Rolwaling: About Rolwaling
Rolwaling is a remote mountain valley situated in the north east of Nepal, next to the Everest region. the valley is bordered to china to the north . And the valley stands at the height of around 4000 mt.from the sea level.
According to local lore, Rolwaling is a beyul, a "hidden valley" plowed out by the tantric saint Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) 1200 years ago to serve as a sanctuary for dharma in a future time of intolerance -- a clear reference to the Chinese invasion. He stopped there on his way to Tibet and did vast meditation practices. Magnificient landmarks such as UGEN SHUTI,KHANDO SHUTI, PHURBI DUPKHANG etc. which back up the story, can still be seen .
The first incursion into Rolwaling Valley by Westerners was in 1951 by the second British Reconnaissance Expedition, lead by Edmund Hillary. Hillary and Ridford approached the valley over the Tashi Laptsa pass while testing oxygen equipment. After spending a few nights on the pass, they descended into the valley and became the first known westerners to set foot in Rolwaling.
A year later, in 1952, another British mountaineering group approached the valley via Barabise, to the west. Present on this Expedition was Tom Wier who wrote East of Kathmandu which included the first written account of the valley. Shipton, Evans and Gregory subsequently approached the valley from Tibet over the Menlung La. Although they were unable to find a way down through the heavily crevased icefield, they were rewarded with the first ever Western encounter with the yeti. Shipton took several famous photographs and sparked a worldwide obsession has continued, somewhat abated, to this day.
Rolwaling is rich in natural resources. There are prominent mountain peaks like Mount Gaurishankar, Pharchamo, Ramdung, Chekigo, Nachugo, Khangtari and several virgin peaks. The Tso Rolpa lake and Omi Tso are the two lakes in Rolwaling . Waterfalls can been seen throughout the valley.
Despite being at high altitude the Rolwaling has diverse flora and founa. Thick forests can been seen at the base of mountain slopes. Variety of seasonal flowers grow there . Also the valley is habitat for white langurs( monkey), snow leopard, danphe, yaks, zopkyak etc.
The inhabitants of Rolwaling are the sherpas only. The valley is home for around 100 sherpa families. The Sherpa settlement in this valley began in 14th century when they migrated from Tibet and Khumbu region.
Life is nomadic in Rolwaling. Farming and cattle rearing is the primitive occupation . the people move to higher grassland during summer and rainy season, whereas they move down to low land during winter.
The life is very hard in the valley. The land is very limited and suitable to grow only potatoes and raddish. Therefore, no food crops grow in the valley. The people barter potatoes for rice and millet, with the people from near by village, which is two days walk away.
Since tourism opened a new way of earning livelihood , mountain climbing has become the main occupation of the men.
Rolwaling has its own culture and tradition. Buddhism is the only religion followed there, and ‘Sherpa’ is the common language. The whole community share common norms and values.Related link: www.rolwaling .com