Our camp was set up in Ghara, the most remote village in the remote former Himalayan Kingdom of Mustang. Our itinerary for the day had us hiking above Ghara, the final village on the trail, into the mountains above to Luri Gompa, a Buddhist monastery older than any in neighboring Tibet. I told our group to expect to have the trail to ourselves for the day.
Sure enough, 15 minutes from Ghara we spy two local women ahead of us, dressed in their finest outfits. I immediately assume that they, like us, are pilgrims en route to Luri. How wrong I was, and happily so.
Although there are no villages above Luri, there is one home, and that’s where these two women were headed. When we caught up to them, I asked them where they were going. To my utter surprise, one of them pointed to the other and said, “She’s getting married this morning.” The speaker was our equivalent of the maid of honor. There were no horses, no trumpets blaring, just two good friends walking along to the wedding of one of them. One of our trekkers, pictured here, engaged the bride-to-be in conversation, wanting to know as much as she could about the wedding.
Next thing you know, we were invited to attend the wedding. Fifteen minutes later we found ourselves the guests of honor at a Loba (what the people of Mustang are called) wedding. Because we had a full day on the trail ahead of us, we only stayed for a half hour, but the meeting and conversation with the bride and her friend, and our short stay at the wedding reminded me of how important it is to be on the lookout so that when that most magical of travel (and life) elements called serendipity comes knocking, you’re alert enough to take advantage of it.
~ Steve Conlon
Above the Clouds