On Tuesday morning, the meeting point was at Funky Buddha. On an organic farm located in the Kathmandu valley, a festival with local sadhus (Hindu ascetics) and shamans was starting. Although the lack of organisation led to my going back and forth several times from the meeting
point to the buses, I finally managed to get onto one going to the festival’s location. The journey was supposed to last two hours but ended up lasting twice as long. We drove along damaged and uneven roads with the massive Himalayan landscape before us, feeling as if we were on a rocking boat - except that instead of water around us there were precipices on the side of the road. I thought that I would have to get used to this since it is normal here.
After four intense hours, I finally arrived at the festival’s location on a green hill in front of the breathtaking Himalayan range and put up my tent next to those of other people who had come here from all over the world. There were French, Germans, English, Swedish, Canadians, Russians, Lebanese, Israelis, Chinese, Turks, Iranians, Indians but also many local people. During the festival we saw different cultural shows and musical performances.
A sadhu (photo) told his story: fifteen years ago in Pondicherry, in India, he had become enlightened and his hunger ceased. He now feeds on solar energy, while meditating many hours a day: photosynthesis is his vital essence. I observed him during his meditation and it seemed as if he went into a trance, completely hypnotised by the sun. I didn’t spend my time at the festival keeping an eye on him all the time, so I don’t know whether his story was true or not!
The shamans from the nearby villages came to dance and sing according to their rituals. We got to hear Nepalese music, with foreigners and locals of all ages dancing together - not only a cultural event, but also very much a social one. This made me very happy (video) and I think I can say the same for the others. Although it had become cold, those who wanted to could dance under the full moon to trance or chillout music. These three days were truly unique, from a human, cultural and environmental point of view. Unfortunately, the festival ended a day early because one of the older organisers died of a heart attack, so the decision was taken - rightly - to end the festival.
This morning, as soon as I heard the bad news, I got onto the first bus to Kathmandu. My next goal will certainly be the ‘highest’ I’ve ever had: trekking for fifteen days on the Annapurna circuit, crossing Thorung La Pass at 5400 metres with a backdrop of peaks reaching over 8000 metres.