Nar Phu Trek: Finally In The Village Of Nar: Day 10 of 16

Thrashing Koru in Nar Village

Thrashing Koru in Nar: Men thrash the grain where as women take part in the process by sifting

Thrashing Koru in Nar Village

Army parade or the heart beat? The sound coming out is like grap, grap, grap. For me it was like an army parade where as for Jen it was like a heartbeat. I found this observation cool.

Thrashing Koru in Nar Village

They wake up early in the morning, at 3 AM, and start thrashing Koru. “Soil is hard in the morning and it’s easy to thrash Koru,” said a man.

Thrashing Koru in Nar Village
Other than Koru, the village also grows potato. The process (planting to harvesting Koru) takes six months.

Nar: Finally we are in the village of Nar (the blue sheep). First reaction: it’s beautiful, it’s damn beautiful. Second reaction: But I wouldn’t live here more than a week. When you get the first glimpse of the village along with Pisang Peak and it’s range and, on the back of yourself the enormous Kang Guru Himal, boy, you forget all the hardship that you had just gone through while climbing the uphill that begins from the Chamjong bridge.

Some where in the middle of the trail, Matt requested me to take his photos: naked and standing on a dangerously placed rock. That was fun and girls laughed as they saw the ‘nude Aussie’ posing for the camera. Wanda, Brooke, Lorraine, Sanu Maya, Pemba and Gyanu all got their share of fun as they watched Matt stripping off. Matt said he wanted to bring out a calendar with such photos taken all over the places he had been visiting. The calendar shots were great. The camera only saw his back and white butt but a huge eagle flying on the other side of the mountain must have seen something more. Poor eagle, bad day for you.

Nar Village in Manang

The Village of Nar in Manang

Nar girl drinking water

A girl drinks water in a tap located on the upper side of the village. This reminded me of a yak that I saw yesterday drinking water from a tap near the village

Nar girl drinking water

At one point I felt like she was posing for my camera

Nar girl drinking water

music for koru harvesters in nar

Matt entertains Nar locals, who were thrashing Koru, with his guitar and the BIG O song!

Just as we arrived in Nar, our hunting for the cover girl began. Cover girl of the book “Cloud Dwellers”. There are some full page photographs of the people of Nar taken in the April, 1981. Now we wanted to meet some of those people who are still alive and talk to them about the changes they have been experiencing over the two and half decades. What I told about the idea of meeting the “cover girl”, Wanda was excited. And we talked about imitating what National Geographic magazine did with their cover girl (an Afghan refugee).

[Read the story here.]

Collective thrashing of Koru by the men of Nar (women helped them with sifting and other things) was definitely worth watching. The rhythmic act of thrashing the grains with the help of Gyalpo, an equipment made up of four small sticks tied together by Yak leather and then joined to another longer handle, reminded me of army parade: Ghrap, ghraph, ghrap. Jenny was standing nearby and I asked her how she would describe the scene. “It is rhythmic,” she said. “Like a heartbeat.” Wow! That was cool observation. The heartbeat part was particularly striking. Lovely one. That may be because Jen is an artist and with warm heart. I wanted to count. Well, it is a slow heartbeat for sure: 60 beats or ‘ghrap’ ‘ghrap’ per minute. Thanks Brooke for the counter watch.

The village of Nar has definitely changed over the years. My impression of the village was formed after reading the book “Cloud Dwellers” and when I reached the village I found that the residents of Nar have been exposed to the rest of the world more than they were 25 years ago. They were no more isolated though geographically they still live in a different world. Kathmandu and rest of the world is jus a call away and those pine lamps have “miraculously” been replaced by, as the “cover girl” brilliantly put it, “the fire.” She was pointing out to a fluorescent tube that was glowing on her house’s ceiling powered by a micro hydro project in the village. The trail leading up to Chame (touching the famous Annapurna circuit trail) has been widened so that mules could carry stuffs up to 4,105 meters high residential

To be surrounded by the Himals from all sides while staying in Nar (and most of the places above Meta) was an unforgettable experience. I was surprised to see about 5 football grounds size of grazing field (almost flat) just above Nar residential area (less than a minute walk up to East). After seeing such a big grazing field (also on way to Kanga Phedi), I am convinced why there are so many cattle (Yaks, cows and horses) in the village.

Nar, compared to Phu, is bigger, more exposed to Kathmandu and has two hotels. We used the dining facility and camping site of one of those hotels.

Nar women in field work

Women in Nar digging the field so that it would be easier to plant Koru when the return in the village spending six month in Meta or in other parts of Nepal.

Nar Yak ploughing

Yak are the most userful animals in this part of the world

Nar Yak ploughing

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2 thoughts on “Nar Phu Trek: Finally In The Village Of Nar: Day 10 of 16

  1. When we arrived in Nar, I was overwhelmed by the sound of the men thrashing the grain. As Dinesh quoted me, it sounded like a heartbeat. One night, I woke up at 3:30 to the sound of the sound of the men working. I left my tent because I found it impossible to sleep. The moon was almost full, the light made the mountain ‘Pisang’ glisten. It was strange, I could see the same constellations as I can see at home. The village felt alive and pulsated in beat. One of the porter girls, Dolmo came out to join me. We stayed up until the sun rose. I think she fell asleep.

    Pema woke up and brought us tea and we continued to watch the men working. Dinesh asked me to describe the sound and I said it reminded me of a heartbeat. As the sun rose, the village gradually came to where the men were working. Dinesh and I discussed what we thought about the village. I suggested that life in Nar was perhaps more fulfilling than a more Western life. All of the people in the village were working together. I realize the land and the life is not very forgiving and the people stay there because there are few opportunities. But they are alive.

    The children, the elderly remain an active part of the culture. Sitting in Starbucks, in Grande Prairie, I found myself asking the same questions. It was cold and snowing. Not one person was walking. Of course, in this city there are very few sidewalks. People were driving in big trucks. Most cars only had one person. I found myself feeling depressed. No one looked in eachother’s eyes, no one smiled. In the Western world, yes-there is money. People live in convenience and are able to buy many things. However, they do not look alive. They always look like they are waiting for something; waiting for something to happen, waiting for meaning to enter their life, waiting perhaps to die.

    In the village of Nar, I felt alive. I felt the vulnerability of life. The people work so har. They have meanin. We were traveling in a group of approximately 38 people. I felt as though I was part of a family for the first time in a very long time. I would give up a world of things to live in a world of meaning – for the opportunity to feel and be reminded of life.

    jenn

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