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.
The first day in Delhi is not always easy because of lack of sleep on the plane, crazy heat, fierce colors, crowds of people, flies, cars, etc… We managed to see most of Delhi during the first day, despite the difficulties. But, it was unbelievably pleasant to just relax and enjoy the fresh air in the midst of the city in the evening — in the beautiful Lodhi Garden.
It’s amazing how many different bird species one can see in Delhi; eagles and hawks hovering in the sky and geese begging for snacks in the parks.
We spent several days in the Kullu valley. The landscapes beckoned us towards it on our very first day there.
We made it to the Jogini waterfall so fast I could not believe it, as if it was not very far and high at all. After the trek we decided to go to Manali by foot! I was pretty sure that I would get more muscles on my legs trekking with these guys.
It was the second day in the Himalayas. We were performing even better than the day before! 20 km on foot, riding yaks and drinking whisky during breaks between visits to different temples. That was quite a lot, considering that one of the guests was still limping a bit since he had broken his spine and both of his heels only 6 months ago. I admire such adventurous people!
We were invited into a traditional Himachali house until the rain stopped; the house is about 100 years old!
On the way back to our village we ran into a procession with a local deity. They stopped somewhere in the field and orchards, the shaman was performing some magic ritual and there also was a trembling goat by his feet…”Too much for one day (just the second day of the tour) in the Himalayas” were our thoughts, so we decided not to wait and hurry back home.
This was the third day in the Himalayas — on top of the ridge at the confluence of the Beas and Parvati rivers, close to the “Electric” Shiva Temple.
Watching the cows looking at the Parvati valley from high up.
The Kullu valley and the airport strip where we arrived by flight from Delhi.
There was a modest marriage ceremony inside the “Electric” Shiva Temple and we enjoyed some sweets they gave us.
Vashisht deity goes out of his temple to visit Naggar village (30 km away) at the invitation of a family whose desire was satisfied by him. It was good that our bus started before the procession blocked the road.
Whose idea was it to go this way?
This time we chose quite an unusual way to reach Anjani Mahadev temple. We had to climb down the steep slope and cross the river by jumping from one stone to another. We enjoyed the cool wind blowing from the snow covered peaks.
We were welcomed by the wonderful scenery.
The town of Manikaran remains mostly undiscovered. We rushed through the town because we were tired after the long jeep ride, unfortunately.
Here we are enjoying the bonfire in the Parvati valley; getting ready for tomorrow’s trek.
Walking to Khirganga. 5 hour trek made us all very sweaty.
Somewhere on the trail.
River-beauty Jirah. We were happy to see it in its natural beauty. Soon this valley will change the way it looks after they finish the dam.
We met these men from Barshani village (4 hours away) at Khirganga — they were building a temple to the goddess Durga. Worked throughout the day, sang Bhajan-songs at a night bonfire, welcoming everyone with Shiva-prasad. Cooked food in huge pots and bathed all together in the natural springs. What a life)))
The view at Khirganga. It was the highest and furthest destination on our trip. After that we had to go back — back to Kullu airport, back to Delhi, back home…