Friday, 11 May 2012

More Of the Himalayan Hill Stations

More buses, more valleys, more mountains, raging rivers crossed and more of the most exotic scenery coupled with the most amazing tapestry of life, cultures, smells and diversification's of sounds and colours all becoming an overload for the senses. The trip across to Simla, on my way to meet up with the Tibetan Dance and Ballet Group in Dharmsala was even more fascinating than the bus trip to Manali.As now I was traversing across the lower mountain roads across the Himalayas, with scenery ever changing around every bend of the road.

Simla  was the summer capitol of the British Raj in the mid eighteen hundreds.  There was still plenty of remnants scattered around in the form of colonial architecture,Simla was   famed for its Victorian  Architecture with most of the houses built from timber ( oak).

From Simla I continued to Mcleod Ganj (ganj being the Hindi word for neighbourhood) which is where the Tibetan Government in exile is headquartered. This is further up the mountain from Dharmsala where the Dalai Lama official residence is and where I intended to stay for awhile. 
I booked into a funky old guest house which are prolific, they look good on the outside but when you get to your room they don't stand up to any scrutiny,  I moved out  the next day as they did not have hot water. . I wanted to stay for about a week. On a notice board in a coffee shop, I spotted a current, well written ad, for a room with mountain  views and garden which I tracked down, inspected, and moved in. It was owned by an Anglo Indian Lady who was a gem. I had my own bathroom and a hot shower which I was hanging out for, I had been living rough for about ten days and was desperate for a hot shower, shave, shampoo and clean set of clothes and was able to wash my dirty stuff and re establish my orientation and just stop and relish where I was.

I met up with the blokes in the TD&BC who showed me around the Tibetan Precinct which is large and becoming very established with the help of the Indian Government. Mcleod Ganj is a preferable place to Dharmsala to live as it is higher and not as crowded and closer to the high range of mountains.I went trekking several times following paths that must be centuries old into valleys and peaks, the air so clean - trekking, it is a bit like going for a surf, its a solo spiritual activity that invigorates  all the senses, lifts the spirits and the fitter you are the more enjoyable the activity.

I was now feeling totally rejuvenated and  sufficiently healthy, that I was able to eat from selected sidewalk food stalls without getting 'Asian Belly,' which is a good barometer on the state of your health. I had been on the road for the past three months. In Nepal and India, and felt I had seen and achieved enough for this trip,India would beckon again.  I still had Paris and Amsterdam to go, as i had my collection of Sumban Ikats to sell.

With this in mind I left the hill stations  of India and caught a bus back to Delhi and picked up my belongings from the Oberoi Hotel's cloakroom and proceeded to organize my booking to Paris, Amsterdam and London.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tony,
    It must have been magical to have crossed the mountains and realize the exotic experiences.
    To be in Tibet itself would be wonderful,and to be near to the Dalai lama's official residence a dream.
    Glad to hear you got healthy again.