A Travellerspoint blog

mcleod Ganj

rain 25 °C

When will the time come,
When in truth i can say,
Say to all my indian friends,
Im going back forever-
Forever back to my home land?

Will the time ever come,
When i can finally thank,
Thank the people of India,
And say Im going back forever,
Forever back to Tibet?

My backpack heavy with my favourite books,
My shoulders hurting from their weight,
My feet sore from days of walking,
But every pain a pleasure because,
Im walking back to my homeland.

My face and finger freezing,
And pain in every part of my body,
But Tibet just over the next pass,
My heart filled with warmth and joy,
And every pain in the body-a pleasure,

When? When will that time come,
When fifty long years will seam-
Seam just like yesterday?
And every pain a pleasure,
And suffering- a thing of the past?

from tomorrow and other poems
by Lhasang Tsering,
Exile house, mc lLeod Ganj, Dharamsala


yesterday, just arrived in Mc Leod Ganj, i saw.... The Dalai Lama!!!!
he passed in a flash, at less than 2 meters from me!
My heart was beating so fast, both because of the presence of one of the most extraordinary human this earth created, and because of the waythe hundreds of tibetans were looking at him, and throwing on the car white scarfs.
sorry i took the picture a bit too late, my finger couldnt move anymore when he passed in front of me!

Its difficult to know when he pass, cause i heard very different times: for his safety, like that chinese cannot plot anyhing against him. i was very lucky!
He is gonna leave to Frankfurt and give teachings all arounbd the world, he will be back here in september, my new friend the nun in Tushita monastery, with who i take tea every morning , is strongely waiting for his teachings!

the heart of the tibetan community beats here, after so many readings and documentation about their cause, im here.
and i could never have imagine what i witnessed, even in a dream, this city doesnt look at all like other in india! athmosphere is full of copmpassion, altruism, and environmentally friendly.
you give one smile you receive thousands of others, from this colorful community, mostly composed with monks wearing red clothes, came as pilgrims.

i realized at what point those values are important for me, as i explained in other article, more and more buddhism echoes in the deepest part of myself. Its like if i had been a lama in another life :)
ok seriously, im sure that i have many things to learn and to discover throught the philosophy and mediatation. I decided then to retreat 10 days in Tushita monastery tomorrow!
dont worry, i wont give news for at least the 10 next days, but everything is fine! no speaking, just one hour a day for teachings, the rest is meditation. I will leave the kilos of books i have in my backpack to concentrate on buddhist manuscripts.im sure i will evolve after such an experience, its totally part of my quest about finding human nature and who i am, i can feel already so many answers, and buddhist values are simply so linked with what i realized and lived during this trip.
i dont tell that here is the only true, i couldnt reach perfection, and enlightement. im just sure that there are some deeply fundamental teachings that i can learn in this religion, and i would need to learn from many others too.
At the end they are quite common, same purpose, especially about life after death.
Buddhist monks concentrate all their life on the death, cause its just at that moment that energies flow to the light point in thorax, and at that moment you can reach enlightement and get rid of reincarnations cycle. Here is the true perfection, some reached it and came back on Earth as humans voluntarily afterwhile to teach humans, they are called boddhisattvas.
Ioups iwill stop here, cause i could continue long time like that!

I felt already like at home in this monastery, and really looking forward for tomorrow!

here some puctures to show the city athmosphere:
in the temple, where hundreds of pilgrims, refugees and lamas come to pray, to study, to meditate, to meet each other.
Heart of Mc Leod Ganj, volunteer come to give health help, food...
athmosphere here made me think about refugee camp, this is striking, you can read so many things in people eyes. they hope, they hope so much that they will be back in their country, they pray so hardly.
i was just very sad cause mostly people here become quite old. Who is gonna pray so much in some years?
on the pilgrim way every morning tibetans come to turn the prayer wheels, and walk along the pray stones on a very steep way.
"Tachi derek!" and a huge smile where often only some teeth left surprised me second after taking this picture. Its all the time like that, people are so friendly!

ah also, before leaving Manali i saw a typical wedding :)
here are some pictures.
strangely the bride seam to be really sad, covered with 10 roupies banknotes, contrasted a lot with people dancing in a huge circle around! DSC06813.jpgDSC06816.jpg

so now i have to go, in the city ther eis a party, with projection of kundun movie, and all you can eat momo (tibetan kind of pierogi), with even chocolate one and my beloved milk tea for only 100 roupies! (about 1.5 euros)

dont worry if ui dont give news for a while, i will be fine!

