Mt. Everest Expedition: The Team’s Puja Ceremony

Posted by: Dave Hahn, Seth Waterfall | April 08, 2013
Categories: *Expedition Dispatches *Everest
Elevation: 17,575'

This day had auspicious written all over it.  Our Sirdar Lam Babu consulted the Tibetan calendar and made a few calls.  This was the day for our Puja ceremony.  A lama was brought up from Pangboche and our Puja alter was made ready.  Today was the day for the entire team to get together for a Buddhist ceremony asking the gods to look favorably on our expedition.  The Pangboche lama was actually pretty busy as several other teams were similarly in need of blessing.  The drums started beating and the cymbals started clashing for ours just after lunch on another big blue sky day.  A number of Sherpas from neighboring teams joined us in our celebration.  There were chants and prayers and various offerings of juniper smoke, food and drink.  There were a number of things tossed into the sky and onto each other, principally rice and tsampa (barley flour) and a little chiang -a lightly fermented homemade rice wine with bits of orange.  The climax of the ceremony begins with the Puja mast going up with strings of brightly colored prayer flags going out in all directions from it.  Finally we all stand and toast each other, shake hands and ask each other to be careful on this climbing trip.

The birds certainly enjoy the day as a whole flock of black Himalayan Chuffs (a little smaller than a crow) descend to get the spare offerings.  We also enjoyed watching smaller sparrow and finch types joining in the festivities.

Most retired to the tents for a post puja nap for the remainder of the afternoon.  Tomorrow we will put the spikes on and go for a walk on the glacier.  Slowly but surely, out bodies are catching up to this altitude and soon we’ll be ready for some hard climbing.

Best Regards,
RMI Guide Dave Hahn

Up with the Puja Mast. Photo: Dave Hahn Offerings given during the Puja ceremony. Photo: Dave Hahn

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Comments

James, I look forward to your triumphant summit.  The mountain will let you know if she is ready.  I know you are.  I wish I could be there to support you as you have supported and encouraged me on climbs in the past.  Cheers my friend !!!

Posted by: Ray Brown on 4/9/2013 at 6:30 am

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