Back after the Annapurna circuit, where recent snowstorms have taken the lives of 39 mountaineers, I met this sadhu who was on his way to Muktinath. Sadhus are Hindu ascetics. They are supposed to be in the fourth phase of the Hindu reincarnation and their modus vivendi It consists in renouncing the mundane and base your life on meditating and thus finding the fundamental values of our existence. You will find many sadhus in areas where the sacred is mixed with the tourist in places like Kathmandu or Varanasi. Be suspicious when they ask you for money in exchange for a photograph, in many cases the imposters camouflage themselves and play with the good faith of the clueless.
He came from Delhi, the sadhu, walking - Vishnu, Shiva and Brama will know together how many days he would take! - and he was going to the sacred place of Muktinath at almost 4,000 meters high among the lost mountains of the Himalayas, with the walls of the Annapurna so close and so imposing.
Muktinath's translation means "the place of salvation" and the sadhu was headed there.
Under the perfidious monsoon at the beginning of September, the sadhu remained persistent with his purpose of reaching his destination. Surely he fed himself with a small cup of rice that he received as a handout and some tea that the villagers would kindly offer him. He had exceeded more than 1,000 kilometers and he had only 50 left to reach the salvation. However, the steeper slope was expected in a final test of faith and will.
The unevenness and the Gandaki river, also called Sapta for being the seventh of the rivers that flow into the sacred Ganges. One of the great rivers of Nepal that is born from the most impregnable glaciers of the Himalayas with the Dhaulagiri, the seventh highest peak in the world.
Merchants crossing the Gandaki River at the height of Kagbeni
The Gandaki River converges with the mythical kingdom of Mustang and, in its wake, wastes water, stones, ammonites and everything that a geologist would put on his bedside table to contemplate as a most precious gift before going to sleep.
The river expands and deceives the traveler, because the channel seems completely dry but inside it hides a large body of water capable of ending any restriction of African water.
A few kilometers further we find Jomoson with its airport that returns humans to western life. Anyway, it is best to pay attention to the sadhu and continue on the way up, reach the town of Kagbeni and rest with a good tea with yak milk, contemplate the views that the Dhaulagiri and Annapurna I Colossi offer us and continue on the way up.
Tireless, the sadhu moved one leg and then the other. Inflexible with his mission in life, the sadhu was heading to the place where the most pleasant earthly death of all possible awaited him.