A few of us girls hiked the gorgeous one hour up to the Kila Nunnery on Sunday. Starting from the top of Cheli La (La means mountain pass) we climbed through thick old forest and bright blooming red rhododendron. On all sides, in the distance, were snow covered mountain ranges. Above is a snow packed 22,000 ft Jhomolhari, Bhutans most sacred peak. Climbing it is forbidden, as it would displease the gods.
One of the nuns, 23 year old Tenzin, and her kitten, showed us the main shrine, just above at the top of the steps. A lovely bright girl whose easy laugh and educated english made the whole scenario seem quite ordinary. But in fact, this is a community of 40 women living in retreat huts built into a dizzying cliffside, a days walk from anywhere. Choden, another nun, arrived at Kila 3 years ago after having run away from abusive parents. She first ran to her uncle, who put her to work tending buffalos, but one day she was raped by 2 village men who then threw her in the river. So she fled again and found her way to the nunnery. She is now 16.
With Isabel, our sparkley spa manager at Uma Paro, and Jil, our rock star chef.