Dharamsala, India : A Spontaneous Afternoon Up in the Mountains

Oct 29, 2011

Dharamsala 01

It was our last day in Dharamsala before heading down to Amritsar for Diwali. I was supposed to go paragliding since it was so cheap at only INR 2500 for 30-45 minutes. However, the cost did not yet include the roundtrip taxi ride which will cost me another INR 1800. Which made the whole activity quite expensive. So I decided to do some easy hiking/trekking. Eventually I was able to convince my friend to join me.

The plan was to see the sacred Dal Lake and the Tibetan Naddi Village. That was the initial plan. But when you do something spontaneous - wonderful and amazing surprises come along your way.

The trek was quite easy at the start since we were just walking up the paved road and just gradually making our way up.

Dharamsala 02

Along the way we met some old Tibetan women who were also on their way up to the village.

And then we stumbled upon this group of snow monkeys! We met this French woman from our previous hotel who told us that she also saw one during her trek on another part of the town. But I never thought that we'll get to see one too. They're quite shy though which is a good thing, since most monkeys in India attack you if they know that you have food with you.

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And then the sacred Dal Lake. But it was dry. I wasn't really disappointed since I really didn't expect much from the trek. I just really wanted to get out of the hotel and the busy streets of Mcleod Ganj.

While resting, I pulled out the map and saw that there was a nearby stupa just up the hill, but there's only a marked footpath. The adventurous part of me just wanted to explore and see where the marked footpath will take us.

The roads and shortcuts were quite steep now. The paved road was about to end, and at the end was a small village. After asking an old lady where the stupa was, she pointed the footpath going into the village. And upon walking into it, I knew that this was the reward of being spontaneous. It was a small community of Gaddis who were really nice to us and helpful. Being a fan of the Boston Big Picture especially of their coverage in Afghanistan, I did feel like I was looking at those photos first hand. The Gaddis look a lot like Afghan people. They also own flocks of sheeps and goats.

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Cutie :)

But I was wrong. It wasn't the only reward. As we were about to go out of the village, we were rewarded with the view of the mountain ranges, with a Himalayan peak just hiding behind the clouds.

I sat down and looked out into the mountains. And I felt calm. It was such a wonderful moment just sitting down there and with the sound of the flowing river just down below. There is just an unexplainable and humbling feeling of being surrounded by mountains and nature. And I felt happy. I knew that this was one of the reasons why we missed the train going to Jaisalmer. And one of the wonderful rewards and surprises of traveling.

Oh and this was the view from our hotel. I'm missing Dharamsala now. :)

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