Friday, October 12, 2007
We engaged a taxi for the whole day. The driver’s name is Manoj, must be in his teens. Very enthusiastic about his job and very very respectful. I think it comes with the culture. We headed to Dharamsala and Mcleodgunj –the headquarters of His Holiness Dalia Lama ji. The travel was awesome- narrow roads from one hill to another, from one town to another. On the way we saw many Bhuddist monks. The scene was just as it was shown in “Discovery Channel” – Beautiful colors, warm weather, Blue Mountains a sense of peace within and out. Maybe I am just romanticizing a bit, but we could feel it. We stopped at the famous Dal Lake only to be disappointed to find a pond. We visited the Buddhist temple. Unlike other temples, this temple was different. There were no people rushing you from behind to move on, choclates; biscuits; tea; bread being offered as prasad to the deity and disciples arguing with their teachers (part of Buddhism). We ate delicious lunch in the temple premises restaurant. Saw Richard Gear's photo with the owner of the restaurant. Spinned all the prayer wheels. On our way back we did more shopping. I stopped at a flute place to buy a flute for DH. The owner played the flutes to show me the various sizes and bases. I bought a wide base sound flute made out of bamboo from Nepal to DH. The flute shop owner is from Nepal (one of my ToVisit place), mentioned that he would return back to Nepal during winter and comeback in the summer with more goods. His family would make the flutes and his friend who visited India for the first time is the artist who etched Sri Krishna on the flute. Both gentlemen are pretty accomplished artists with humble nature. I could not withstand or come to terms with the simplicity. I could not hide my pretense. It silently bothered me of all the money, materials and food we waste and not worthy of. On our way back we stopped at an old church. Since we covered pretty much everything, we decided to move on to Dalhousie that evening. Manoj arranged for another Taxi that can drive us to Dalhousie. Before we left to Dalhousie we toured the norling Institute and their students working on varous arts. Shyam was our chauffer for the evening. It was very dangerous route, 8 –feet ghat road with road slides along the way. Reached Dalhousie at 10:00PM and Shyam had to head back to Dharamsala. We prayed for his safety. Finished our dinner and slept like a log.
Monday, October 08, 2007
We arrived at Chakki Bank next day morning around 7:00 AM. Took a taxi to Norling Guest house, Dharamsala. It took us around three hours, we crossed Punjab boarder and entered Himachal. I have enjoyed the taxi driver’s Punjabi accent along the drive asking him questions. It was pouring heavily all the way to the guest house. It was beautiful place that KM and Sai found out on the internet. Amidst bamboo gardens a small Tibetan style settlement. We got refreshed and I took a long nap. Sai and KM took a quick walk around the guest house and were pretty excited. They both woke me up and I was still groggy from my jet lag but couldn’t help listen to their excited tit bits. Around 5:00 PM finished my lunch and headed for sightseeing. Since not much light is left, we thought we will cover Tapovan Ashram at Sidhberi. It is the headquarters of Chinmya Mission. We three have been Chinmya Yuva Kendra members in college days and there was an occasion to visit Sidhberi at that time. Unfortunately my parents did not feel comfortable to send me to Sidhberi in Himalayas at that time. It is in our destiny, so it was there right in front of our eyes serene, beautiful, pleasant location that was described to us 16 years ago. After visiting ashram, we went to Ram Mandir that is in the premises and returned to our guest house.