McLeod Ganji…A small piece of Tibet in India…..
Leaving Manali early in the morning was a great start to our day, the traffic was light and the weather nice and cool, we had to retrace some of our trip from when we came to Manali to get to McLeod Ganj…. riding along you notice that there’s a lot of ‘weeds’ growing along the side of the roads!
The as soon as we descended the scenery changed a little from lush green pastures to dry paddocks and where a hot wind blew, as we started to climb again the scenery changed once again back to lush vegetation and the temperature just ever so slightly cooler….
Lots of twisty roads and small towns…plus a large Army force barracks present all the way up to McLeod Ganj.
As we neared our destination the traffic got really bad, horns blowing, but there was nowhere for any one to go, we managed to squeeze through a few cars, but the roads are very narrow in this hillside town, making the traffic a big problem.
We come to what we reckon to being the ‘Centre’ of town, small narrow roads lead off from this road…lucky for us we picked the correct road to go up as this was the one that led us to a guest House that we had read about on Trip Advisor…
Clive went in to the Coffee shop that runs the guest house…booked us a really nice newly renovated room…. spotless white linen, fluffy pillows, thick towels, balcony, hot water…. just a few of the little luxuries that we have missed…. And most importantly accommodation for the bike, which turned out to be a tiny shed that was only just big enough for the bike to fit in…lol…
Alas we were missing one thing and that was Wi-Fi…the coffee shop below us had Wi-Fi but it was super s-l-o-w.
That afternoon we did a tour of the small town that was until the rain started…
One thing you notice by wondering around the town is McLeod Ganj has large population of Tibetan refugees. The Tibetan government-in-exile also has its headquarters here.
After a scrumptious breakfast of pancakes we went of in search of the most important Buddhist site in the town, which is Tsuglagkhang or Tsuglag Khang, the Dalai Lama’s temple.
As we walk the streets we pass small shops and Tibetan stalls selling various trinkets and gifts, Monks having coffee dressed in their magnificent ‘red’ robes.
Once found we entered this peaceful place Tibetans and tourist doing their own thing… Yoga, praying or just taking a look around as we did (plus posing for photos again).
We did the ‘walk’ of the big brass prayer wheels, which went around 3 sides this particular building, walking clockwise you turn each cylinder, the cylinder contains a sacred text written or printed on paper or animal skin. The most common text used in prayer wheels is the mantr container and is filled with as many mantras (formulas of sound), as possible. As the prayer-wheels are spun, the blessings of the mantras are invoked and spiral out to benefit all sentient beings.
We head back to the hotel to collect the laptop and head to a cafe that had good Wi-Fi… Hoping to catch up on some blogs… Lol
The following morning after yet another delicious breakfast another storm rolled in putting our plans on hold to go for a walk to check out the hills we could see from our balcony, so instead we went back to the cafe to do some more blogging…
The storm was fierce, turning narrow streets into raging torrents.
By lunchtime the skies were blue and not a trace of rain could be seen… Time for the ‘short’ walk Clive wanted to do!
Armed with bottles of water, we set of up the gentle acent, surrounded by pine tree that lined the road, even though it was hot the pine trees gave off a fresh scent.
Walking for nearly an hour we came to a few small shops and a school.
Is this it the walk Clive wanted to do….
No it wasn’t we needed to keep going ‘not far to go’ was the reply I got when I asked how much further!
The road had now turned into gravel and was mostly steep…
The views were stunning of the valley below and we were still shaded by pine trees, which was welcome relief from the heat of the day….
The track just kept on going up and around….
That’s it I’m not going any further…. Clive eventually persuaded me to carry on a little further… Even the cows that were on the track aimlessly wondering around looked at me in sympathy lol..
Carrying on we came to a clearing and a view if the other side of the valley below, plus also got a great view of the snow capped mountains in the distance, we sat down and enjoyed a cold drink…
While the sky above us decided to grow darker.
The track we were on leads to another walk that takes you too some waterfalls, which would have been great to do, but by now the train was starting to fall, and thunder and lightening was also getting close, so we decided to head back ☺, thank goodness it’s down hill.
The canopy of trees stopped us from getting too wet…the smell of freshly fallen rain is heavenly apart from refreshing and cool….
After a shower and dinner, we once again get our things packed for tomorrow’s early departure for Amritsar.
Up early and packed all we needed no was was some breakfast, the guest house cafe had only just opened for the days business, and as always the polite and efficient staff welcome us in and took our order…
As this could be our last chance to get a decent coffee for a while we are not going to miss this opportunity.
Reflecting on our time in McLeod Ganji…you could be forgiven for thinking that you were not in India at all…its peaceful and slow paced…the complete opposite of India… lol
All ‘fuelled’ we left for what we knew was going to be a hot ride down to the plains below to our last place to visit in India 😦
Amritsar here we come….