Breakfast this morning is interrupted by the shouts and excited sounds of the
Sherpa camp above. Soon enough our Sirdar, Naga Dorjee, BC Manager, Pertemba
Sherpa calls us forward to take part in Puja ceremony.
With climbing equipment and prayer flags to be blessed we scramble up the
slope. Suddenly all that noise through breakfast becomes understandable, there
now stands a large stone alter adorned in prayer flags, candles, incense
sticks and offerings of rice, taltersampa and assorted chocolate bars.
Ushered into position we sit crossed legged in front of the granite alter,
beyond we gaze upon the western shoulder of Everest and the Khumbu ice field.·
The ceremony is led by Phurba Tshering Sherpa, who happens to be a Lama
released by his monastery for the climbing season. Knelt in front of the alter
Phurba Tshering Sherpa is reading aloud from Tibetan scripts, slowly but
surely his chanting silences the crowd.
Occasionally laughter breaks out as the Sherpas share jokes becoming at times
light hearted; above the sky is blue and the prayer flags flutter in the wind.
All the time my legs are screaming at me to get up, looking around I can see
the grimaces of Bill, Alan, Gia, Niam and Loveraj confirm I am not alone
Binita, Rajendra, Nandini, and Kapil are beginning to look a little pained.
Only if I could stretch my little legs.
To one side of the alter a fire is lit of juniper and incense sticks, the
smoke is thick and acrid as it hangs heavy like gun smoke amongst us. Eyes
watering, coughing, I can here Paul and Eberhard moaning as they try to adjust
their numb neither regions.
Encouraged by the Sherpa’s we throw rice towards the alter, drinks are then
brought forward and snacks are shared amongst the climbers. Sherpas’s chanting
increases in volume as he asks Everest’s guardian spirits for our safe passage
As a finishing touch a flag pole is erected from the centre of the alter, it
is adorned with more prayer flags that are then ran out for over 50m in a
north, east, south and west direction.· Ushered to our feet, legs screaming
with joy, we stand around and gaze at the magnificence of what we have been
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