Posted by hanso 04:02 Archived in India Comments (1)


sunny 30 °C

Ok pictures upload, but I took maybe hundreds of, I just can show very few of them!i also put some on the last article!
thanks for all your messages of support, im sorry its a bit hard to answer right now YY but im so glad to be so well surrounded :)

I arrived in Manali after 2 days of exhausting, bumbing but so amazing bus trip!
I had to say good bye to the rocky and desert hight summits of the small Tibet alias the Laddakh after passing the highest road of the world, at more than 5000 m, to enter himachal Pradesh. The giant mounts will change shapes and appearance at few kilometers distance.
As we are crossing those green valleys, few kilometers away we arrive to the snow summits and waterfalls from where we can see the snow falls from far away, and suddently a huge lake appears in which reflect this dark rocky giant and his rainbow hat above.

pashmina goat:

What can you think when you see such landscapes? Noze stick to the icy window, its like if my mind is out of my body, I took off very far away in a quasi meditating sensation, but suddently coming back on earth… a bad thought take place in my mind, only one month left, i will never have the time to live fully in this heaven, the time….
And for the first time for months I start planning, I forgot the stress which comes from that living only in the present. But I calm down and realized the thousands of sustainable traveling projects I have in mind. This one was only a beginning, a first step to the quest i started to discover human nature, and what is me. So many things I want to learn, to try, from Buddhist teaching and meditation (living in a monastery near to dharamsala for example) , to biological farming (woof) in south America or south asia, passing by volunteering in microfinance in nepal or south India and working permit in Australia, crossing the Americas from north to south, living as nomad in Mongolia or khazakstan, living in a community for a while and withdraw in deep nature and being self efficient after that for some months. And thousands of others…

But we will stop for the night and I will stop thinking finally! My neighbor (Indian who reach to sleep during this crazy trip and felt down sometimes on my shoulders) will help me to find a 40 Ri (0.5 euros) dormitory room in a garage of Keylong with a couple of French I met in the bus, local diner of dal, chapattis and vegetables for 30 ri and go to bed! When they open the door after the short night at 5.30, from my sleeping bag I can see the mountains all around, but no time to admire, the bus has to leave to Manali.
We cro9ss the last summit and camps with poneys and head down to the valley going down throught cloud sea, swampy roads, and monsoon rain welcome us!
Manali is a bit dirty city and very buzzy as I like! I like to wander around the hippie market, the rajastan camp of nomads coming to sell safran in the city, bringing with them TV and expensive cell phones, horses and cows who are not in a hurry to cross roads and enjoy the shadows of the bus in the station, street vegetarian food and drinks everywhere. But I miss some calm. Cannot find it in bookshops or temple or monasteries as usual, so I will have a 3 km walk to go to the next village with boiling hot springs and temples. I will laugh so much with Indian girls in the bath in underwear, cause the contrast of temperature outside and water make our skin become all red! I will laugh even more when I will see those precious American girls entering and staring at me strangely. Have to say that I got muscles and became thinner and without removing hairs for months I look more like men XD

But anyway to come back to the last days: my heart was beating so fast when I had to say goodbye to my friends from Leh, the days we spent together had been so intense, so full of experiences and good times!
On the last day over there, with Deirdra and Paddt we went to Tiksey monastery, in the bus we started speaking with a monk, he lives there for 16 years!
Very naturally, he will invite us in his “house” for a tea. Its the kind of place where you feel well instantly, carpet and mattress on the floor, very simple, very warm. The geranium in front of the window above the valley and seam to show all Himalayas wont tell you the contrary, they are 2 meters high!
Our new friend speaks 6 languages studies mathematics and philosophy as well since he arrived in the monastery at 7 years old, he is waiting for the yellow scarf from the dalai lama, meditating everyday, and studying . He will simply answer our million of questions one by one. After some time he will advise us to go to se the temples above his cell, and coming back after while. The monastery is amazing, 110 monks live there from 7 to 77, the huge head of the Buddha statue is face to a chair on the second floor , who seems to say, “take a seat, we will have a nice discussion”, we will admire the 2 silver stupas for big lamas, the pray room, the temple for protectors with so scary faces that they have been covered by pieces of tissue, the old library with books wrapped in orange tissue and incense smell, the unbielivable view from the roof, we are so close from the sky, the clouds seam to be simply hang from there, decorating as balls on a Christmas tree….
We will exchange addresses and email with our new friend and leave to Leh, just at the same time kids leave school, universal touching scene, that makes me feel so close from home! with the last bus where we will meet Alex and Roger back for Tibetan food.

Tonoght I will take a night bus to Dharamsala after visiting old Manali, but right now, I will have a lunch with friends from slovenia and Holland I met yesterday!

Posted by hanso 22:57 Archived in India Comments (1)

leh et trekkings

sunny 30 °C

Long time no write… I was most of the time those last days in deep nature! It will be hard to resume those moments which definitely belong to the best life experiences I ve never had!

I just come back from a trekking in laddakh, we were 7 leaving leh at 7.30am 3 days ago, all backpackers on the road for more or less time from US, Ireland, and Belgium.
on the roof of the bus:
First day was quite easy, we stopped in monasteries on the waywe were always warmly welcome by inhabitants and monks. DSC06531.jpg

On evening we will find a really cool guest house in an idyllic village: alol surrounded by huge mountains, the flashy green color of the rice fields contrast with the yellow crops, and the purple, green and borwn rock cut with the blue sky. In this village cows walk freely around while farmers are hard working in their field. With one of them I will make a small concert J he was the drum with his plastic bottle and I played jews harp!

