Du Dolpo au Mustang
l'Arniko Chuli 6034 m
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Avec tous mes remerciements à Etienne Principaud... et Françoise, bien sûr !

Voici quelques informations sur ces montagnes du Mustang.
Pour s'imprègner des lieux...

Versant Culture
L'art des Newars de la vallée de Kâthmându influença durablement la production tibétaine. Du XIV ème au XVI ème siècle en particulier, l'ordre religieux des Sakya-pa contribua, dans une large mesure, à ce rayonnement par la commande de grands décors monumentaux et la réalisation de nombreuses oeuvres portatives.
Bronziers, dinandiers et peintres newars, leurs descendants et leurs émules s'emploieront durant des siècles sur les chantiers du Tibet.
Le plus célèbre d’entre eux est le sculpteur, peintre et architecte Anige ou Arniko (1243-1306).
La biographie de ce sculpteur népalais est connue. Cet artiste, assisté de 34 compagnons, aurait exécuté au monastère de Sakya un « stûpa d'or», puis de retour au Népal, il fut mandé à la cour mongole en 1260 par l'empereur Khubilaï. Il termina ses jours à Beijing, comme directeur d'une manufacture impériale de bronzes bouddhiques.
On connaît les noms de son fils, Acengge, et de son élève chinois Liu yuan.

Et pour tout savoir sur Arniko...

Anige Jing, Himalayan Artist in Khubilai Khan’s Court
Anige, the greatest artist of Nepal and the highest artisan-official at the court of the Mongol emperor Khubilai Khan, was born in 1245. According to Chinese sources his legendary life and career over the next sixty years had a lasting artistic and spiritual influence on Asia and on China in particular. The magnitude of his accomplishments rivals those of Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, and Leonardo in the West. Very little is known about Nepal in Anige's time. The names and dates of dynasties and kings may be gleaned from the sporadic epigraphy and bare royal lists of the chronicles, but details of social and economic conditions are not clear. In the thirteenth century, the kingdom suffered from wars, famines, and earthquakes. The worst earthquake struck in 1255, killing one-third of the population! While Nepalese history is scantily recorded, there is one exception: substantial information on Anige is found in Chinese historical sources, which provide a rare glimpse into the Nepali artist's society, family, career, and art.
According to his official Chinese epitaph, Anige was descended from a king of Nepal. The historical record, however, is sketchy, and the claim is at best questionable. Anige was not born into wealth or favored circumstances; his parents seem to have been neither rich nor poor. While they could afford to send him to school, they also needed his manual labor at a tender age to eke out a living for the family.

versant Montagne

Arniko Chuli (6034m), Mustang Himal. 2002
Par Tamotsu Ohnishi (Osaka Alpine Club)

