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Why does Khumbila ride a horse??


“Because it is faster than walking.” Nice and Cheeky!! But there is more.

If Sherpas followed one of the Abrahamic religions, Khumbila would be Mt Sinai. The mountain is held in such reverence that no one has been allowed to climb it yet. Khumbu has lots of stories of misfortune befalling those who have tried to climb it including one involving Sir Ed Hillary in his younger days.

Khumbila Diety

At 5,761m, a dwarf by Himalayan standards, the mountain nevertheless dominates the landscape around major Sherpa settlements. And right at the foot of the mountain in a valley shaped like a horse are the twin sister villages of Khumjung and Khunde. Hence, when Khumbila is depicted anthropomorphically, we have him riding a white horse, because well the valley is shaped like a horse .And, you can see in the below picture from google earth.

The custom of worshipping mountains as deities is a vestige from pre-Buddhist paganistic religion of Tibet. Upon introduction, Buddhism incorporated local customs into a larger philosophical framework rather than eliminating them. And this is especially evident in the Nyingmapa (the old ones) sect of Buddhism followed by the Sherpas. Examples include worshipping mountains like Khumbila, Pokalde and Taboche as deities and exorcistic rites such as the festival of Mani Rimdu.

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Ashish Shrestha

In addition to working at HoneyGuide, I do bird photography, hiking, and meditation.

mountain teaser trees
’Going to the mountains
is going home.’
- John Muir
‘Great things are done when
men and mountains meet.’
- William Blake
‎’There is no such thing as bad weather,
only inappropriate clothing.’
- Sir Ranulph Fiennes