Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend full of joy and inspiration. Today (Sunday) we celebrated the 14th birthday of our oldest grandson, so we had a really good time, but it's also the reason why I am a bit late with publishing this new post, Alai Valley. (By the way: I haven't thought about our upcoming episodes, so every episode will be a surprise for me too).
We are still on the Northern Route of the Silk Road established by the Han-dynasty, but we are also leafing through that wonderful story by Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha. We read that Siddhartha went to the Samanas and after several years of an ascetic life Siddhartha is still on a quest to become enlightened. His (Siddhartha) thoughts are no longer his, he has learned to live without anything, but has still not found the peace he is so desperately longing for. Than news reaches him and his friend Govinda, news about an Enlightened man, Buddha. They decide to go listen to this Buddha.
[...] "The Buddha went on his way, modestly and deep in his thoughts, his calm face was neither happy nor sad, it seemed to smile quietly and inwardly. With a hidden smile, quiet, calm, somewhat resembling a healthy child, the Buddha walked, wore the robe and placed his feet just as all of his monks did, according to a precise rule. But his face and his walk, his quietly lowered glance, his quietly dangling hand and even every finger of his quietly dangling hand expressed peace, expressed perfection, did not search, did not imitate, breathed softly in an unwhithering calm, in an unwhithering light, an untouchable peace." [...] (Source: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse)
I told you in an earlier post about the fact that Buddhism spread along the Silk Road. One of the main themes of Buddhism is "Emptiness" and todays episode is about that "emptiness", not in the idea of Buddhism, but in the idea of the Alai Valley,
The Alai Valley is a broad, dry valley running east-west across most of southern Osh Province, Kyrgyzstan. It is about 180 km east-west and about 40 km north-south and 2500-3500m in altitude. The north side is the Alai Mountains which slope down to the Ferghana Valley. The south side is the Trans-Alai Range along the Tajikistan border, with Lenin Peak, (7134m). The western 40 km or so is more hills than valley. On the east there is the low Tongmurun pass and then more valley leading to the Irkestam border crossing to China.
The valley has a population of approximately 17,000 and is almost entirely Kyrgyz. One traveler says "with no jobs, a harsh winter climate, and poor conditions for agriculture, life is immensely tough here, and most of the adult male population have left to seek work elsewhere."
Mountaineers and mountain hikers are the most frequent guests of the Alai Valley in the summer period. They arrive to the valley from the Kyrgyz city of Osh and move further to the area of Lenin Peak (7,134 m), the highest point of the Trans Alai Range. An excellent mountain road with ideal asphalt built by Chinese road builders complements the breathtaking landscapes of the mountain valley. Going up and down the Taldyk Pass the traveler is struck by contrasting many-colored rocks of regular shapes and picturesque deep and narrow canyons.
The rapid Kyzyl-Suu River runs along the Alai Valley. The name of the stream is translated as ‘the red river’, and the watercourse is called so after the color of the water it carries, which is red-brown. The slopes of the surrounding mountains are also red in most cases and contrast sharply with green alpine meadows, snow-capped summits and an excitingly deep dark blue sky! However, if you are lucky to be caught by a short summer rain, you will see the most beautiful of scenes - a huge bright rainbow traversing the sky and making the magic landscapes of the Pamirs absolutely fabulous!
|Alai Valley, colored mountains|
the ice has melted - dances in the sun
on the porch of a mountain hut -
the almost full moon
Two haiku found in my archives. Both are once created inspired on our trip through the Altai Mountains Mongolia. Almost the same surroundings as the Alai Valley. I had to create a new haiku too and I tried to bring a few things together. I hope I have succeeded.
my prize for conquering the valley
her silken kimono
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 18th at noon (CET). I hope to publish our new episode later on. For now ... have fun!