Blogs from Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, India, Asia


Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu July 25th 2015

"I have no trekking experience. I have never traveled alone, left the Indian subcontinent or stayed in a tent. " - this was me 15 days from the trip , talking about how stupid the idea sounds in my head now. I was stunned that I did not think of all this before booking the flights, bus and the package trip. One week before the trip came the moment where i had to tell my mother about it. I obviously lied that I'm not going alone. The idea that i'm truly alone set in when i was sitting in the flight heading to Delhi. As the huge piece of metal magically landed safely and I didn't have any one next to me handing me a paper bag, that's when I realized - I have pick up ... read more

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu October 20th 2014

Title quote from theme song of The Wire, HBO Jibhi, Saraj Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India Oct 19th 2014 “Though there will be many negative thoughts, I will turn them all around” Buddhist daily pledge I need to request indulgence with this blog.... perhaps the 'location' of this blog is not India at all but 'Paul's mind'. After a recent post of a picture to FaceBook, a friend had commented how she just loved the life I was leading. My immediate response was that my life is no better or worse than most, albeit I tend to spend a lot of time in fantastically peaceful environments. I am lucky. But I still have 'me' to contend with (which I pretty well accept 'as is'); my 'monkey mind'; and I must continually practice consciousness (watching the movie without ... read more
Local field work
Pool of renewal
Rock face next to pool

Asia » India » Himachal Pradesh » Kullu October 10th 2014

Bala, Inner Saraj Valley, Himachal Pradesh 9th October, 2014 “Smile, breathe and go slowly” Thic Nhat Hanh “Be happy in the moment, that's enough. Each moment is all we need, not more” Mother Teresa “What is your name?......What is your quest?.......What is your favourite colour?” The Bridgekeeper, Monty Python and the Holy Grail Waking early to a totally clear sky, I decide to do my stuff and take a bike ride the long way to Banjar so as to score a glimpse of distant snow caps, as is my passion. Rather than the relatively good 8 km road this is a 15 km unsurfaced road with some sections reduced to a mud bath. But at one point the views north and east reveal distant high mountains. My plan is to visit Wolfgang, a German married to ... read more
Bee man protected and baba close behind with nothing
Baba Vivekananda
Bala house scene

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

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