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Monk Chants

Recorded on August 20, 1995, at the Rinchenpung Monastery. Symbolically Vajrayogini’s naval, the gompa houses a statue of Rang Rig Gyapo - the king of self-awareness and the wrathful emanation of Padmasambhava. The monk chants are an invocation to this meditation deity to protect all sentient beings from the consequences of their own misguided behavior.

 94 #57

55 34 1994 TG Cable Crossing Po Tsangpo
A porter sets the line for our river cable crossing.

94 #58

56 5 1994 TG Troy Praying before Cable Crossing
Troy Gillenwater offers a last-minute prayer before placing his life in the hands of our porters.

94 #59

57 51 1994 TG Troy Strapping in for Cable Crossing Po Tsangpo
Troy Gillenwater grins as he’s lashed to the pulley.

94 #60

58 41 1994 TG Cable Crossing Po Tsangpo
Troy Gillenwater midway over the Po Tsangpo River. He must now pull himself up to our group waiting on the other side.

94 #61

59 67a 1994 Gil Cable Crossing PoTsangPo
Gil Gillenwater readies for his cable crossing.

94 #62

60 14a 1995 Snake Viper on Fern
Tibetan bamboo pit viper coiled and camouflaged on a broad leaf. The porters call these vipers “Nagas.”

94 #63

61 72a 1994 gil w Huge Leech
A tiger leech full of Gil Gillenwater’s blood.

94 #64

62 30 1994 TG View from Zachu
The hamlet of Zachu has the cat-bird seat at the apex of the Great Bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. Here the Himalayan views are endless.


94 #65

63 26 1994 TG Zachu Boy w Dalai Lama Necklace
A Monpa boy from Zachu. In addition to their ubiquitous daggers, note the Dalai Lama portrait on a string around his neck. Even in the Hidden Lands, they love their God King.


94 #66

64 55 1994 TG Gil w Monpa Family in Zachu
Our hosts in Zachu – a young Monpa family.


94 #67

65 66a 1994 Troy Kid Zachu
Troy Gillenwater shows his camera and zoom lens to a young Monpa boy above the village of Zachu. Introducing outside technology is tricky business.

94 #68

66 29 1994 TG Gil in Monpa House
A typical Monpan kitchen. That night we slept in the smoky attic above.

94 #69

94 B 18 19a 1995 Gil Tough Guy Monpa KidsTibetan tough guys.


94 #70

67 48 1994 TG Gil Jerry on Side of Stream
Gil Gillenwater and Jerry Dixon above the stream where Jerry had a leech attach to his eye.

94 #71

68 132 1994 Troy Monpas
Troy Gillenwater mingling with the locals on our hike back to Pelung (Leaping Rat Lodge). We are as curious to them as they are to us.

94 #72

69 27 1994 TG Gil Bill Bacon w Monpa Porters
Gil Gillenwater and Bill Bacon give the porters a break on the hike back to Pelung (Leaping Rat Lodge).

94 #73

71 3 1994 TG Troy Jerry Gil Leaping Rat
Left to right: Troy Gillenwater, Jerry Dixon, and Gil Gillenwater, happy to be safely back at the infamous Leaping Rat Lodge.


94 #74

72 161b 1994 Island Monestary
Tashi Island and its Tsozong Gongba Monastery appear to float as the crown jewel on the emerald Basong Tso Lake. Built in A.D. 1400, Tsozong means “Castle in the Lake.”

94 #75

73 19 1994 TG Wooden Raft to Magic Island
Riding a hand-pulled log ferry for the short crossing to Tashi Island. There, Troy Gilenwater, Gil Gillenwater, and Chris Grace each receive a special blessing from the head lama in the monastery’s inner sanctum.

94 #76

74 84a 1994 Tibetan Ceremony Tent
A Buddhist ceremonial tent erected next to the lake.

94 #77

76 60a 1994 Troy Chris Drinking Chang
Not to be rude, Troy Gillenwater, Chris Grace, and Gil Gillenwater get just as drunk on chang as the locals.

94 #78

77 61a 1994 Monestary Island Group Photo
Ferrying back to the mainland from Tashi Island, we are immediately surrounded by a throng of Tibetans in traditional dress. Before we leave, we gather a brightly clad group of locals on the ferry landing for a parting photograph. Truly a day to remember.


94 #79

78 132a 1994 Potala
The Potala (the Dalai Lama’s palace) is a 13-storied building containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines, and 200,000 statues. Situated on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill," at 384 feet in height, it has a commanding view over the Lhasa Valley. The year we are there – 1994 – it is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

94 #80 & #81

79 125a 1994 Yak Butter Lamps in Jokhang

80 124a 1994 Prayer Wheels in Jokhang
Built in AD 652, the Jokhang Temple is Tibet’s most revered sanctuary and the "spiritual heart” of Lhasa. In 2000, the Jokhang became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an extension of the Potala Palace.

94 #82

81 126a 1994 Barkhor w Potala in Back
The Barkhor’s public square with the Potala Palace hovering on the top right. The two large incense burners (sangkangs) are fed juniper boughs constantly to please the gods protecting the Jokhang.


94 #83

82 87a 1994 Sara Monestary w Young Monks
Gil Gillenwater and young “Monks in Training” at the Sera Monastery.

