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Annapurna Circuit Diaries

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By:  Rishav Adhikari

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Life Goals; You, Mountains and Me

It had only been a few weeks since I got back from the Mardi Base Camp trail. The phone rang and a voice from the other side said, “bhai, Annapurna round circuit handimnata dajubhai”. When one Ghumante says to another “Let’s hit the Annapurna Round Circuit trail”, you just don’t say NO. The buzzing of World’s Highest pass “Thorong la” ,Tilicho lake, the whole of the Annapurna Range to walk side by side, soul craving for adventure, my heart was already up there in the mountains.

Dancing Prayer flags from Thorong La High Camp

Bags packed. Our hearts were aching to roam in the mountain’s high, and we were ready to roll. The first stop of the trail was at Besisahar. We celebrated the reunion of our two brother’s 16 years of friendship. Had a local spirit. We experienced several colorful moments, making our stay much more interesting. It was a great way to start what was to become a wonderful 10 days. “BesiSahar” Gateway to heaven, I love you but with nerve wrecking off trail road waiting, we didn’t explore Besisahar as much as we had hoped. It was already time to leave for the Mountains. Riding through the tunnel for the first time in my life, we left Besisahar for Chame.

Manang Bound


You need guts to drive along those off roads. Maybe that’s the reason most of the jeep drivers were young and carefree. Ours was 19. If any sort of accident was to happen, I don’t think they would find either the parts of vehicle or the bones of the passengers. With Marsyangdi flowing by your side, or sometimes thousands of meters below you, people were overthrown with hysteria. An abrupt encounter with some alluring waterfalls, chanting bluish river and Mountains playing “peek a boo” with you, soon blues of off road rides turned into warm fuzzies.
Marsyangdi Blues

Having a chat with locals, exchanging laughs, beholding mountains, I don’t know how time flew during that jeep ride. The Jeep ride that started at 10 am from the humid Beshisahar, ended at 6 pm in Chame. The mountains were already shining with moonlight when we reached Chame, district headquarter of Manang. As we drove in with the breeze from the mountains faintly brushing our cheeks, we began to notice the exhaustion our bodies felt due to the bumpy ride there. Soon after we made sure to store some warm food into our bellies, and finally we were off to sleep.
Trekkers tales

Waking up to the hustling noise from the city area far behind us and the gushing waves from Marsyangdi River, tiredness from yesterday’s ride was long gone. We explored Chame for a while, and even had Jeri Puri up there, which was unexpected. After wandering around for some time, we left Chame. The landscapes, lifestyle, and culture were gradually changing as we progressed through our trail. With every new face I was confronted with, I could feel the vibes. Sometimes travel is not only about the landscape or trails, its much more about the people you meet along the way who touch your heart with just a simple eye contact.
Chame,Manang

Walk Stop Photograph Walk

 With the presence of cool breezes and the sparkling sunshine, we were ready to take on the whole Annapurna round circuit ahead of us. I love apples and eat them on a regular basis but never had I actually come across any apple trees. However, this was the day I finally saw, not only one, but 70 thousand apple trees in an apple farm between Chame and Pisang. Another food item that we didn’t expect to come across were Samosas. Fortunately, it was available in every tea shop! I was pretty amazed. With Marsyangdi frolicking around in front of us, we were having the time of our lives walking through the evergreen pine forest. As the sun was about to set, we arrived at Pisang.
Humde,Manang

Trails of Manang

Leaving our warm blankets, we raced to have our cup of tea, and then departed from Pisang. With only a few hours of walking under our belt, we had reached Humde. With the company of plain grass fields, white snow capped mountains on one side and Rocky Mountains on the other; we had a splendid time. We purchased apples for Rs.5 there. It was fantastic. Humde, which not only offered a gorgeous landscape, also apparently has an airport. However, it was an unused one; in fact it didn’t even have a single plane. As we left the green forest behind us, the altitude rose gradually. As we trekked up towards further north, the people become more Tibetan in ancestry, and Buddhism became the main local religion they followed.
Faces from Chame

Pisang tales

Manang

With fir trees long gone, there were bushes to replace them.The landscape was changing as we moved away from Humde. Tibetan monasteries, spinning wheels and prayer flags were seen more. Local kids and their smiles would just be a sigh of relief to our tired bodies. With the presence of mountains high and low, Yaks grazing in the grassy pastures by the trail, the atmosphere was pure bliss. While walking along the trail beside the river, we had reached Brakha. We decided to stay put, here in Brakha for the day, as recommended by one of the fellow travelers we had met while walking along the trail. Following his suggestion, we decided to venture into Ice Lake, which is off the trail. Early the next morning, the sun was still shining so we checked in, left backpacks, got the camera and left for Gangapurna lake, Manang. Within 30 minutes of our walk we reached Gangapurna lake lying in the laps of Gangapurna peak. Breathtaking blue waters, whistling rivers, winds flirting with prayer flags, the setting sun, it was peace like you had never felt before. It was a moment of pure nirvana.
Humde, Manang

