On any other day of the expedition our Sherpa team devotes their full attention and energy in service to the climbing team, but not today. Today was for the Sherpa and their Puja ceremony.
The Puja is a mandatory and special part of every Everest expedition. It is deeply rooted in the rituals of Tibetan Buddhism. The purpose of the Puja is for the Sherpa to ask Sagamartha (Mt. Everest) for permission to climb and for safe passage for all team members.
First a Puja chorten is erected as a place to make offerings and burn incense. Food and drink is blessed for the celebration to follow. The Sherpa place their equipment at the chorten for special blessings. After a long series of chants and prayers and other ritual, a flag pole is raised and Tibetan prayer flags are spread across the entire camp to bless all who pass.
Then to symbolize long life (white beards) and friendship Sherpa and climbing team members rub white flour on one another in celebration.
With our Puja now complete the Sherpa team will begin fixing the climbing route above Camp 2. The climbing team will devote several days to honing our technical skills in the lower Khumbu Ice Fall.
We will be supported in each step of the expedition by a devoted team of Sherpa who will focus every bit of their energy to our safe passage on the mountain.