Published: February 21st 2007June 15th 2006
Recharging in Dharamsala
After our ordeals in Uttaranchel
we just wanted a place to relax. By then, we had enough of 'hardcore' India so we took off to Dharamsala, a central destination on the 'bitten track' - the popular route that most travelers take.
Dharamsala is a small town in north India, in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It was brought on the tourism map due to the Dalai Lama placing there his residence after being exiled from Tibet. He settled in Mcleod Ganj, a village above downtown Dharamsala, together with many refugees following him. The relations between them and the locals are quite well now, after lots of tension in the past which resulted in violence. There's no big sympathy between both sides but they get along somehow.
Yoga, Tai Chi, Massage, Jewelry and even Mashed Paper (!) Workshops keep one busy in this town at any time. Vipanasa course, involving 11 days of utter isolation during which extensive meditation is practiced, is one of the main highlights and people actually enroll weeks in advance. We spent 2 weeks there and praticed Tai Chi but quit after few classes because of the inadequate teacher. It seemed that most
of the guides were amatuears, usually backpackers who settled down for few months, trying to make some money before moving on.
Hiking was much better as Dharamsala is surrounded by green hills, waterfalls and snowy peaks. We hiked to almost any site available, such as Dharamkot cool waterfalls and the filthy Dal Lake. The highlight though was undoubtfully the Triond, a popluar spot to which everyone 'must' go. After 3 hour walk uphill we reached the viewpoint of spectecular snowy peaks. Many travelers stay there for several days, sleeping in a cave or a tent and practicing meditation. We prefered to come down the same day.
Back in Mcleod Ganj, Buddhist monks fill the streets with color and atmosphere, completed by their Indian peers, the Sadhus. We visited a Tibetan nunstry and were told about the horrors they suffered from the Chinese before being deported. It was easy to sympatize the gentle Tibetans though it raised questions about the effectiveness of their non-violent straggle. It is also interesting to see how indecisive the world is towards China while Israel is condemned for far less things, but lets keep politics out of this blog... The Title
is taken from The Smiths' song 'Death Of A Disco Dancer' which suits the Tibetan vain straggle for independence.
There are more photos below