Main navigation:
Main content:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It’s Called “Mountain”

Steve Conlon en route to Manaslu, below Rupina La (1977)

For years I’d been intrigued by Manaslu, the world’s eighth tallest peak in central Nepal. I knew that some peaks in Nepal had Nepali names, others had Tibetan names, and some, like Mt. Everest had both, plus its more well-known English name. But from the name, I couldn’t tell if Manaslu was a Tibetan name or Nepali.

I arrived at Sama Gaon, location of Manaslu base camp on the north side of the peak, and took up residence in my sleeping bag on the floor of the Tibetan Buddhist monastery.

The next morning I had a conversation with the head lama. I thought to ask him what he called Manaslu, towering directly overhead us, assuming that whatever name he called it would be the Tibetan name, and that would solve my puzzle. When I asked him, he looked up at what to him had to be a very familiar daily sight, turned back to me and replied, “Himal.” Himal is the Nepali word for mountain. Somewhat confused, I then pointed to the peak across the valley, called Phungi on my map, and asked him what he called that mountain. Smiling wryly, without glancing up, he said, “That’s also Himal.” Slowly catching on, I pointed to another peak down valley and said, “I bet that one’s also called ‘Himal’.” The teacher in him now smiled broadly and he nodded as if to say, “Very good, you’re catching on now. And anyway, why do you foreigners have to know the name and exact height in feet and meters of every himal. Why can’t you just take it in and admire it for what it is?”

~Steve Conlon
Above The Clouds

To top

Share |

Post a Comment

No Account Needed! To post a comment without any kind of account, you can type in a name or nickname and an email (which is not displayed) then select “I'd rather post as guest.” We’d love to hear from you!

comments powered by Disqus
Lo Gaon and Manaslu

Related Posts

It is the combination of mountains and people that have long made Nepal one of the most treasured adventure travel destinations on the planet.

Check Out Our Sample Nepal Itineraries:

  • The Forbidden Kingdom of Mustang

    • Come explore what the Dalai Lama has called the last bastion of living Tibetan Buddhism.

  • Trekking Everest

    • The valley leading to Everest (also called the Khumbu) offers a variety of treks ranging from one week to three, all providing wonderful exposure to the indigenous Sherpa culture and access to the biggest mountains on earth.

  • Trekking Manaslu & Tsum Valleys

    • Nestled into the base of the Himalayas, these valleys are located close to the major hubs of travel in Nepal but are also not frequently visited. With lots of trekking and heli-trekking options, this is area is prime for adventure!

  • Trekking East Nepal

    • Remote, rarely traveled and absolutely beautiful! This corner of the Himalaya boasts fabulous views, tribal villages and unique experiences that can be done in a week or up to a month.

Check Out Our Other Destinations Too!