"There is something in man that responds to the challenge given by a mountain"
– George Mallory
I am beach bum and I love the sea. So when upon a chance I read this famous quote by George Mallory, I went in a deep slumber. Mountains. What is so fascinating about mountains to human beings. They are rugged, broken, dirty, narrow, unwinding, ascending, they can make the healthiest of the human beings sick at an altitude. And then you hear about avalanches, snowstorms on the mountains, tons of rescue operations at world's highest altitudes every year at say an Everest! And every time human beings are allured by the mountains! That's when I decided to understand for myself. What is it 'that challenge' the mountains will bring to me! I went backpacking to Himalayas earlier this month for two weeks.
To be honest, I have been to the commercial towns of Himalayas of Manali, Shimla, Kullu, Nainital, Dehradun, etc. But have never really seen them so up close front, as I did in Sikkim. Sikkim is a north-eastern state of India, landlocked by Himalayas on three sides. There's Nepal to the West, China's Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and east, and Bhutan to the east. Here's are some 100 things that I learnt throughout the two weeks I spent in Sikkim.
1. Mountains are beautiful. Perhaps even than the blue oceans and seven seas! Period.
2. Mountains are not just green in colour (as they taught us in the school during our drawing class!) Mountains come in different shades and colours. They can be green, maroon, brown, white, off-white, red (when rhododendrons are in full bloom!)
3. Mountains are very very very very cold, but they still exude a warmth about themselves.
4. As opposed to mountains, the mountain people are very warm and loving
5. Mountain life is much more difficult than the people living at sea-level.
6. Cold is better than tanning in black
7. Everytime, the mountain people advise you, listen to them! Don't use your brains! They know your bodies better than you. They have the science of Ayurveda and secrets of nature with them!
8. Mountain people eat lots of rice to keep their bodies warm, but they are perhaps the fittest people on the planet!
9. If you can drive on a mountain, you can learn to navigate any traffic in this world
10. Do not crib. See point- 5 and 7.
11. Mountain people have a difficult life! Yes! They really do.
12. Mountain people are the happiest people.
13. The cold in the mountains send a wreck in the people's cheeks. The redness that you see n their face is not any makeup!
14. Mountains do protect countries! They do prevent wars by their rough and diffuclt terrains making it difficult for enemies to enter a zone.
15. Some of the nicest people on this earth are mountain people!
16. The best food is the mountain food! Hot cuppa noodles, momos! Yum!
17. Mountain people don't believe in religion! They believe in CULTURE. There's a DIFFERENCE!
18. Mountain prayers do work!
19. The best place to find yourself is the mountains.
20.The best place to lose yourself is also in the mountains.
21. Mountain people are the HAPPIEST! I know this is repetitive. But that's what the point is. STOP CRIBBING ABOUT YOUR LIFE. They lead a difficult life as compared to you.
22. Sun sets early in the mountains
23. Sun rises also early in the mountains
24. A road journey on a mountain is wonderful. A bike journey might be priceless. Try it out
25. Wear full clothes in the mountains. You can die of cold.
26. Travel light when planning a mountain journey or die carrying shit!
27. Sunscreen is a must when travelling in mountains. Even if there is no sun! No kidding!!
28. The kindness of strangers demonstrates that people in general are genuine.
29. Mountain people drink a lot! And they encourage even their school kids to drink, because HELL! It is COLD
30. Sometimes inspite of flowing rivers in the valleys, mountain people have to travel from one village to another to get drinking water
31. Mountain language is very sweet and easy to understand. So do learn
32. Always pack the right shoes while travelling in the mountains
33. Camphor helps you breathe right at high altitude
34. A hot cup of tea will keep you warmer than a room heater
35. Pack lots of medicine if you live in cities. You are going to fall sick. Very sick!
36. Take lot of steam while up in the valley
37. Mountains look beautiful in the morning. The snowcapped peaks look stunning in the night
38. You are going to sea the clearest of skies up there.
39. Carry Odomos as repellent, but you will be hardly bitten by bugs or mosquitoes
40. You'll meet some stunning people on the roads
41. You'll hear some of the world's greatest inspirational stories up there
42. You'll yourself be a changed person in their presence
43. Himalayas can bring you down to tears. Literally!
44. They can overwhelm you
45. You will be smiling all the time, even if there is nothing funny. Nah, it's just what Himalayas do to you! 🙂
46. Himalayan market is one of the most amazing in the world
47. Mountain beer and wine will never let you down
48. Go to Himalaya. You'll forget that there's a world beyond it. No Taj, No Eiffel Tower, No Alps can match its magic. Go and see for yourself
49. You won't take a bath for 5 days in a row and still seem fresh
50. HIMALAYAS will challenge you to be a better person!
Don't believe me? Go try it! It's addictive.