Abstract=We take the road to Lhasa. We join the Kyi chu river before taking a side valley leading to the caves of Yerpa. We then continue toward Lhasa.
Pempo - In this part of the city, there are some Chinese style buildings, but the city is airy enough and rather well integrated in the landscape. In this valley, the roads and the fields are bordered by an alignments of trees (like the southern French roads) . This is unusual in Tibet as trees are quite rare. The portion of road where our guesthouse was, ends with a bridge which leads only to spared villages which the driver follows. As we missed the Lhasa road we turn back. We realise we should have turned to the left before the bridge to catch the Lhasa road.
While following this road, approximately every 5 kilometres, there are pathways which lead to villages located some distance from the road.
On the right-hand side a large valley leads to the monastery of Yerpa by a pass. The valley is fertile and there were many farmers in the fields. We continue until we reach the banks of the Kyi chu river. We follow this one (this area is not cultivared) and take a side valley on our right leading to the monastery of Yerpa.
The track was difficult, as were all the tracks which lead to holy places in Tibet. We pass a village.
Half an hour later, the valley divided in two. Yerpa is located on the hillock at the intersection of the two valleys and the car park on an esplanade near a small Tibetan village at the entry of the western valley. We continue on foot for about one hour before reaching the monastery.
We arrive on a hill where the foundations of the buildings destroyed in 1999 by the Chinese were still visible.
We have to climb further on the mountainside to arrive at the level of the chortens, the temples and the meditation caves.
There were other caves further to the E and which we did not visit.
The view of the valley below us was splendid. We even get a glimpse of the sea of snow-covered summits enclosing the central provinces of Tibet. Here the Tibetan wife of Srongtsan Gampo came to meditate, certainly upset by the her husband showed the other foreign wives. Most of the Tibetan kings and holy people such as Atiha came in tha caves to meditate. A small Kadampa chapel had been built. The buildings rebuilt in the eighties was razed again in 1998 as lamas refused to swear allegiance to the local government.
We meet a group of Hungarian tourists, who prove to us that the Csomas de Koros tibetologist memory is not lost. While going down we cross wild rabbits and yaks which look at us passing without fear or surprise. How not can one be astonished by the fact that animals we cross everywhere, small birds, birds of prey, mice, rabbits, etc come close to us. They know that man is a friend!!
We go back to the Kyi chu valley and continue towards Lhasa which cannot be far now. Strangely we cross a small pass. The Chinese have used this hill to dig a water basin and to fit a large hydro-electric power plant. The road while going down arrives in the eastern suburbs of the city and directly in front of the Telecomunications building where we stop to contact our families in France. As we have a few hours of freedom before us, we pay a visit to the Jokhang, and make the round walk of the Barkhor. In the evening our guide comes to the hotel to deposit as a gift, a VideoCD of Tibetan music to Olivier. Unfortunately all VideoCDs sold on the Barkhor countain Chinese music with Tibetan singers and landscapes.
He tells us that his wife requires an urgent operation and that he is unable to continue travelling with us. We thus see him for the last time. Once again we will be the hosts of Tensing and Lobsang which Olivier insists on paying for.