Arriving at Kailash, the Holy Mountain
When I stepped outside to check on Monlam I was thrilled to see the skies had cleared during the night- I knew that within a few hours I would see Gang Rinpoche. As it turned out, the previous day’s rain was the last I would have to face- it would remain fine for the rest of the trip. It was cold, though, the sun still not above the surrounding peaks and when I went to collect Monlam he was shivering in the frost.
I loaded up and thanked the young man for his kindness but before I left he gave me a packet of noodles. We set off, energised by a good night’s sleep and a decent meal and I felt the complete opposite of the day before, my spirits high. We walked for an hour; the trail easy over hard-packed dirt and soon Dirapuk Gompa came into view on the other side of the valley. I crossed a small stream, the trail dropped around some boulders and then rounded the corner of a small hill.
Suddenly I looked up; there was Gang Rinpoche’s stunning north face, a sheer cliff some fifteen hundred metres high, covered in yesterday’s snow. To see it at last was staggering and I instantly burst into tears of joy and relief. ‘We’re here boy! We made it! We bloody-well made it!’ I hugged Monlam and then made three prostrations on the ground towards the mountain. ‘Thank you Buddhas! Tujachay Khensur Thabkye Rinpoche! Tujachay!’
This was surely the greatest moment of my life; everything I had done had been leading up to this day. All at once I felt that every step I had taken, every kilometre I’d ridden, every freezing night, every hungry day, all the storms I’d been through, every trial, hardship and hassle, had all been worth it. I was so grateful I’d come to Tibet two years ago, so glad I had carried on every time I’d wanted to give up, and so happy I had returned this year to finish what I’d started. The reward I was receiving now was worth a thousand times more than all the pain and discomfort I’d suffered.