Change of Winds

Sifting through heaps of unworked footage gathered over the past two years in search of images for a talk on Himalayan pathways later today, I stumble upon these three time-lapse shots from Lubrak, lower Mustang.

On a cold October night, almost exactly 19 lunar months ago, I put my camera on the flat roof of my friend’s house when the full moon was about to rise. While dinner was being prepared and an the shooting of an upcoming ritual discussed I went back a couple of times to try a new angle. Seeing the play of moonlight shadows, I was stunned by the results but did not know what to do with them. The valley’s nocturnal beauty never seemed to warrant a post. Now, I notice that I unknowingly captured an experience everybody is familiar with in Mustang: the change of winds.

The Kali Gandaki, by some measures the world’s deepest gorge, cuts right through the main Himalayan chain and provides one the easiest passages between Tibet and the Indian subcontinent. It has been used as a major trans-Himalayan trade route for centuries. The topographical advantage of the valley transcending the Himalayas, however, comes at a price. The Kali Gandaki is known for its extremely strong up-valley winds that pick up every morning. People coming down from Tibet or Lo Manthang cover their faces to protect them against the sand carried by the wind. At night, the wind stops and sometimes a light breeze flows down the valley.

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