Giving continuation to the Indian saga, I left Amritsar, and also my friends there.
The destination? McLeod Ganj, a suburb of Dharamsala, located in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. Home of of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and a peaceful atmosphere, I decided to take this journey alone, and by traveling by yourself don’t think you will be solitary.
Of course it is nice to have someone you like by your side, to share all moments (good and bad), but the other side of the story is that you are going to be mostly just with this person.
Traveling alone open your eyes, ears and perceptions. You have to search for someone to get information from, simply chat or join you in your activities.
I turned this mode on and walked to the bus station. As I didn’t want any tourist trap or convenience, I decided for the local bus to Dharamsala. A few questions later and there I was, in a bus that probably would fall apart sooner or later, hopefully the second option.
Inside, the famous curious looks and warm smiles were directed to me, but now with some other participants. Chickens! I could not count them, but they are a lot. From a public transportation, I felt myself into a poultry farm. I was the only foreigner over there and some locals came to have a conversation. Even though we did not speak the same language, we manage to understand each other, and I was always bad with mimics.
The roads were not the most friendly (as almost all in that side of the world), but a few hours later, changing buses in Dharamsala, there I was, in the the land of the Government of Tibet in Exile.
After the Communist Party of China invaded Tibet in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans had to fled their own land, and India offered them a refuge.
Forget there about cows, Hindus, Muslims, or anything you got used in India. Buddhism is what reigns here, bald are the heads and red the robes.
Unfortunately the Dalai Lama was giving a speech in the USA, but monks are everywhere there. And on the horizon mountains with snow. A lovely place to be.
Lately it has been becoming a main tourist attraction, so expect lots of cooking and meditation classes, bookstores and tea houses.
In one of these places I was relaxing after hiking through forests and waterfalls, when a friendly monk comes by and asks if he could sit with me, because he would like to practice his English. Born in Tibet, he had to leave with all the rest, but his memories of it are not clear, as he was just a little boy. Still the story was clear in his mind, and when asked if he condemn China, the answer was as expected.
No! No anger, no rage, no vengeance. We should not fight with our hands or weapons, but with our ideas, and not harming the opponent. He expressed his will of meeting people from different cultures and learn the most possible from every single experience.
Two hours and a few ginger teas with honey later, he stands up, gives me a Buddhist prayer bead (used to count the number of times a mantra is recited, breaths while meditating, counting prostrations, or the repetitions of a buddha’s name) which I still wear, wish me all the best in my life and leaves
I could not wish anything more from this place.
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