Dharamsala

Dharamshala Travel Blog

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Himalayas
So....I wake up at 6 a.m. in Agra, and we head to Delhi to get me to my noon flight to Amritsar.  With the roads and traffic in India, I'm quite worried till we head out.  The road between Agra and Delhi is the nicest in India, and the traffic was very light.  I unfortunately had some "Dheli Belly," making things a bit more exciting than they otherwise should have been.  As it was my last day with Virander, I flowed the dude 5000 rs.  (Over 100 dollars)  I felt I owed that much to him for the way he looked out for me the previous few weeks, and I wanted to give him a nice wedding present.
Tibetan Monk walking on path to McKleondji.
  He was speechless. 

Anyhow, I made it to the Delhi airport in plenty of time, and soon flew off to Amritsar.  Amritsar is the capital of Punjab, and home to the Golden Temple which serves as the main temple of Sikhism.  I found a car and two drivers who were willing to take me up to Dharamsala, in the base of the Himalayas.  I was told the drive would take about 3-4 hours.  Remember though....I'm in India...nothing is that easy.  After trekking around to find an ATM that worked, we headed to the mountains.  We finally left Amritsar at about 3 noon.  After making our way through Punjab, we started the climb up the foothills of Himichal Pradesh.
Mas Himalayas.
  Soon the moon was out, and I couldn't see much around me.  I could feel that the road was of piss-poor quality though, and I accidently caught sight of a mountain river flowing about 600 feet below our road with no guard rails.  It was one of those situations where you just put blinders on and hope for the best.  It also turned out that my drivers had no clue as to where we were headed, because they had to ask for directions every half hour or so.  Ten p.m. I make it to my cabin.  From 6 in the morning to ten at night...Who knew getting to the Himalayas would be so hard???

I made it to my room, and was actually pretty stoked.  After a full day of very stressful travel, a cozy cabin in the woods.  Hardwood floors, goose down comforters, a space heater, a t.v with cricket playing, and a giant Kingfisher Beer.
Tibetan Houses.
  It was marvelous.  Also, after the dry, dusty, hot, and crowded Rajasthan, a cabin in the cold mountains was a welcome change.

I awoke the next morning, and was shown the path up the mountains to McKleondji.  McKleondji is the main part of town, and was a 30 minute walk up a mountain trail, or a ten minute tuk-tuk ride.  I opted for the walk, and set out on my way.  The road was rocky and slippery, but it was quite picturesque as well.  I passed a Tibetan Monastary on the way, with silent red robed monks also walking along the way.  I also caught my first glimpse of the Himalayas in the distance.  I at length made it up to the town, and was blown away.  McKleondji is also known as "Little Tibet," for this is where the Tibetan Government in exile has its seat.
McKleondji.
  The Dali Lama lives there, and gives audiences quite often.  As everything can't possibly go your way, I finally ran into a little bad luck, when I found that his Holiness was out of town.  No matter.  I really enjoyed myself.  I ate Tibetan food, I went to tea shops, I bought a cool hat made out of Yak hair, and I visited the Dali Lamas residence.

Dharamsala is over 80 percent Tibetan, so it feels as though you’re actually in a different country.  Laid back doesn’t quite describe the peoples attitudes there.  They are the most sanguine, and polite people I’ve ever met.  Here these people are living through their own modern day Diaspora, and yet they have the most upbeat attitudes.  It took a lot of work and time to come here, but I’m very happy that I did.
My cool Tibetan Hat.
 

The next day I awoke earlier than I normally do.  This was so I could take a longer hike than normal, and so I could shoot the Himalayas before the clouds rolled in.  I wasn’t disappointed.  I got some great shots off, and had a great hike.  I’m accustomed to the altitudes, and am actually exercising with the lower oxygen.  I went to Dal Lake, and the village at the top of the hill.  The village is a small place with only a few houses and stalls with terraced gardens hanging off the side of the mountains.  The Himalayan peaks rise over green hills making for a cool view.  I sat there shooting pictures, and simply enjoying the sights, when I saw a telescope.  An enterprising man had bought a telescope, and perched it on the side of the road.  It costs 10 rupees for a view, which works out to about 20 cents.
Dharamsala India
  I wish I could have taken pictures of what he showed me: A little speck on one of the mountains turned out to be a Buddhist Temple, I saw terraced farms from across the valleys with little houses perched on the hilltops, and a giant eagles nests.

I then went in to McKleondgi and chilled out for the rest of the day, for later that night I had a bus to catch…a sleeper bus to Delhi.  A 12-hour sleeper bus to Delhi.  It was none too pleasant.  The bus to costs about 10 bucks.  I was hoping against hope, that the bus wouldn’t be too full.  In India, everything’s full, or they don’t take off.  Packed to capacity, and in the last row corner seat to top it off.  The man in front of me reclined his seat and it would bang my knee pretty hard on every bump in the road...There were lots of bumps.  My knee hurt pretty good for about a week after that.

In the end, I only spent two full days in Dharamsala.  It was well worth all the effort, and I would love to head back again.  Next time in India, I'm going to do a Himalaya specific trip, as it has different seasons from the rest of India.  Can't wait to go higher and higher into the mountains...
 
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Himalayas
Himalayas
Tibetan Monk walking on path to Mc…
Tibetan Monk walking on path to M…
Mas Himalayas.
Mas Himalayas.
Tibetan Houses.
Tibetan Houses.
McKleondji.
McKleondji.
My cool Tibetan Hat.
My cool Tibetan Hat.
Dharamsala India
Dharamsala India
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Dharamshala
photo by: jeaniejeanie