Friday, 19 April 2013

The India Adventure Part 3: Dharamsala

After a 14-hour overnight bus trip on winding mountain roads, we finally arrived in the small town of MacLeod Ganj, perched in the Outer Himalayas above Dharamsala. This part of my trip was mostly an internal experience, as I learnt about meditation and Buddhism at Tushita Meditation Centre in nearby Dharamkot. Fortunately, the surroundings were also quite amazing and provided a great backdrop to my internal adventures.

For those of you who aren't aware, Dharamsala (or more accurately, MacLeod Ganj) is the location of the residence of the Dalai Lama, and perhaps 30,000 Tibetans also call it their home. This gives it a very different feel to other parts of India.

After attending a ten-day silent meditation retreat, I was fortunate to attend teachings by the Dalai Lama at his residence, along with many other foreigners, Indians and Tibetans. It is a remarkable place and I am very glad I made the journey there, even despite the long and arduous bus trips!

 Amazing scenery of the Outer Himalayas, near Bhagsu

Chalet-style house, Dharamkot

 Views of MacLeod Ganj

A Buddhist temple in downtown MacLeod Ganj

The remarkable Norbulingka Institute, Dharamsala

A temple in Bhagsu

The forest near Tushita Meditation Centre

Getting to know the locals

My travel buddy, Vicky, and I, after we finished our ten-day silent retreat

More happy post-retreat faces