A little more than a hundred years ago, Sharmana Ekai Kawaguchi, the first foreigner who had entered into Tibet through Nepal in 1900, stayed in Mustang in advance to carry out his adventurous journey to Lhasa. He stayed at Chharang for around ten months and eventually decided to take an unusual route to Tibet through Dolpo, crossing over the western mountain ranges of Mustang. (#1) In the summer of 2001, I explored the mountain range just west of Lo Manthang and Chharang to begin work on topographical research in this area and stood on the top of an unnamed peak of 6270m (GPSFN29 08 41 E83 46 56). From here I expected to easily view Arniko Chuli, 13km ahead toward the WNW. However, to my regret, it proved fruitless as the peak seemed to be among the complicated border ranges or it was not as visible as I had previously anticipated. Later, I found on the new topographical map of Nepal (1/50000, 2002. No.2983-15, ARANIKO CHULI ), that the height of the peak had been revised to 6034m.
This mysterious peak is situated at the northernmost point of the range between Lo and Dolpo and on the international border between Nepal and Tibet (China). It had attracted me for a long time not only because of its considerable height, 21,650ft.(=6599m), shown on the Indian 1inch to 1mile map(1963, 62/O/12), but also its strange example of the nomenclature in such an uninhabited highland. My interest was further stimulated by the fact that no foreign travelers had ever seen this peak, nor photographed it, and that the name Aruniko Chuli is obviously not a local Tibetan name. I wondered why the Indian surveyors had given the peak such a strange Nepalese name. I knew that Aruniko (or Araniko) is the name of a famous artist or architect born in Nepal who lived in later half of the thirteenth century and went to Tibet with other 80 Nepalese artists to design, make statues and to decorate a large number of Buddhist gompas in Tibet and China.
My short research trip of this time planned to approach the peak of Aruniko Chuli, from the Dolpo side and find it on the border. Two Nepalese friends, Ang Purba and his wife Pasang Diki (Thame), joined me with their own aspirations. We have been closely linked for the past 20 years with mutual trust developed over many past expeditions.
In the early afternoon of July 3, our small expedition, consisting of only three members, a kitchen-boy and a donkey driver with 5 animals, left Jomsom at Kaligandaki. We advanced to Sangda village along the same historical route that Ekai Kawaguchi had taken 102 years ago. After going across Geba La (GPS 4920m N28 54 904 E83 36 269), we took an alternate route toward the north along Lhanhimar Khola which lead to a northern nameless pass (GPS 5607m, N28 58 200 E83 25 585). Three years ago, in the same month of July, I had had a bitter experience suffering greatly from an unusually heavy snowfall at Tuje La on this route.
From this nameless pass, we descended along the northwestern stream (Sano Kiraphuk Khola). The main river where we arrived at last is shown as Chharka Tursi Khola and the upper stream of this same river is named Nakhkhem Khola on the New Nepalese Map. We proceeded along the broad river bed in the U shaped valley and arrived at our base camp (GPS 5562m, N28 08 453 E83 39 526), very near Chanagor Bhanjyang (5665m) on the northern border. We reached there on July 8, the 6th day after we had left Jomsom. The next morning, we climbed up the pass on the border, and enjoyed a full view of the Tibetan side toward the north. To the west and northwest, there are four other passes in northeastern Dolpo, namely, from east to west, Daknak Bhanjyang (Sena La 5465m), Jyanche Bhanjyang (5534m), Kang Kung Bhanjyang (5564m), and Pindu Bhanjyang (5600m). The routes to Tibet from Dolpo through these five passes, all join together at Raka Nadi (river). One of the branches of the Tsampo basin now extended northward in front of us, the high land with gentle slopes scarcely undulating.
In at least the eastern two passes, there was no recent trace of local traffic or even cattle grazing. Blue poppies and other alpine plants were amazingly abundant all over the valley. The recent progress of Chinese motor road construction on the south side of the Tsampo River, has speeded the decline of these passes. Old temporary market places in Tibet beyond the Himalaya mountains which connected with these eastern passes of Dolpo, have been expelled and moved to more and more western places along the motor road, which connects with western passes like Marim Bhanjyang, Yanang Bhanjyang, Mengla Bhanjyang, Khum Bhanjyang, etc. The western passes are closer than the eastern ones to the motor road.
On July 10th, we left BC in fine weather. From a small pokari (pond) just below the pass, we walked up to the east and northeast along the border ridge. After only 55 minutes climb on a gentle rock and snow ridge, we arrived at the summit of Aruniko Chuli .(6034m, N29 10 35 E83 39 25) at 10:.30. AM. We were among numerous peaks a little over 6000m. From the highest point of the peak, a vast ice field extended eastward. I stayed there about 3 hours, doing my routine work such as making sketches and taking photographs. As a special project at this time, I confirmed various bearing values and the height of nearby peaks on the Nepalese New Topographical Map (1/50000) using survey instruments. The peaks of the Man Shail group to the northeast were not visible in the veil of the summer clouds. We returned to BC taking another route, straight down the scree slope of the south face of the peak. Unlike the Tibetan side (north), the south face was completely free from snow.
We finished our research and climbed around Aruniko Chuli for 3 days, following the old direct route to Mustang from Chharka, via Ghami Bhanjyang (5740m) to Ghami. For two days from the highest pass to Ghami, we suffered from heavy showers of hail and rain and had to endure a bitterly cold and miserable night in the wild high place. We were all exhausted when we arrived at the warm and familiar lodge at Ghami.

 
(#1) The Himalayan Journal Volume 58, 2002
Japanese Alpine News Vol.2, 2002.

 



 

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