Our trip from Delhi to Dharamsala was a really hard one. Squeezed in a Jeep for more than twelve hours we started the journey a saturday night leaving the traffic-congested city behind us. I thought that the traffic on the highway would get less the more distant we were away from Delhi but it got actually worse. With backpacks on the roof and daypacks under our feet the space was limited. I was sitting next to the driver and everybody asked me how I could. Thanks to the MP3 player it was not too bad. The traffic was chaotic and the driver was sticking on the rear bumper of any car in front of us, using the horn like hell, as everybody. The road was partial quite bad and we had to pass 4 military checkpoints. They just wanted money (50rps each) our driver had only to pay once. I did not sleep. Insomnia? No, many cars and people everywhere, unbelievable.
Around 4 a.m. we did our third and last stop and soon it started to get dawn. Driving through the serpentines with the impressive mountain-massive and its snowy peaks in front of us, this panorama really got me. I felt some nice energy flowing through my body and knew instantly how much I will like this part of India. I was impressed by the wildlife we passed and saw a lot of majestic eagles and around twenty cheeky monkeys in one spot. After we arrived in McLeod Ganj at six in the morning first thing that happened was a demonstration of beautiful Tibetian school-kids, I didn't get against what they were demonstrating, but they had a lot of fun. We caught a Rickshaw to Bagshu, a quiter town 2km north.
After getting some sleep I checked the location and found McLeod Ganj very busy in the afternoon. A lot of tourism is happening here and it is high-season. The next day I was looking for a quiter place and ended up in Dharmkot, north of Bagshu. I will stay here now for a while and do a track where I can see the whole mountain chain. The whole place is full of ashrams, meditation & yoga centers and Israelis. I guess here are more Israelis than locals :-). The crew is very young and a lot of people take it very easy, meditate a bit, smoke a lot of weed and are waiting for the upcoming trance-party. It's almost like in good old Australia but no ozzie's here. A lot of people start talking hebrew to me but I don't understand a word.
It was raining today and soon the temperature dropped and it got very chilly. Very nice though when the rain cleared and the warm sunny rays warmed the skin again in the afternoon. I will take it easy the next days and get some info's about the two-weekly Dalai Lama speech and want to know more about the Tibetian culture. Many Tibetians here of course, what a sad destiny they have to face. I like the Tibetians a lot and was surprised that men and women are so good looking.
I started reading a book of the Dalai Lama today. The title is The Power Of Buddishm. It is not only very interesting, but to read it here where he is living makes it very special. A big Trance Party with a german DJ is starting here on the 16th of June. The party lasts 30 hours and there will be one stand where one can buy drugs. How stupid in such a beautiful place, but what can you do. After getting no accomodation in Bhagsu (also known as Bhagsunag) I had to move up to the quite town Dharamkot. Dharamkot has very fine views over Bhagsu and the valley. From Bhagsu it is possible to do a 2km stroll to a temple and waterfall. Another good hike which I want to do soon is the 8km trek to Triund (2827m). Triund has a föat green area at the foot of the Dhaula Dhar with magnificent views. It is possible to continue to Ilaqua (another 5km), to the snow line. Here is a forest rest house. In summer (which means right now) one can continue to Mharmour in the Chamba Valley over Indrahar La (4300m).
The last night we had a big Thunderstorm with lots of lightning and rain. The weather is variable and for a hike I have to start around 7 in the morning. At 10 the first big clouds cover the mountains and a couple of hours later the rain starts. Usually it clears for sunset though, which is around sevenish.
In this area are lots of possibilities. Yoga of all sorts, Reiki, Ajurveda,
Tai-Chi and Meditation-classes. The meditation-courses run usually ten
days and you get up at four in the morning, having around 13 hours of
meditation with breaks and go to bed at nine thirty. The Vipassana
Meditation Center runs courses from April to November and you have
to register well in advance. Losar is a special event where the Dalai
Lama gives week-long teachings and this is a good time to be in McLeod
Ganj. The next Tibetian New Year (Losar) is the 1 January 2006. So make
a cross in your calendar. Other dates are the 6. July where the Dalai
Lama calebrates his birthday (he turns 70 this year). From the 10 to 12
December the International Himalayan Festival featuring cultural events
from all Himalayan nations takes part in McLeod Ganj.