Nanda Devi is known as the "bliss-giving goddess," though the Sanskrit word "ananda," at the root of her name, is better understood as "contentment." Being an atheist, I seek the mountain more than the goddess, though the two are inseparable. Despite my disbelief, I have always appreciated the spiritual resonance of the Himalayas.
Sikkim, a small state in the northeast Himalayas, accounts for almost 90 percent of India's large cardamom production, making India one of the world's largest producers and exporters of the spice. But all of this is now at stake. The region's undulating mountains that once offered the perfect climatic conditions and fertile soil for the lucrative crop have turned into a breeding ground for pathogens -- which experts believe are caused by climate change.
he last ten days are marked by the most intense peaks and valleys of emotion I have ever felt. From horror of watching the bodies long lined out of the ice fall on Good Friday, to the still burning desire to climb the mountain a couple of days later superseded by the realization of the bigger picture around the long term need for change for the Sherpa community.