But we get less value but on return we can return the same at same rate to the shop.