Â Aloneness (10.22) | Chele La Pass, Kilagompa Nunnery
I have this journal from 2005.
I’d started it there on the presumption that I’d be taking that to Bhutan, finishing it in 2006. But I couldn’t put the trip together, given the complexities of making it happen.
There are procedures, challenges, visas, applications that are difficult for the administratively challenged. I’m one of those. Leaving Paro, driving to Chele La Pass (11.5K m), high up in the mountains, I could see this. And it was just this kind of outpost that I’d found fascinating. How could something like this be built — how could someone conceive of something like this for centuries — and for it to continue for hundreds?
Kilagompa Nunnery is accessible only by a climb to the location; and it’s relatively easy, but staggeringly beautiful terrain. Actually, it’s a lot like the Northwest — you could say: Winthrop and the North Cascades; you could say Cle Ele Lum. And while it’s like them, it’s nothing like them.
You can see it as a grouping of tiny outcroppings, nestled in the cliffs and forest below an escarpment that rises to the ridge and pass beyond. Clouds and mist curl and twist on the edge of the buildings. There is little light showing…
As you get there, get closer, the only thing that suggests that there is life there is little wisps of smoke curling from some of the buildings — and this rips way in the roaring wind.
It’s there, in the distance, across the valley:
The last chorten, before the final climb, sun cresting over the hill.
Nestlings, blinded by light:
The way, portal to the nunnery: Kilagompa.
The sun retreating, prayer shafts of light, saying good bye, to this passage.
The character of the structures, teetering yet rooted…
The portal of the prayer wheels:
This picture was taken by Dawn Clark.
The nuns, pet and spaces…
The sun gone, mist prevails, evening beckons: