"Days and nights are the travelers of eternity. So are the years that pass by. I myself have been tempted for a long time by the cloud-moving wind, filled with a strong desire to wander. I walked through mists and clouds, breathing the thin air of high altitudes and stepping on slippery ice and snow, till at last through a gateway of clouds, as it seemed, to the very paths of the sun and moon, I reached the summit, completely out of breath and nearly frozen to death. Presently the sun went sown and the moon rose glistening in the sky."

(Basho, The Narrow Road to the Deep North).

During 2000-2001 I traveled independently as a Watson Fellow, to pursue a topic that had long been fascinating me: the sacred significance of the mountains. I explored pilgrimage sites in Nepal, Central Tibet, India and Peru, lived with local mountain people, and learned from them and their mountain Gods. You can view the whole essay, Sacred Mountains: Myth and Morphology, a story of my walking through these places, with excerpts from my diaries and reflections on mountain rituals and pilgrimage. Alternatively, use the links at the bottom of this page to go to the essays I wrote for each part of the travels. You can also view a powerpoint presentation on Sacred Mountains in the Andes and the Himalayas: Climate change, tourism and conflicts with mountain rituals (Presented at the Rocky Mountain Summit: Sustaining Ecosystems and Their People, Whitefish, Montana, 2002). 


Kathmandu Valley
Nepal Himalayas
Sacred Places of India
Peruvian pilgrimages
Symbolism of sacred mountains