This past Saturday was the women’s festival of Teej here in Nepal. On Teej women dress in red, head for the holy Hindu sites like Pashupatinath and dance the day away. Part of the Teej rituals (only for the women) include fasting all day. They must not eat any food for 24 hours and cannot even drink a sip of water. (I read a news article about hundreds of women at Pashuatinath who, while celebrating, fainted from lack of food and water this year.) During the 24 hour fast, women pray for a good husband. Instead of fasting and praying for a good man, I laced up my running shoes and headed for the hills with the Himalayan Hash House Harriers. To the chagrin of my neighbor, Gita, I left the house around 2 p.m. after eating a meal to fuel myself for the extravaganza. “Don’t you want to stay?” she asked, eyeing my dirty athletic shoes that were caked with mud from the last Hash run. “Don’t you wan’t to look like a bride?” she asked, pointing to her made-up face. I told her, sorry, but I had some running to do.
This week’s Hash was about an hour outside of central Kathmandu near the village of Sankhu, which is actually where I used to live three years ago when I was teaching English to monks as Trungram Monastery. It was great to be back running around my old stomping grounds. I recently purchased a small, waterproof waist belt that I can run with. My new gear allows me to take my point-and-shoot camera along with me on my Hash runs. Here are some photos from Himalayan Hash #1666.
Above: The Hashers circle up before the run begins. The GM (Grand Master) in the middle debriefs us before we set out. Saturday’s run was laid by “The Scholars,” the three young Nepali guys on the far right.
Above: The runners sprint along the river near Sankhu.
Above: A group of us take a breather, trying to find the confetti paper on the ground that will turn us in the right direction.
Above: Some of the Hashers run by a rice field. The women in the paddies are harvesting the rice.
Above: We had to make several river crossings on this Hash. I think I crossed rivers that were at least waist deep about four times.
Above: The Hashers try to figure out which way to go.
Above: The runners check out the awesome rice paddy views from a hill top.
Above: We wait at a “holding” spot for the rest of the runners to catch up.
Above: Me at the holding, sweating and smiling.
Above: After almost an hour-and-a-half of running, the runners came across a group of singing women dressed in red saris, celebrating the women’s festival of Teej.
Above: Paul made a rather impressive and graceful “Hash Crash” when we were crossing some dried up rice fields. The wounds were more spectacular in person.
Above: Somehow, when we were waiting for the rest of the runners to catch up, I got roped into dancing with the Nepali women in the Teej circle.
Above: The women in the Teej circle were singing and dancing when we ran by and continued to do so when we left.
Above: Dancing in the Teej circle in the countryside on the outskirts of Sankhu.
Above: After the run is finished, the virgins get initiated into the group with beer from metal goblets.