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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Himachal Pradesh, India

Jul 26, 2005 - I think there might be drugs around here

McLeod Ganj is unique. Home to the Dalai Lama in exile, thousands of Tibetan refugees and a gentler species of Indian, the town attracts a mulitude of backpackers. Everyone is on a search. Everyone is engaged in the struggle for the freedom of the Tibetan homeland, empowering Tibetan refugees with basic English phrases. So many people practising yoga. So many people radiating bliss. So many people clearly smoking much weed. The town is perched on the slopes of a verdant valley, and maroon-cloaked monks peacefully go about their business...

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Jul 16, 2005 - Shimla - Dharamsala & McLeod Ganj, India

Von Mumbai aus reise ich mit dem Rajdhani Express nach New Delhi. In New Delhi warte ich auf Monika, welche mich die naechsten fuenf Wochen begleiten wird. Mit der Himalayan Queen geht es weiter nach Kalka wo wir auf den Shimla Toy Train umsteigen und nach 103 Tunnel in Shimla, einer Hill Station, ankommen. Shimla ist jedoch enttaeuschend, fuer uns aber sowieso nur ein Zwischenhalt. Also weiter mit dem Bus nach McLeod Ganj. Wir sind genau eine Stunde zu spaet! Der Dalai Lama hat soeben eine seiner grossen Reden gehalten. Und nun zieht er...

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Far far away...

Jul 12, 2005 - I hear it relaxes your...

My first dinner in McLeod Ganj was Micheal's leaving dinner. He introduced me to Ellie, Shanta, Emily, Gavin, Jerimiah and smoking bedis. Bedis are a small amount of cut tobacco rolled in a tobacco leaf. They have a pink thread tied around one end so you know which end to hold and which end to light. In most Indian streets you can buy packs of 23 for four rupees, making each bedi worth about as much as the butane it takes to light one, and to keep it lit, because bedis will extinguish themselves when you exhale. They prove that words like...

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Jul 9, 2005 - Over Bhun Bhuni hill

It occurred to me during the night that riding buffalos back to Kalga would probably be painful and smelly. By 8am the buffalo man hadn't arrived. The morning's first disappointment was also the morning's first relief. The sky was clear. Tomer, another Israeli I'd met the night before, is going to spend the day in Kiriganga watching the tide of sun sweep in and out over the mountain that sits over us like a cinema screen. Our guide is Rs 100 more expensive than the last one because it will take six hours to get over Bhun Bhuni. At 9:30...

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Jul 8, 2005 - Finished

There are three approaches from Kalga to the squirrel. The low path takes six hours across the bridge I crossed yesterday, up the valley and then back across the bridge at Rudra Nag temple. The high path takes two days over Bhun Bhuni and the glacier. The direct route crosses a bridge that was claimed by Shiva two days ago during the rains. For Rs 200 my adolescent guide will say he knows a way around the bridge and I'll feel more comfortable having someone else around. My comfort might be claimed by Shiva in an hour and a half when we get...

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Jul 7, 2005 - Going to Kiriganga to see a squirrel

Manikaren isn't a pretty town. It has some hot springs and geothermal activity that warm the streets beneath your feet. Clouds of steam drift around the town giving it an eerie gothic feeling. Three year ago a flood collapsed half of the government hotel by the river leaving a row of exposed bathrooms and concrete columns that crows perch on. Sikhs come here for holidays and to visit the Sikh temple. They seem to scare the Israelis away. Apart from Noam and Leah who I arrived with I didn't see a single Israeli, making it unique in the...

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Jul 6, 2005 - Bovine road maintenance

Several of my Malanan readers have written in to complain about my previous entry in which I called their religion 'nonsense'. I'd like to remind them that their Jamu temple is decorated with the antlers of dead animals, a collection of ornamental horses, and a decoy duck. If they can explain or remove the hunting paraphernalia on their temple then I may reconsider my previous statements. It's reassuring to know they don't misunderstand me when I described their town as 'backward' and their children 'bratty'. Parvati valley is often Parbati...

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Jul 5, 2005 - Malana

I was told to camp in the meadow with the shepherds (3100 m) because of bears and other wild animals. I could hear big animals coming past my tent all night. I couldn't relax unless they started eating grass. I've never been so thankful for dogs barking all night, and I didn't get much sleep. Some kids invited me up to their tent for songs in the evening. One of them had very rough english, enough to get excited about Ricky Ponting, the other ten sat and listened and we watched Manali twinkling 1000m below us down the valley. They all lived...

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Jun 27, 2005 - Keylong to Manali

The woman in front of me was a Buddhist and therefore would have been more comfortable with death than I was. She wouldn't have been as disturbed by the way the driver swept the front of the bus around hairpin corners and the edge of the cliff veered violently towards us and the n slowly retreated. She wouldn't have had the same frayed nerves and white knuckles as the bus tacked up or down a cliff and then crossed a pass or a bridge and repeated tacking down or up again. I intended to take a photo every half an hour to show the scenery...

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Apr 27, 2005 - Dharamsala / McLeod Ganj sketches

Here I am, over a week now in Dharamsala. The past few weeks have been a blur, moving from Pushkar to Delhi to Shimla to Manali to here, so I won't try to lay everything out sensibly. So in no special order, here's a few flashbacks from recently: - In Shimla, walking up to the monkey temple of Hanuman with a rather depressed-looking guy who struck up conversation in the market below. He was an unemployed teacher, and left long pauses before replying to anything. The path was lined with monkeys, mothers and babies, who didn't take kindly to...

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Trip Journal


Steve's World Tour

Apr 24, 2005 - Dharamsala

I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Dharamsala looking outside where it is steadily raining. There might be some flakes of snow falling from above the doorway, but that's impossible--its too warm. Maybe those flakes are wind-blow castaways of wool coming down the rain gutters from one of the many sheep I've seen plying the streets, but those sheep look like the milking kind not sheering type. They aren't puffy enough. Actually, if there is or isn't a difference in types of sheep; I don't know. I've been sick for the past few days, spending...

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Apr 11, 2005 - Shimla

I decided that with so little time left till my birthday, I wasn't going to spend it in Jaisalmer after all, which is extremely hot right now. So I got the so-called "sleeper" bus (just try getting some rest in a stuffy padded cubicle several inches too short for you with the coach banging and bumping along through the night). Back in Delhi, I hid in a Barista coffee place. Going outside meant swatting off gangs of taxi drivers and refusing to buy magazines. Shattered. Then the night train to Shimla, here in the Himalayan foothills. The...

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Trip Journal


Steve's World Tour

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