|The Healer, by Nicholas Roerich.|
In the Himalayan Mountain's temperate zones, one can find
many different varieties of mushrooms. Mushroom lore is quite highly developed among the local populations and not least among those staying in long Buddhist retreats. For many of these Yogis mushrooms in fact form an important part of their diet.
In the mountains north of Kathmandu, there is a very famous and highly prized mushroom that the Tibetans call Ah Sharmo. It grows in the thick, damp forests of upper Helambu. It can become very large and weigh in at a few kilos if one stumbles upon a mature growth in the forest. Generally they grow out of decaying trees and logs from a white based stem that shoots out in all directions in a bright orange profusion of frills.
Chadral Rinpoche has a great fondness for these particular specimens. In fact he unashamedly relishes them! As do all those who have had the good fortune to taste them at one time or another. Little can compare with the pure enjoyment of roasting these mushrooms over a glowing, hot fire, splashed with a little fresh Dzomo butter, during a chilly Himalayan evening. The smell and the taste are incomparable.
There fore it was with great excitement that one of the Lamas and i, stumbled upon a little treasure trove of this delicacy one noon in the forest not far from our huts. We cut a few inches from the base, to be sure that more would grow up after a few days and carefully took our spoils back to the camp...
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