Blogs from Himachal Pradesh, India, Asia - page 2


Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Shimla December 5th 2013

After a month of peace and quiet, of cafes and momos, of Buddhism and English tutoring, it was time to leave McLoed Ganj and re-enter the "real India." We hopped our first bus down to the bigger town of Daramshala from McLeod and began our epic journey. In the past 48 hours we have taken 5 buses, 4 trains and 2 auto rickshaws (like 3 wheeled scooters), all of which, disregarding the rickshaws, were local means of transportation and devoid of any westerners except for ourselves. We took a second bus from Daramshala to Kangra and caught a rickshaw to the train station. We were dropped off at a no-name town and told to go down the street even too small for our rickshaw to the station. Down the road, over a fairly sturdy pedestrian suspension ... read more

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Dharamsala November 15th 2013

We first noticed this phenomenon when a baked good we had ordered to go from Tibet Quality Bakery in Dharamshala was handed to us in a wrapper labeled Crystal Light. We wondered if this was some sort of advertising - perhaps Crystal Light, a low-calorie powder added to water to give it a fruity flavor, passed out free food packaging to shops, and advertised through their name on the packaging. We saw this same packaging at various shops throughout the town. When we inspected it further, we saw that the packaging was printed so that it was set up for individual packets, to be cut from the larger sheet, the edges fused shut, and filled with the powder. It was given to shops in larger sheets. Tibet Bakery gave us our brownies and nut bars in ... read more

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Manali November 12th 2013

Hey all, So I'll slow down on the Blog from now on. The trek is over, we're all washed up, our clothes are clean and dry and our belly is full. We were a bit disappointed by Manali; a giant tourist trap full of dope-heads, shops and restaurants. Luckily we found a guest house outside the main strip between traditional old houses. Anyway our bags were tooooo big and toooo heavy, so we decided to go and leave it all in Delhi. Delhi has changed a lot since I was there 8 years ago. The touts and scams were running higher than ever. Even though we knew all about the traps, it was still hard to get honest information and to buy a train ticket. But we DID manage to buy our ticket to Agra and ... read more
Hindu flame
German Bakery, Italian coffee, Israeli tourists and a Belgian guy.
Manali Traditionnal House 1

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Keylong November 8th 2013

After this Trekingus Interuptus, we decided to stay an extra day in Keylong. Keylong is a small town on the Leh-Manali "highway-track-full of holes-dirt-road". We also copletely left Ladakh and Zanskar, we are now in the state of Himachal Pradesh. When we arrived yesterday, there was a pleasant feel in the town: Sunny! Shops!! Hotel with shower!!! Restaurant!!!! etc.... We had 2 showers in a row;-) Ate Indian food till we exploded, so we decide to stay here for an extra day, moreover there are some day-treks to do here too. Today is not as sunny as yesterday, and the shops are all closed, but anyway we did a walk to a gompa on the other side of the river. The photos you're looking at are taken from the gompa. So you can see that it ... read more
Keylong 2
Keylong 3

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Dharamsala November 5th 2013

Indian TV is hilarious. On our first day in India, while taking a break from the hectic streets of New Delhi, we turned on the TV in our hotel and surfed the channels. Indian TV is so busy! Meg and I are that couple who will tell you about how we don't own a TV in our house because if we did, we wouldn't be able to help ourselves from watching it all the time. And I'm that guy who, while out at a bar or restaurant with a TV (or 12) on, ignores everything and everyone around him, staring vacantly at the flashing lights and pretty colors while absentmindedly sipping my beer. It doesn't matter what's on - Nascar, the evening news, plotless movies withs lots of explosions, golf - the TV always commands my ... read more


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

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