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For centuries, the Himalayan people of Dolpo, an isolated mountainous area in northwestern Nepal, have made an annual trek to Tibet to trade grain for salt - a scarce commodity to their region. Traveling in caravans, these yak herders represent a traditional Buddhist culture that has upheld its ancestral Tibetan way of life since settling here ages ago. Yet rapid change brought about by modern outside influence signifies that soon these ancient caravans may come to an inevitable end. This journey is an account of the events experienced by a young Dolpa boy who, while traveling along with his father in a caravan for the first time, finds unforeseen enlightenment upon reaching the ancient walled city of Lo Monthang, in the mystical kingdom of Mustang.

0:00 ~ 0:46
Dawn in the foothills of the Himalayas. An encampment of Dolpo caravaneers begins to show activity in the early hours of this extremely cold day. The smoke of a comforting fire creates a trail to the sky as more and more heads appear from beneath the layers of protective woolen coverings.

0:46 ~ 1:19
As the warm rays of the sun finally reach the camp, your perspective shifts to the massive surroundings. The Himalayan Mountains, now glowing in sunlight, dwarf the encampment with the majesty of a worldly deity.

1:19 ~ 2:08
At the sounding of the Sankha (conch shell), camp breaks and the caravaneers once again continue on their journey to the north country of Tibet. Scores of yaks follow one another in a solemn parade across the jagged edges of a snow-covered mountain ridge.

2:08 ~ 2:44
Skirting the desolate northern reaches of the immense Dhaulagiri Himal, the caravan passes through the village of Tarakot, a remote hilltop fortress. Knowing the most tortuous part of their journey lies just ahead, the Buddhist herdsmen pause to pay reverence to the gods as prayer flags flutter and brass bells jangle in the relentless winds of these impoverished yet sacred highlands.

2:44 ~ 3:40
The caravan is tested to its limits as man and beast follow a treacherous winding course over an unforgiving terrain of rock and ice. As a blanket of thick clouds overhead further threatens the possibility of blizzard-like conditions, the sure-footed caravaneers patiently traverse along an erratic trail to cross yet another mountain pass.

3:40 ~ 5:25
Eventually the caravan reaches the Kali Gandaki river valley, a vast gorge that has for ages provided a natural route for salt traders making the annual trek to and from the lakes of the northern plateau. Cutting a path deeper than any other valley on earth, the Kali Gandaki begins as headwaters in the upper region of Mustang and runs south to eventually flow into the expansive plains of the Ganges in India.

5:25 ~ 6:09
Following the Kali Gandaki northward, the caravan enters the isolated region of Mustang, an area inhabited by a people whose way of life has remained relatively unchanged for centuries. One of the last remaining Tibetan dominions ruled by ancestral nobility, this magnificent landscape of rust-colored hills and lavender snow-capped mountains blends into puffy white clouds, seeming to form a pathway to the heavens.

6:09 ~ 7:42
At the heart of this majestic kingdom lies the medieval capital of Lo Monthang, an oasis of green amidst ocherous surroundings. As the caravan nears its walled perimeter, the young Dolpo boy breaks away from the group in an anxious sprint towards the gated entrance. The mysterious allure of this 14th century city overcomes the young traveler as he becomes the first to enter, leaving the caravan behind.

7:42 ~ 8:37
Drawn deep into the interior of the city, the young boy discovers the temple of Champa Lha-Khang, a revered place of worship by the humble residents of this community. Upon entering, he finds a group of Buddhist monks engaged in ceremonial prayer.

Being careful not to disrupt the ceremony, he moves in to get a closer look. As his heartbeat begins to pulse with increasing intensity, he resists a sudden shortness of breath when, without warning, a flash of white light causes him to momentarily lose consciousness.

8:37 ~ 9:46
As he regains his awareness, it becomes immediately apparent to him that he is no longer standing in the temple, nor is he even confined to his own physical body. Yet, he has an overwhelming sensation of spiritual joy. Ahead of him, a staircase of glistening marble appears which he effortlessly begins to ascend.

9:46 ~ 10:56
A crystal kaleidoscope of colors and light fill his vision with wave after wave of illumination. As the stimulating patterns of radiance begin to swirl and liquefy, he reaches out to touch this exquisite conception and instantly becomes one with the transcendent image.

10:56 ~ End
At once, color and light become void and black as the young boy awakens to the comforting smile and warm embrace of his father.

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