A Nepalese Region Reclaims Its Holy Water
By Madison Wrobley
July 14, 2020
I’ve been told this is the longest suspended water system in Nepal,” Mitch Silver, a self-described high-altitude plumber, explains as we climb the treacherous cliffside, following the narrow pipeline that hangs above our heads. “People just don’t do this—run 300, 400 meters of cable across a gorge for a pipeline.”
Gravel breaks loose with each step, tumbling more than 100 meters down to the icy blue river that rushes from the Himalayan peaks that surround us. This pipeline is significant for more than its record-breaking design; it is carrying water from a drubchu, a holy spring, to the Serang Monastery in Nubri Valley, one of the most sacred and remote highland regions in the Tibetan Buddhist world. People walk for days to drink this spring water in hopes of benefiting from its healing power.
“According to a point of Buddhism, water is the most valuable and most important thing because of its connection with disease,” says the monastery’s facilities manager, Urgyan. “Clean water helps everything: healthy body, healthy mind.” Nowhere are people more aware of this in Nubri Valley than in Prok (known locally as Trok), a village of about 50 households located one long day of difficult hiking from the Serang Monastery.