National Geographic : 1951 May
Lamayuru Library Stacks Sacred Books Like Shoe Boxes. End Tags Bear the Titles These volumes were hand printed in Lhasa from wood blocks painstakingly carved by Tibetan monks. Loose pages were wrapped in bright silks and encased between boards. Here the monastery's spiritual leader reads a passage from the Tanjur, commentary on the Buddhist scriptures, to a novice. The text is in Tibetan. famed Zoji La (la means pass), 11,580 feet above sea level. Here begins the ancient road that leads to Tibet. The pass is strewn with the skeletons of dead horses. They belonged to the Kazaks who fled Communist domination in Sinkiang a few years ago. Many had perished from extreme cold and lack of supplies. Here the tall pines shot their tops into a blue sky radiant with clouds. On the ground edelweiss and iris grew beside blue poppies and clusters of lemon-tinted daisies. Several snow bridges decorated the scene. Two Logs Bridge Glacial Crevices The trail to Machhoi was the coldest, windiest part of the whole trip. The deep vale was enclosed by several high ranges and four glaciers. There were no trees here as there were in the Zoji La. This must be one of the most glacial portions of the world. Snow bridges were numerous. To cross the terrific torrents which rushed out from each glacier, there were only small bridges of two logs, precariously tied together, permitting a slow and dangerous passage (page 604). Usually, the pack horses and our mounts were led a mile or two around, over a large snow bridge at the foot of a glacier, to avoid crossing the log bridges. We ourselves trembled as we moved cautiously over them, looking down into the dashing, swirling water beneath us. As we moved on to Matayan, the trail be came more difficult. Filled with thousands of pebbles, it criss-crossed several icy streams. Sometimes we almost touched the water's edge; again, we were hundreds of feet above it.