Blogs from Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India, Asia


Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu April 19th 2014

Banjar Valley, Himachal Pradesh April 19th 2014 “Cricket to us was more than play, it was a worship in the summer sun” Edmund Blunden “I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth -certainly greater than sex, although sex isn't too bad either” Harold Pinter In India, the game of cricket is a passion (and as near to a religion on par with Hinduism as you will get - not to discount the fervour for other religions, but Hinduism is by far the largest religion and maybe also the most passionate – maybe). That is not to say that a Buddhist monk (for example) cannot be equally captured by this game (see picture). This is of course a story with a very male-oriented focus. I am talking about male ... read more
Taking it seriously on the Solahnu School yard
A neighbouring village pitch
Cricket as meditation

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu April 1st 2014

Solahnu April 1st 2014 Find a place to call my own And try and fix up Start a brand new day Neil Young, Out on the Weekend Solahnu village (pop 123) sits at 2,800 mts above sea level in Banjar Valley, Kullu District, Himachal Pradesh and is one of hundreds of small villages strung across the lower Himali which are only accessible by walking/climbing track (often goat track). Yes it has electricity and piped water, satellite TV and even sporadic internet (for the few who have computers) but no shops and little flat space as it clings to the mountain side. The plus here is that being so high it receives over 10 hours direct sunlight from Spring to Autumn and a good deal more sunlight than the lower valley in Winter. And so agriculture is ... read more
Cricket on the Solahnu pitch
Father Son bonding in Solahnu
After work leisure in Solahnu

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu November 4th 2013

Awakening is Emptiness awakening to Emptiness. Zen: Ancient and Modern, Ama Samy, 2010, Vaigarai Publishing House Do not dwell on what has passed away, or what is yet to be Leonard Cohen, ANTHEM So as with the passing of things impermanent (all things), it's time to leave Himachal Pradesh after two months. The last month has been spent living alone in the most beautiful and serene house high on a mountainside on the edge of the village of Solhanu. But it's just getting too cold now for comfort – as soon as the sun is gone the drop in temperature is dramatic. My legs are pretty toned now from all the walking up and down from the house to Jibhi below – every third or fourth day became an excitement for me – to go to ... read more
Flowers in my garden
My friend Kumar
My last Solhanu cooked meal (for now)

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu October 28th 2013

You can add up the parts but you won't have the sum Leonard Cohen - Anthem The coherent effect of religious belief on the social fabric of a society is often a more significant 'outcome' of a belief system than the truth or not of the belief system itself. In Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, the so-called 'Valley of the Gods', this is very much apparent. The people are deeply religious and god-fearing. They live in one of the most spectacular settings on earth – the Himalayan foothills. The natural environment is magnificent and grand in the outplay of physical force, so much so as to have led the inhabitants to assign it supernatural powers. The mountains themselves are gods, together with an array of greater and minor (village level) deities. There is a particularly local ... read more
Gods outing
Two village meet
Offering to the deity

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu October 25th 2013

His first experience of the emptiness was as a child (he can’t remember at what age, probably around 6 or 7). He lay at night waiting for sleep to come, and would see the bouncing lines of balls, in slow motion with the image of each ball leaving a trail behind, bouncing on and on and on …….. Years later he would hear people on radio talk-back recall what they called their ‘eternity dream’, and be reminded of this experience of nothingness, as if it represented some commonly held vision all people got from time to time. Still, it was unique to him when that child. It left him in awe of the space and silence of outer existence…. somewhere. Nothingness, emptiness, silence. They who have no riches, … who have perceived the void and unconditioned ... read more
Local plumbing
Frost on the ground


Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu October 19th 2013

Garra Guseni Just quietly vanish inside yourself, disappear. So beautiful. Your form is still here, but inside: Nobody. Inside: Cooked. But don’t tell anybody that. Just be the peace of this world, the light and joy that shines from the indivisible Self. - Mooji Several people (locals and tourists) had told me that the town of Garra Guseni, just 20 km from Jibhi, was worth a visit. So I had planned to do it. I had a quite calming early morning meditating and doing hatha yoga. I felt outside of myself as I started off down the track to where Gladys is parked (Gladys the wonder bike) at 6.30 am. Look – in the mountains, if you want the best views of distant peaks ya gotta get going early before the clouds move in. It was ... read more
Lansing getting some respite
Egg Parantha making
As much activity as is seen in Garra Guseni at one time

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu October 17th 2013

These days are slipping right through my hands These days turn out nothing like I had planned Powderfinger “These Days” Forget your perfect offering There is a crack in everything That's how the light gets in Leonard Cohen “Anthem” I am living in a beautiful space (a house) on the outskirts of a village called Solahnu (population 123), an hour by walking track (no road) up a steep mountainside from the town of Jibhi in Bangar Valley Kullu (Himachal Pradesh India). How I got to be offered this opportunity is a long story, but suffice to say this is my fourth time in this valley since 2009 and my mind's eye has fancied being able to do just this kind of thing since that fist visit. I am doing nothing and everything. My days are empty ... read more
"My place" for sitting meditation
View from my verandah 6.45am
Another view from verandah

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu October 8th 2013

There's nothing quite so sad as a pub with no beer Slim Dust Practice non-attachment to money.... Buddhist teaching I had been to the Money Temple (also known as an ATM) in Bangar the day before and been blessed with 10,000 rupees: 9 x 1,000 rupee notes and 2 x 500 rupee notes. I was moving up to the house in Solahnu later today – 2 hours by walking track only, straight up the mountainside. No shops there and no need for money except to give the local kids 50 or 60 rupees if I were to ask them to deliver bundles of wood for my tandoor (an early prototype of the New Zealand Massport Pot Belly Stove). And being late Autumn it was about to get cold at night. I needed to stock up ... read more

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu October 2nd 2013

Manikaran - Parvati Valley Hills of forest green where the mountains touch the sky A dream come true, I'll live there till I die Don McLean – Castles in the Air 'You are a bit crazy Paul', I said to myself for not the first time as I scrambled on all fours through yet anther dense thicket of seemingly impenetrable scrub of bracken, grasses, stinging nettle and 'farmers friend' weeds (to mention just a few). I was staying at Manikaran in Parvati Valley, and had woken up early (around 4.30am) and already been to the temple hot spring bath. It was now turning out to be a perfectly clear blue sky morning. It was like being landlocked (only this was valley-locked), being down in the valley knowing that the peaks are just 'there' – up and ... read more
house on wrong side of gully
Stinging nettled arm!
A glimpse of the prize

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu September 15th 2013

Ragupur Fort – Jalori Pass, Banjar Valley And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains Within the sound of silence “I'll wake you up early if the sky is clear” was my parting message to the two guys staying in the next cottage. I had suggested that getting up to Jalori Pass (3,223 m above sea level) on a clear morning would be spectacular for views of the Himalayas in the distance. But when I knocked on their door at 5.30am the response from somewhere in the dark room was not positive. “We might come up later” said one. So I set off alone – naturally! On the climb out of the valley, it was fresh and crisp on Gladys (my Enfield wonder bike) and I had to pull my beanie down over ... read more
Magical path on the way to the fort
Ragupur Fort
Ragupur Fort wall

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