A trip to Dailekh and the Lava Temples

About a third of the family has left and gone away for vacation. Some have gone to cousin’s homes, others to their biological parents’ villages in Kalikot. To keep the kids who stayed in Kopila Valley from getting antsy, the volunteers and Maggie have been keeping them busy. Almost all the kids have learned to swim at the local pool, we organized a “Skills Challenge” and divided them up in 5 teams (events included prestigious events such as carrying a plate on your head or high distance water balloon tosses), and one visitor even organized a game show quiz for the whole family.

Dailekh on the map.

Dailekh on the map.

Last week, we all boarded the school bus at 7 am to go visit the “Lava Temples” of Dailekh, to the North. It was a 3-hour bus ride during which half the kids vomited as we wove our way over a string of mountains covered in a thick fog that blanketed our anticipated view of the Himilayas. This was followed by a 2 hour trek over undrivable roads and suspension bridges (which I studied carefully, since we plan to include one at the new campus), past howling bands of monkeys, with spectacular views of steep rice patties covering any fertile soil.

Patties on patties.

Patties on patties.

One part of the walk, through a forest of Sal.

One part of the walk, through a forest of Sal.

Hari sprints across the suspension bridge.

Hari sprints across the suspension bridge.

 

It was a long journey. The temples were fascinating, made all the more so because we were among the first foreigners to visit them, and contained no true “lava” but rather were built above a natural gas reservoir. There were four in total, separated by at least two miles, and each one contained a flame that never went out. 2 miles between and both places gushing natural gas? Frack, baby, frack!

Quesar and Namraj, (biological) brothers.

Quesar and Namraj, (biological) brothers.

Into the darkness, through the hobbit hole.

Into the darkness, through the hobbit hole.

 

From the outside, looking in from daylight, no flame could be seen. And the effect was that upon entering the darkness of the temple, a lick of fire would suddenly emerge  from the wall of the temple.

At our farthest point, we passed by a group of 5 men and boys in nothing but loin cloths burning a funeral pyre on a river shadowed by a gargantuan banyan tree. They had all just shaved their heads, and made quite a sight. Out of respect, I didn’t take a picture, though I kind of wish I had. I climbed the banyan tree – the crotch of it was big enough to fit a queen sized bed.

Large banyan tree.

Large banyan tree.

The drummer crew that appeared out of nowhere.

The drummer crew that appeared out of nowhere.

The Fellows + Maggie - my face (from Becky's blog).

The Fellows + Maggie – my face and Kelly. From Becky’s blog.

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4 comments on “A trip to Dailekh and the Lava Temples

  1. Tim says:

    The countryside is far more lush than I expected; what’s the elevation at the school?

  2. jane says:

    wow, luke, those are wonderful pictures and stories. it’s amazing to me that you can go from the red sox to an exploration of lava temples and patties on patties. talk about bridging two worlds!

  3. Cass says:

    that tree is so cool! is it a kind of fig?

  4. Very interesting information!Perfect just what I was searching for! “One man’s folly is another man’s wife.” by Helen Rowland.

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