Tag archives for Himachal Pradesh
Only for jeep-safari lovers ☺
Delhi — Shimla — Sarahan — Kalpa — Nako — Tabo — Dhankar Gompa — Key Gompa — Komik — Chandratal Lake — Vashisht — Naggar — Delhi
July 1 — 15, 2017
End of the world. Spiti Valley, together with Ladakh, was once a part of Tibet but now it remains mainly beyond the reaches of a tourist map. This incredibly beautiful region with extremely harsh nature is cut off from civilization by snow which blocks the roads for most of the year. There is no airport here, only bad roads with mountain passes of over 4000 m.
The moon like landscapes. The naked mountains are devoid of refreshing green cover of trees, and because of this ‘nakedness’ the layers making the earth’s crust become visible — they are all broken, smashed, and pushed up while these mountains were created. One can feel with their skin, on a physical level, the energy and the might of the Earth.
Here and there the eyes can find tiny blocks of simple white washed houses, which constitute a harmonious part of the landscape. They are like tiny bread crumbs on a tablecloth of mountain slopes — so easy to just shake them off…
Russian spiritual seeker and painter, Nicolas Roerich, was passing through these lands during a horse expeditions he organized in the search of mystic Shambala. Having visited this region one realizes why the mountains are of violet and blue color on his paintings.
Dalai-Lama has said that it’s here where he is going to retire one day — far from the vanities of the world. Having visited this region one realizes what he means by ‘far from the vanities of the world’.
1000 years ago when Buddhism was persecuted by the authorities in Tibet, it was here where Rinchen Zangpo — the Great Translator of the buddhist texts into Tibetan — spread his teachings. This was where he founded many monasteries and was born to a new incarnation and nowadays he is the head of the Key Monastery.
A very nice company came to travel with me this May. It was the first time that I had met men who have remained close friends for more than 35 years — since they were at school! That is even longer than I have been alive in this world, so it was very interesting and inspiring for me to see such an example. I created this tour program especially for them. We spent 10 days in the Himalayas. There were a lot of walks in nature — sometimes across wild slopes without any trails. We had lots of good talks over tasty food. The experience would not be wholly authentic without bumpy jeep rides on mountain roads — we couldn’t avoid the rough roads even though we tried our best :). The weather was mostly nice and sunny during our travel! We only had a couple of, somewhat, rainy days. Good fortune allowed us to witness how the gods of Kullu valley were socializing with one another. It was lucky of us to visit some of the holy places in the region, soaking in their vibrations, to be invited to a traditional Himachali house and, finally, to join a bunch of Hindus constructing a temple for a night bonfire and Bhajan-song session at the altitude of 3000 m. It is my belief that the trip was well worth the effort and my guests were all able to peek into the mysterious souls of the Indian people.
One of these days Vashisht and Shiva — the gods from Vashisht village, Kullu Valley, Himachal Pradesh — were invited to visit one of the village families at their home. An ordinary family invited the gods for a puja as a thank you for making their wish come true (nobody said what wish though). In the evening they arranged a feast for all the village, everyone was invited. So I went too.
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That is how we celebrated Diwali — my owner's family and the only foreigner left in the guesthouse apart from me. The doors are wide open — we are waiting for Lakshmi to come. As soon as it got dark the daughter-in-law went to paint Lakshmi's footprints on the steps and the sons lit and arranged the candles everywhere around the house so that Lakshmi could see where to go. I don't know though how Lakshmi is not afraid of all these crackers. There are heaps of the paper from them everywhere in the morning.
Khirganga. The Ganges of milk rice pudding 'khir'. Such is the name of a wonderful natural hot spring at the height of almost 3000 m in Parvati Valley, Himachal Pradesh, India. It really compliments the beauty of the surroundings. Imagine just what it would be like to observe this serene beauty while soaking in the hot water... Such a bliss. Totally worth trekking up here.
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