Monday, February 20, 2006

McLeodganj

If you want to find calm and peace on this planet, you must go to Lhasa at least once in your life or at least to the Dalai Lama’s Monastery in McLeodganj (Himachal Pradesh, India). The quaint little town which nests in the Dhauladhar’s, 5 miles from Dharamshala, has been given to the Tibetan refugees by the Indian Government as a token of help to escape we all know what. As you reach the town centre (let’s call it that for the sake of convenience), you see German Bakeries, Tibetan artifact shops, Chinese Restaurants (the irony) and vegetable sellers, etc. The famed calm will hit you in the face as you walk about the market place, no noise, no pollution, and absolute serenity. The silver jewels, Tibetan precious and semi precious stones, and handmade wall hangings are nothing short of exquisite. And on the way you’ll come across spotless, ageless and beautiful monks- their skin aglow with health. The monastery seems like a microcosm of its own, and the big golden Buddha statue will hold you in its awe for quite a while. You can always pick up souvenirs and Buddhist books from the Temple Bookstore and Souvenir shop. To me it’s the most peaceful place I have been to yet.

My personal favourite glut place there is down the mall, across the veggie sellers, in a little hut shaped cake shop called “Chocolate Hut”. Living up to its name it serves old English style breakfast cakes, chocolates desserts and fresh bread, etc- it’s to die for, no kidding.

The option of trekking can be fully exploited there with the RMC (Regional Mountaineering Centre) just a couple of minutes walk from the German cake shop. They will take you to the highest peaks of Dhauladhar and even to two mighty glaciers alongwith a professional trekker. And group costs are economical. Not to forget that the temple of Bhagsu Nath is only a couple of miles away and with its stone lake with water coming out of lion statues' - is worth a decko. Looking
forward to my next trip there!

1 comment:

Thornbury Community Orchard said...

It brought back fond memories of my trekking trip to Illaka. We were planning to go to Inderhara pass but the glacier at the Illaka was too slippery.
I did this trek in Aug 1990 and camped overnight at triund. Had a bonfire in night after recovering a tree trunk from the nearby ravine. It was just brillant. Climbed from RMC to triund in 5 hours. We were group of 18 people. We all left RMC early morning around 7:30am and reached triund hut at around noon. the last members of our group reached at around 1800 hours. As I was the first of the team to arrive at triund we got the arrangements for the dinner ready. After dinner we all danced around the bonfire. The bonfire was still going on in the morning when we left for inderhara pass. About 8 people decided to rest at triund and recoup themselves for the trip backto RMC. We left triund at 800am made it to the glacier and then turned back to triund. Had lunch at triund and trekked back to RMC in the afternoon. Then
there was no shops or any habitation on the way, just met some sheep and some people staying in the caves on the way. The scenery was breath taking. I have trekked in Chamba area, around mandi-shimla belt, manali area as well during my college days in india. I was the president of the trekking club at REC, Jalandhar. This was one of the most enjoyable trekking trip i had in india. As I remember the walk from mcleodganj bus stand to RMC is not couple of minutes unless you are one of the Hill people. I remember swearing at the government for making RMC so far uphill from the bus stand. I was carrying around 20 kgs of backpack and going uphill to RMC after 7 hours bus journey from Jalandhar was just not very exciting.
I have also being to leh via manali on scooter from jalandhar in aug1992 but that is different story.
-Gundeep