It was at the Fei Lai Si monastery just outside Deqin that we got a glimpse of the “peerless peak” of Miyetzimu (Meili) that Rock described so rapturously as “the most glorious peak my eyes were ever privileged to see. No wonder Tibetans stand in awe and worship it. It is like a castle of a dream, an ice palace of a fairy tale, or an enormous mausoleum with gigantic steps and buttresses all crowned by a majestic dome of ice tapering into an ethereal spire merging into a pale blue sky.”
By 2002 the viewing area for the mountain had become a tourist trap, with hawkers selling joss sticks and other offerings to be made at one of the many shrines. The tourist route also included a visit to the Minyong glacier that lies beneath Meili Xue Shan.
Instead, we opted to travel the same route back down into the depths of the Mekong canyon, but turned left at the river to visit the hamlet of Yubeng. At the junction of the road near the Mekong we stopped at a small Buddhist chapel, called the ‘Jungle Temple’. Inside, there were effigies of Buddhist deities, but also evidence to confirm Rock’s observation that the local people also worship the mountain itself as a deity.