Insight Music and British field recordist and artist Nick Tearle, are proud to present ‘Annapurna’, a beautifully crafted album that promotes the incredible culture and kindness of the Nepalese people.
During this incredible journey, Nick alongside his partner Lizzie, witnessed the the dramatic landscape of the Annapurna mountain range within the Himalayas, capturing the sights and sounds of Nepal as they made their way up the mountain.
Available across all digital stores and limited edition CD, ‘Annapurna – Selected Field Recordings From Nepal’ is the first collaborative project between Insight Music and Nick Tearle. With an extremely limited run of CD’s available via our Bandcamp page, the audio is complimented with a fine selection of beautiful photographs taken during their adventure across Nepal, from chaotic capital of Kathmandu to the peaceful highlands of the mountains.
Alongside beautifully captured photographs of the Annapurna mountain range, you can read Nick’s incredible story below. Enjoy!
On Friday the 6th of March 2020, after having spent several months backpacking in Sri Lanka and India and we arrived in Nepal’s capital; Kathmandu. Nepal is a landlocked country bordered by India and China and is home to the Himalayan mountain range and eight of the world’s highest mountain summits, including Mount Everest. After enjoying ‘Holi’ the annual Hindu festival of colour in the city and securing a permit to enter the Annapurna National Park, we rented a 350cc Royal Enfield Classic motorcycle and planned our 462 mi route into the mountains. We left whatever luggage we deemed unnecessary with our hotel staff and tied the rest to the bike.
After navigating the densely populated historic market streets of the chaotic capital, we took the landslide prone, heavily congested Prithvi Highway west through the tropical foothills toward Pokhara, stopping at the charming hilltop village of Bandipur. From Pokhara we headed north to Sarangkot where we got our first view of the breath-taking snow covered mountain range. Our plan was to ride the only road up into the mountains to Muktinath, a sacred Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site, home to one of the highest temples on earth; Muktinath Temple at 3800m. The journey would take twelve days in total and the road was a mixture of off road mud track, shallow rocky pools and snow covered blind bends. Stopping at Beni, Tatopani, Kalopani, Jomsom and Kagbeni we saw the landscape change from verdant rice paddies to rocky river valleys to ice covered mountain sides.
At Tatopani by the Kali Gandaki river we encountered goat and yak herders ate hot steamy Thukpa noodle Soup and mo mos, and heard the meditative chants of Tibetan Buddhist villagers. In the village of Kalopani we tried to keep warm in the unheated wooden lodge as a snow storm came down outside. The following morning, the landscape was completely transformed by two feet of fresh snow. After the road thawed a little we set off onward and upward for Jomsom and Kagbeni where we visited the Kag Chode Monastary. I was allowed to record the monks as they performed their daily mantras. We hadn’t seen more than a handful of other tourists, all hikers trekking the Annapurna Circuit. Finally, we arrived at our final destination the small town of Muktinath, it was the end of the road and felt like the top of the world. There was nothing but snow and mountain peaks in all directions, the only way up to the temple complex was by a caravan of ponies. Pilgrims, having travelled from southern india, some very elderly, were riding the ponies up to the temple site chanting as they rode. A feeling of being present at a truly spiritual place began to grow within us.
At the temple, many bells rang in the wind, prayer flags cast mantras across the mountain sides and the pilgrims gathered at idols to sing, give offerings and pray. Many bathed in the temple’s pools despite the freezing temperatures, we saw more than one person being carried down by stretcher. We spent as long as we could there in what felt like a moment that could last forever, looking out over the Himalayas in quiet meditation.
With growing news of the Coronavirus pandemic circulating we made emergency plans to get back to Kathmandu early in anticipation of a nationwide travel lockdown. We were incredibly lucky leaving on the last flight a day before Nepal closed its doors to inward and outward travel.