94 #84

83 130a 1994 Everest from Drive
It’s a long, dusty 600-mile drive from Lhasa, Tibet, to Kathmandu, Nepal. But the view of Mt. Everest from the north makes it all worthwhile.

94 #85

84 33a 1994 New Tengri
The ruins of the ancient Shelkar Dorje dzong (fort) snake up the mountain above New Tingri. This fortress was constructed in 1266 to protect the Kagyu Monastery.

94 #86

94 B 57 24 1994 TG Gil on New Tengri FortressThe climb up to the Shelkar Dorje dzong affords spectacular views.


94 #87

94 B 59 20 1994 TG Troy Above Valley New Tengri
Soon the climbing becomes very steep.


94 #88

85 21 1994 TG Troy w New Tengri in Background
Skulking through town to avoid detection, we follow a centuries-worn pilgrimage path up to a saddle. Troy Gillenwater stands amongst 800 years of devotional Mani stones and prayer flags crowding the pass. Now the real climbing is about to begin.


94 #89

86 4 1994 TG Troy Gil top of New Tengri
A night Troy and Gil Gillenwater shall never forget atop the Shelkar Dorje dzong.




95 #1

95 A 1 42 1995 TG Todd Gil Christiaan in Hong Kong 2
Todd and Gil Gillenwater on the streets of Kowloon, Hong Kong with their new friend and fellow expedition member - Christiaan Kuypers.


95 #2

95 A 2 40 1995 TG Gil Todd Troy Christiaan Smoking in Top Gun Bar HK
Left to right: Gil, Todd, Troy Gillenwater with fellow expedition member Christiaan Kuypers - having a gay old time in the, “Top Gun” bar. This did wonders for our jet-lag.


95 #3

95 A 3 88b 1995 Buddha Eyes
Buddha eyes on the Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu.


95 #4

95 A 4 02b 1994 Buring Body w Feet KathmanduBodies burning at the Pashupatinath Temple funeral pyres in Kathmandu on the edge of the Bagmati River.


95 #5

95 A 5 54b 1995 GTT Chistiaan Oy in Kathmandu Before
Left to right: Oy Kanjanavanit, Christiaan Kuypers, Troy Gillenwater, Todd Gillenwater, Gil Gillenwater


95 #6

95 A 6 10 1995 TG Bhakha Tulku Puja Ceremony in Kathmandu 1
Bhakha Tulku appeases the Himalayan mountain gods with a two-hour Puja Ceremony.


95 #7

95 A 7 Dalai Lama 2
Photo taken in Tucson, Arizona, of the Dalai Lama in front of a saguaro cactus. I had 100 copies laminated and smuggled them into Tibet.


95 #8

95 A 8 4b 1995 Todd Chritissn Oy
Left to right: Todd Gillenwater, Christiaan Kuypers & Oy Kanjanavanit. On our way to Lhasa, Tibet. Little did we know what lay in store.


95 #9

95 A 9 9 1995 TG Ian w Hamid Eating Chicken Foot in Pome
Hamid Sardar pretending to eat a chicken foot while Ian Baker searches for the elusive chicken breast.


95 #10

95 A 10 104a 1995 Muddy Truck Ride
Following a military convoy in the rain, the muddy road leads us deeper and deeper into the land of Vajrayogini.


95 #11

95 A 11 45 1994 TG Lumber Town TumbatseSlogging through the logging town of Tumbatse. Not much has changed in 13 months.


95 #12

95 A 12 139b 1995 Stuck in Stream Drive In
Passing Pelung (Leaping Rat Lodge), the road conditions are deteriorated.


95 #13, 14, 15

95 A 15 72 1995 TG Truck on Landslide Road on Way In

95 A 13 5 1995 Truck in Landslide 2

95 A 14 6 1995 Truck in Landslide 3
“Landslide Alley” - a lottery of luck. Some made it. Some didn’t.


95 #16

95 A 16 78a 1995 Bhaka Monestary
Through cloud tangled skies waterfalls appeared as wedding veils, serenading the valley with pouring grace.


95 #17

95 A 17 164a 1995 Ian Mr Gunn Monk Porters
At the Bhakha Monastery, Ian Baker and our Chinese travel liaison - Geng Quanru - (AKA Mr. Gunn) negotiate with the monks and local Monpa tribal people to serve as porters on our pilgrimage. A few females are a must to balance the male energy.


95 #18

95 A 18 80a 1995 Basket Making BhakaAt the Bhakha Monastery, the local Monpa tribal people weave their own backpacks.


95 #19

95 A 19 76a 1995 Tea Bhaka w Group At the Bhakha Monastery. Left to right: Todd Gillenwater, Christiaan Kuypers, Mr. Zang (seated in army camouflage), Mr. Gunn, Troy Gillenwater and Oy Kanjanavanit. Note: nobody is swallowing the rancid Yak butter tea.


95 #20

95 A 20 42b 1995 Todd Troy Eating Chinese FoodTodd and Troy Gillenwater eating a lukewarm dinner at the “Carnage Cafe”. When we got back to our dumpy room Troy asked Todd, “Did that dinner taste a little weird to you?”


95 #21

95 A 21 71 1995 TG Roller Rink in Pome“Surreal” is the only way to describe a roller skating rink in the squalid frontier town of Pome.



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