From Tallo Phedi it is a long climb to Mathillo Phedi, the ramshackle base camp for the final summit climb. Hundreds of pilgrims cram into tin huts huddled together for the night. The hardships are part of the pilgrimage, and endured uncomplainingly by devotees.
Pathibhara gets over 350,000 visitors per year, and half of them are on the trails at any given time, some even wake up at 2AM and walk with flashlights just to be ahead of the crowds.
Despite the throngs, the forests are lush with oak and rhododendron giving way to pine and alpine meadows. Within a few weeks the rhododendron will be out in full bloom in many colours: pink, red, striped, and sometimes solid and striped flowers on the same tree. This year many branches have broken due to the weight of heavy snowfall.