Langtang Trek Day 6 Lama Hotel to Shyaphru
Click here to read about day 5.
The started like any other multiple day trek. I woke up ate breakfast and started hiking with my guide. I had no idea that my day would end with me meeting a Himalayan shaman in Shyaphru and being accepted as his apprentice after a 3-hour ceremony. My mom always says, “You have no idea where the day will take you!” This was especially true this day.
Lama Hotel to Shyaphru in 3.5 hours
I was a little sad to be finishing the trek today because I didn’t want to leave it behind. Looking back on it, Langtang is one of those treks that that isn’t left behind but stays with you.
I took my time getting out of bead at Lama Hotel. My guide and I got up and ate breakfast at 6:30. I had a terrible paper mache tasting oatmeal. Fortunately, it didn’t last long, and we were back on the trail at 7:00. We ran into a flock of goats on the way down. Goats are so much fun to play with. We spent 30 minutes petting them and chasing them around.
We were about an hour into our hike when clouds started to form. I was a little anxious because I didn’t want to get rained on, but I decided to throw my doubts away and enjoy the experience. The air grew colder, and crisp mist lightly touched my cheeks as I walked through the forests. I knew it was going to rain.
A group of Nepali men must have sensed it too, because they were hiking extremely fast. After they past us we didn’t see them again until we rounded a corner overlooking the Langtang River. There was a deer drinking water at the rivers edge.
About 2 hours later, my guide and I were back in Shyaphru. Just as we were walking into the hotel, it started to rain. Perfect timing!
If you are interested in experiencing the Langtang Trek for yourself, click here to learn more.
Shaman in Shyaphru
I unpacked my gear and tried to pass the time as peacefully as possible, while it rained. it was too frustrating and I couldn’t contain myself. I was out playing in the rain like a little kid with rubber boot and rain jacket on. However, I had neither boot or rain jacket on. I had a t-shirt and flip flops.
If my friend Sarah is reading this, she is probably shaking her head and thinking he’s going to get sick. Hi Sarah! I didn’t get sick. So, Ha!
What the rain did was make the Nepali store owners worry about me enough to invite me into their store and out of the rain. I reluctantly accepted, which led to an awesome conversation about Jhakri. Jhakri are Himalayan shamans.
The store owner told me there was a shaman in Shyaphru and that I needed to see him. “The adventure begins,” I thought. I will see this shaman in Shyaphru.
I went to his house, about a 15-minute walk up a hill, but he wasn’t home. The store owner said he will be back at night time, and we should come back later to meet him.
Since the rain had stopped, I went back to the hotel and dried off. I then ate a dal bhat lunch and hung out for a little while. I still had a lot of energy and decided to walk around Shyaphru again.
At 7:00 I met the shaman in Shyaphru.
The shaman’s ceremony
It was just after dark and the shops were lighted by the dull yellow glow of incandescent bulbs. The shaman told me I needed rice, a scarf, and a beer. This was starting to get weird and I was into it. I spent 4 and got the requested items.
He took me to his home where his wife was lighting candles and burning incense. The Jhakri took the rice and poured them into a bronze plate. I was then instructed to give him a blessing by putting the scarf around his neck. His wife took the beer and poured it into glasses for everyone to drink.
We talked for a little bit and his wife brought tea for everyone. (beer and tea together was a first). He then requested a donation. I placed $2 in the plate of rice. He then asked for a larger donation of $15, which kind of made me laugh but also upset me a little.
When I gave it to him, he took the money out of the rice then started sifting through the rice like he was panning for gold. He moved the rice kernels to one side of the plate and with a slight shift a few kernels fell to the other end of the plate.
The plate was shook until about 12 kernels of rice were separated from the rest of the plate. I was asked to place the kernels in my right hand and put it to my forehead then repeat the process with my left hand. After I did this a few times I kept the rice in both hands and shook them by my head 3 times.
I then cast the rice kernels onto an empty plate, which the shaman took.
The shaman’s chant
He took the plate with 12 kernels of rice on it and started to chant while holding the plate over the incense. The chanting started loud and rhythmic, but as he progressed, it grew softer and became more of a conversation.
He asked for my right hand, then placed the rice in it, paying attention to where and how the rice fell in my hand. Afterward he read my palm and fingerprints on my right and left hands.
The shaman’s reading
He told me what he saw for 15 minutes. It was a long reading, all of which I didn’t understand. At the end of it though, he told me I would become his apprentice when I came back to Nepal.
Imagine that, Craig the shaman.