Gangapurna, Manang

I was amazed to see a beach football ground up there. I decided to walk up to the top of the hill in order to capture the whole of Gangapurna lake and the peak into one frame. I somehow managed to get to the top crossing fences, while walking along rocky patches and slippery gravel. I was so focused on not falling down the trail that I don’t remember how I got down. By the time we had finished exploring Gangapurna, the sun had vanished and the moon was rising. We went back to hotel in Brakha. With warm hands, warm food and hearts full of excitement for future days to come; it was time to call it a night.
Trekkers Tale

Ice Lake, Manang

Ice lake, Manang

It is recommended that after 3000 meters, you should ascend no more than 300 to 500 meters a day to prevent AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). But we were heading towards Ice Lake which was located more than 1000 m above us. With our stomachs full from three Cinnamon rolls, a few chocolate bars and 3 bottles of water; we gathered our cameras and left for Brakha. Our journey up without a backpack was easy at first as we left them at our hotel. However, with an increase of elevation, the mountains were so close that within a few hours of walking, we were confronted with a loud crashing sound. It was an avalanche in one of the Annapurna peaks. In fact, we witnessed three avalanches that day, giving us the opportunity to re-tell interesting stories after our trip. As we gained altitude, we slowly paced ourselves. With the lack of tea houses in between, we stopped for a moment, caught our breath and grabbed a bite of some chocolate before we proceeded to move up. We even gave our fellow Italian traveler a Snicker bar, as he hadn’t packed anything to eat. Every time we thought we had reached a mountain top and a lake was about to show up, we ended up being wrong. There was always another one to trek over. Every once in a while we’d get the feeling of backing out. With several moments of contemplation, we finally reached at the Ice Lake. All I can say is, it was all worth it. Two lakes; frozen, on the altitude of 4600m, monuments and mountains guarding the lakes faraway from every thing you know. It was a moment of sheer joy. Every single pain and thought of going back was no more felt as we replaced it with a smile in our hearts. Every trekker was having one of the best moments they have ever had, and we finally ate a cinnamon roll to celebrate (which is now my favorite piece of bread J).After spending half an hour around the lake, it was time to go back to Brakha. Unfortunately, there were no tea houses to stop by near the Lake. The trail in which we spent 5 hours to hike, only took 2 hours to return.
Nomad

Gangapurna lake, Manang

Annapurna Range

Upon reaching back to hotel, our plans changed. Due to the unpleasant weather and rainfall forecast which was yet to come, we decided to leave Tilicho for next time. Although we were excited to move towards the World’s highest crossable pass “Thorong la Pass”, our bodies felt numb. We decided to go to bed.
Keeping our promise to visit Tilicho next time, we bid farewell to Manang. Although vegetation’s were a rarity as we moved upwards, the mountains close by and the valley looked beautiful. I had my first sip of sea buckthorn juice and it was incredible – loved it to the last sip. Highly recommended, while you are on a trek towards the mountains. Moving along, we only experienced  few interactions with fellow travelers. It was a slow paced walk until we reached Yak kharkha. It was not difficult to get lost in thought in that wilderness. It seemed like it was the day for me to taste new things. Every last morsel of yak Mo:Mo was savored. We paid an astounding Rs 800 for one plate, but it was totally worth it. The night was frigid than that of Manang, but we slept well.
Somewhere in the Trail

Rider from Manang

Yak Kharkha

Awakened by the warm sun rays coming through the window, it was time to leave for Thorong la high camp. Continuing along the trail, we did not need to ascend much to reach thorong la phedi. The trails were somewhat narrow consisting a glimpse of gravel every now and then. We reached thorongphedi with ease. We rested there for a while, filled our bellies and soon after, we were on our way to Thorong la high camp. Not much distance connected high camp with Phedi, however it took approximately 45 minutes to an hour due to the steepness of the path. While hiking up, we came across wild bl grazing just beside the trail. While traveling, there are moments where you get the feeling that all your problems simply don’t matter because of the atmosphere that surrounds you. Simply because of where you are and the way you see. This moment was one of them. Being the only lodge in the high camp, the owners were not as friendly as they were in the lower regions. We booked our room, dropped our bags and headed towards the high camp viewpoint. It was incredible. With the mountains all around you, and thorong phedi way below, a smile was brought to our faces. We had dal bhat with a large group of fellow travelers – who were just as excited as we were for tomorrow’s adventure towards the almighty Thorong la pass. We crawled into our warm beds during those chilly nights in high camp. Most people find it difficult to sleep among high altitudes, unless they’re accustomed to it. We were no different. We became extremely restless after a couple of hours of sleep. I plugged in my earphone, cranked up the volume. The iPod played “Born to be Wild” as I tried to sleep during odd hours of the night.
Marsyangdi

Thorong la High Camp

One fine Morning

The alarm went off at 4:30 am. We arose feeling groggy and tired. We began to feel better after many sips of tea. By 5 am we were already rolling. The hour consisted of a bunch of travelers in single file, snow filled trails, and a dark sky. We slipped around every so often, our hearts racing and hands feeling numb. We stopped to catch our breath. Looking back, it was beautiful. People shared a similar amount of enthusiasm while trekking, as torch lights flashed in a line in those dark hours. I don’t think I will ever forget that moment – I felt infinite. The dark sky faded away as sun began to show its face. We could barely breathe with the rise in altitude. I felt like my head was about to explode and each step I took felt as though I was walking on air. As we pushed on, each turn brought us with a new expectation of being at the top.The final few hours were damn hard but when we finally reached the pass, an adrenaline rush took over and we were on cloud nine. As soon as our eyes were set on the Tibetan flags fluttering around, it was all about celebration. Smiling faces; eye gasmic, group photos, and an aura of happiness surrounded the area as everyone was proud of this achievement. Standing there, I wondered, looked around, not below, but above, at all the other peaks that were around us.The questions came flooding in about why climbers, mountaineers and trekkers return again and again to the Himalaya and maybe, maybe I understood a little….
Thorong la peak

Happy Trekkers 

Mustang bound

We commenced our downhill journey from thorong la pass to Mustang valley. Our knees were starting to fail, as we slid down the gavel slopes. The views of the arid mountains in the distance were stunning, as was the feeling of finally walking on flat ground as we approached Muktinath (sacred site). It was my first time in this holy place so I decided to shower myself in the holy waters of Muktinath. With the Go Pro in one hand taking a video –the freezing water, ran through all those water taps as fast as it could. I took a dip in two freezing ponds . Wait, I might have taken more than one dip in the ponds for a better photograph each time. Anything for that perfect picture, right? After spending some holy moments, it was time to leave for tonight’s stop at old Kagbeni “EkleyBhatti”. On the evening we strolled along the gorge of Kaligandaki river.
Sky is the limit

Kagbeni

Early next morning, we woke up to the sound of a rooster. It was time for a walk. As we strolled through the valleys and white-walled villages,listening Tibetan prayer songs in the fields of kagbeni, it felt heavenly. Hidden doors, Tibetan monasteries, and what not; it was gorgeous. I was in awe of how the landscape of Mustang was unlike anything I had seen in the Himalayas. After one fine lunch in EkleyBhatti, we left for Jomsom. Walking by the side of Kali Gandaki river, the only song – as you can imagine playing in our head– was “Jomsomai bazar ma baraa bajey hawa sarararaa….. “ .Maybe being in the mountains for all these days, witnessing such heavenly mountains, Jomsom didn’t bring about the same feeling inside me. It didn’t capture me. We went for a walk in the evening. It felt different seeing so many people after so many days of being away. We bought souvenirs for Mom. And with sip of Marpha Brandy and tired legs we went to sleep in the laps of sleeping god.
Ekley Bhatti (Purano Kagbeni)

Kagbeni Blues

With a new day in civilization, it was time to go back to reality. We caught a bus home from Jomsom. Now, as the scene through the dusty bus window was ever changing, my body was at peace. Several thoughts became to seep through my head. Flashing back to the mountain trails, eyes full of stories, heart full of mountain love, living the best moments of our lives; we bid farewell to Annapurna Circuit round.

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Knowledge & Infos

What’s Special Today: November 10

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Chhath:

Historically native to the Indian states of Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand and the southern part of Nepal, Chhath is one of those festivals that transcends the caste system that exists in the society. According to the Hindu calendar, it is celebrated on the sixth day of the lunar month of Kartik. The Chhath Puja is a 4-day long ritual specially offered to the solar deity, Surya, to show thankfulness for good health, good life and to request the granting of some certain wishes.

Day 1: On the first day, the devotees after bathing clean their house and eat the food that is offered to the god to protect the mind from the vengeful tendency.

Day 2: On the second day, the devotees are not allowed to drink even a single drop of water but, in the evening, they eat kheer made up of jaggery, fruits.

Day 3: The evening of the third day which is also known as sandhya ‘arghya’ day where a bamboo basket is decorated with various puja materials, fruits, thekuwa, and laddus which are offered as an ‘argya’ to the Sun. Also, the Chhathi Maiya is worshipped.

Day 4: On the last day of Chhath puja again an arghya is offered to the Sun God but this time in the morning. The devotees go to the riverbank to offer arghya to the rising sun and break their fast and conclude their four-day long worship.

Happy Chhath to everyone! Don’t forget to enjoy some thekuwas!!

World Keratoconus Day:

Every year on November 10, World Keratoconus Day is celebrated to focus global attention on keratoconus and ectatic corneal disorders. The day was first celebrated by National Keratoconus Foundation.

Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to become weak, leading to the thinning and stretching of the cornea, which may result in the loss of vision. Keratoconus is degeneration of the structure of the cornea. The shape of the cornea slowly changes from the normal round shape to a cone shape which affects the vision. The keratoconus mainly develops in teenagers and young adults and the disease keeps on growing, if not diagnosed in time.  

The disease has no prevention and no treatment. With early diagnosis, the disease can be managed and further damage can be protected. In Nepal, the prevalence of Keratoconus is 1 in 2000 according to the recent journal. So, this world keratoconus day, make a commitment to visit an eye doctor once a year for the early diagnosis of keratoconus as well as other eye diseases.

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KMAG Online Writing Workshop reading materials

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Day 1

Covers communication and types of writing. Please check the following articles.

  1. What is communication and how to communicate effectively?
  2. Types of Writing

Also, check out: How miscommunication happens (and how to avoid it)

Day 2

Covers content management system/WordPress, and how to introduce yourself. Please check the following articles.

  1. What is WordPress and How to work in WordPress
  2. How to introduce yourself.

Day 3-5

Covers the basics of expository writing and CV writing.

Day 6

Covers persuasive writing.Please check the following articles.

  1. HOW TO WRITE AN OP-ED: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE
  2. Handout of video class.

Day 7-9

Covers how to write research-based opinion writing.

  1. How to frame an argument
  2. How to write an opinion piece

Day 10

Personal journal writing (my diary)

Day 11-13

Figure of speech and rhetoric.

Day 14-16

How to frame questions.

  1. Art of questioning

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Types of Figure of Speech with examples (Part 1)

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Accumulation

Accumulation is a figure of speech, in which the points made previously are presented again in a compact, forceful manner. It often employs the use of climax in the summation of a speech.

Examples:

  1. We learned communication, we learned types of writing, we learned rhetoric, we learned figure of speech. In all this, we made new friends, we spent hours together.
  2. He founded Nepal; fought for unification, fought for diversity. Leaving wife and child home, he set to occupy the land of people, land of flowers and trees. And he built a country that we call Nepal.
  3. Your organization, your vigilance, your devotion to duty, your zeal for the cause must be raised to the highest intensity.” Winston Churchill, Speech, 14 July 1941. (This sentence comes after a lengthy passage in which Churchill warns the public that their courage and effort are still needed to defeat the enemy).

Adomination

A figure of speech that refers to the repetition of words with the same root word.

Examples:

  1. I will be somewhere, someday, settled with somebody in some place.
  2. I am nobody, reaching no where in this no man’s land.
  3. In the vastness of universe, I am vastly clueless.

Alliteration

A literary stylistic device, where a series of words in a row have the same first consonant sound.

Examples:

  1. Nepalese never nag about Nepal not nationalising.
  2. Looks like lion likes licking lizard.
  3. Come count my comb.

Adynaton

A figure of speech in the form of hyperbole taken to such extreme lengths as to insinuate a complete impossibility.

Examples:

  1. I will meet you when sun rises from west.
  2. Before I finish the work, I will grow a horn.
  3. Stone will talk but she won’t.

Anacoluthon

Derives from the Greek word anakolouthon, literally means “lacking sequence”, is a figure of speech which consists in the abrupt disruption in syntax. Opens in new window resulting from two non-parallel grammatical constructions.

Examples:

  1. I am hungry – have you never played football?
  2. I miss the burgher at – did you see my daughter?
  3. Never in my life – what’s in your mind?

