First stop in the Himalayas: Kalimpong

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April 1st 2012
Published: May 24th 2012
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Tharpa Choling GompaTharpa Choling GompaTharpa Choling Gompa

Preparing for the Ceremony
"Why do you want to go to the Himalayas?" someone asked me.

To answer that question, I would first have to know why anyone would NOT want to go to the Himalayas....

We arrive at Kalimpong after a long flight: Kansas City to Abu Dhabi, to Delhi for 10 hour Layover, to Bagdogra Airport near Siliguri in West Bengal. We hire a ride from the Airport to Kalimpong & get let off at the very busy & crowded motor stand. Another taxi offers us a ride to our hotel, but we have been riding so long we decide to try & walk. We head out in what luckily turns out to be the right direction & after a while ask a friendly man directions to the Deki Lodge. "JP Lodge, I am going that way" "No Deki Lodge" I say. "JP Lodge, J and P, JP" he says, ...I see on our map that the JP lodge is close to the Deki Lodge, so we follow, when we get to the JP, the kind proprieter directs us up steep steps to the Deki Lodge. It is a beautiful place to arrive after our long journey.

In the morning,
view of Kalimpongview of Kalimpongview of Kalimpong

From the Gompa
our host invites us to a ceremony at the Tharpa Choling Gompa. It turns out that there is a very special ceremony taking place there today, performed by Jangtse Choje Rimpoche Lobsang Tenzin. A White Tara Ceremony. The very kindly lady who owns our Lodge gives us scarves to offer to the Rimpoche after the ceremony, when he holds an audience for all the attendees. We find our way to the Gompa and are given a mat to sit on, as the ceremony is being held outside in the main courtyard. In the course of the event, everyone is served yak butter tea and ceremonial seet rice by the monks. We enjoy the ceremony & feel very lucky and blessed to be able to attend.

We enjoyed Kalimpong. It has a historic vibe, having been once a part of Bhutan and then transfered to British rule in colonial times. It was a main center on the old trade route to Tibet. The people we met here were friendly to us. The place where we stayed was very comfortable and friendly. Altho we only stay for 2 and a half days, I would have liked to stay here longer.

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