Anadiplosis

The repetition of the last word of a preceding clause. The word is used at the end of a sentence and then used again at the beginning of the next sentence..

Examples:

  1. It’s midnight. Midnight with stars. Stars with the moon. Moon looking at my window. Window hiding me.
  2. “Fear leads to angerAnger leads to hateHate leads to suffering.”
  3. “Your beliefs become your thoughtsyour thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Anaphora

A rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending them emphasis.

Examples:

  1. When you felt like giving up, when you felt like crying, when you felt like hitting the wall, just do it.
  2. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way
  3. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state, sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.

Anastrophe

A figure of speech in which the normal word order of the subject, the verb, and the object is changed.

Examples:

  1. Instead of I like Nepal, “Nepal I like.”
  2. World I want to change.
  3. I, her will keep loving till the end

Anti-Climax

It is when a specific point, expectations are raised, everything is built-up and then suddenly something boring or disappointing happens.

Examples:

  1. He killed the king, freed the people, and took the sword and killed himself.
  2. People, pets, batteries, … all are dead.
  3. He loved her so much …he killed her.

Anthimeria

is the usage of a word in a new grammatical form, most often the usage of a noun as a verb.

Examples:

  1. Can you please google to find out the meaning of “anthimeria”? (google is actually noun)
  2. The thunder would not peace at my bidding.
  3. Let’s do some eating. (verb being used as noun)

Antimetabole

the repetition of words in successive clauses, but in transposed order.

Examples:

  1. Eat to live, not live to eat
  2. All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime.
  3. Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

Antistrophe

The repetition of the same word or words at the end of successive phrases, clauses or sentences.

Examples:

  1. There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.
  2. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
  3. Nepal is beautiful. Nepalese are beautiful. Her style is beautiful. Her heart is beautiful.

Antithesis

is used in writing or speech either as a proposition that contrasts with or reverses some previously mentioned proposition, or when two opposites are introduced together for contrasting effect.

Examples:

  1. I am rich man who longs for a poverty.
  2. When in war, we long for peace; when in peace, we long for war.
  3. Let’s play with the fire to feel the rain.

Aphorismus

It often appears in the form of a rhetorical question which is meant to imply a difference between the present thing being discussed and the general notion of the subject. Statement that calls into question the definition of a word.

Examples:

  1. You eat meat and you call yourself animal lover?.
  2. How can you call this country a peaceful country when everywhere is chaos?.
  3. How am I even a writer with this kind of writing?

Aposiopesis

A figure of speech wherein a sentence is deliberately broken off and left unfinished, the ending to be supplied by the imagination, giving an impression of unwillingness or inability to continue.

Examples:

  1. Please leave my home or else – !.
  2. I want to go home now. If not.
  3. And she left with. I don’t even want to share.

Apposition

Apposition is a grammatical construction in which two elements, normally noun phrases, are placed side by side and so one element identifies the other in a different way.

Examples:

  1. Nepal, my home, is where I want to die.
  2. My brother, Mr. Suresh, is joining me.
  3. Mr. Oli, a famous politician, is giving a speech.

Assonance

Repetition of vowel sounds

Examples:

  1. Reave, please leave.
  2. Hire and fire.
  3. Write so bright that it will frighten right.

ASTEISMUS (not needed but know it anyway)

he rhetorical term for achieving polite or soft mockery whereby the replier catches a sensitive word and redirects it back to the interlocutor with an unexpected twist. Example:

  • Judge: You’re charged with vagrancy. Are you guilty or not guilty?
    Ollie: Not guilty, Your Highness.
    Judge: On what grounds?
    Stan: We weren’t on the grounds. We were sleeping on the park bench.

Asyndeton

A literary scheme in which one or several conjunctions are deliberately omitted from a series of related clauses.

Examples:

  1. He ran, he climbed, he conquered .
  2. I wanted to participate, i made it.
  3. Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Cataphora

Co-reference of one expression with another expression which follows it, in which the latter defines the first. 

Examples:

  1. If you want to eat something, there is pizza in the freeze.
  2. If you want her, she is Ms. Lisa.
  3. He is an idiot. He is a douche. He is lazy. He is my friend, Nishant.

Climax

a figure of speech in which words, phrases, or clauses are arranged in order of increasing importance. Or say, a figure of speech in which successive words, phrases, clauses, or sentences are arranged in ascending order of importance, as in “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!”

Examples:

  1. When there is job, when there is peace, and when there is love, happiness occurs.
  2. We want freedom, liberty and democracy.
  3. Men and women are equal, but above, it’s the responsibility.

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