On morning josh will feel bad, high altitude sickness, garlic cannot do anything, he will bhe back in Leh. Face to the stip walking trail, steeve will take the road. As in a TV show, one by one somebody will leave, till there will be only one survivor!

While we crossed the first torrent, deirdra will loose her shoes in the water flow… she will have to turn back with Paddy. DSC06629.jpg

Finally we will make all the way with Alex and Roger, crossingf rivers, climbing vertical rocks, walking in river beds, and nuns will offer us tea and lunch in rizong nunnery.
There, a about 60 years old teacher from Switzerland live. She will be really inspiring for me, I feel so well in this community wherekey values are humanism, kindness, surrounded by all those energetic and lively girls. I feel as if its just a beginning for me, and everybody tell me that im welcome to stay here as long as I want whenever I want, they always need help! It will surely bge for later on, the Tibetan Buddhism, the philosophy, the values, and the holly sites attract me so much from the deepest part of myself…
But we will take the road again, I will remain silent for a while, so many experiences I would like to live, so many things to learn and to discover, im a bit lst sometimes….
We are just about to cross a mountain, about 4500m or more, we see the pass after getting lost for a while, and I really thought that I would never been able to do that, guys don’t feel better than me… but we need to advance, the sun is gonna set in 1 hour. 50 meter and we need to breath, hisg altitude, lack of oxygen….
We will reach the top, the view is astonishing, on the highest rock budhist flags dance above the kilometers of pics snowy or with colorful rocks.
Strangely so huge, they seam so alive so fragile, the rocks and the sand are just like a wrinkled skin, they are like an open book, we can read all natural forces on the shapes, they should have witness so many things for so long!
DSC06648.jpg I feel touched, my head spinned a bit, but I feel deeply proud of myself and of the 2 guys for who I have now a great admiration, im so happy to walk with them. We will get down to the village where we will spend the night and come back to Leh on morning.

Buzzing city, full of tourist, but Leh has something really special, mostly Tibetan, a bit dirty, charming with the high and colorful gompas and stupas and a small potala, they fight for ecology and for a free Tibet, this city represent a part of my ideals!

On evening we meet all together in the restaurant I became a regular, Tibetan vegetarian, where you can eat huge plates of delicious momos for less than 1 euro.

Coming here from Srinagar was the most exciting trip in my life! On the road, a sign: “impossible takes time, difficult will be done immediately”. Yeah it can seam impossible to cross pics of more than 4000 m with a old Tata bus on sandy road \s where 2 cars cannot cross each other when you have a 500m deep at few centimeters from the wheels. It took 2 days, my Israeli neighbor, was green, for my part I was laughting so much, landscaoes where so amazing that I could think about the danger, I felt like in a dream, I was a child in one of those scary trains in funny parcs!

i found this one pretty funny XD, look how it looks alive! and wrinkled

I had a nice time in srinagar too, with Edaz and his friends we went in a fishing trek in a totally wild place. only creatures were wild horses and cows, all around our camp.
I faced the perfect beauty, strange feeling of having ever been there… maybe I dreamt about this place. We got only one fish, cause we spent most of the time playing cards or sport, smoking marijuana (it grows like bad herbs in villages around, and the cows feed with it XD), cooking (woaw that was such meals!). we will be back to the village to get some food for a while, soon 25 persons surround me, staring at me, curious and smiling. They circled around me, few foreigners pass here. I take pictures of the kids with wild eyes, show them and they burst into laught they want more, and soon the whole village want me to take snaps of them!
But everything end, we took a shikara back to the cars and drove to the town. In the house boat a whole Indian family is settle down for some days, they will invite me to have a ride around the lake wit them and to stop ion this very famous island in bollywood movies. The girls wil nicely explain me lot of their family culture, and importance of wedding for them. Very nice time with them, sailing on the lake by night.

Tomorrow we are gonna rent bikes to visit monasteries with my new friends from the trek, and I will take the road to manali during the night, or I will try at least to catch a bus. I heard that its even more rock n roll than srinagar leh!, I enjoy it in advance :D

Posted by hanso 10:39 Archived in India Comments (0)

srinagar, cashemire

sunny 35 °C

I arrived in “the heaven on earth”, place called srinagar. I took an amazing flight to arrived here, passing iver Himalayas!

Unique in the world, try to imagine a huge lake circled by Himalayas pics. On there house boats with wood carvings are parked everywhere, I will sleep on one of those several nights! I go on a shikara, taxi boats which is gonna bring me to my place. No motors over there, you can listen at eagles noises passing over you and sometimes catching a bad lucky fish swimming too high…
The light plays on the water and on the boats, i borrow to the family a fish stick, and I can spend here hours and hours to look at the water, I catched some silver one and released them.
They call me for dinner already, they cooked for me special vegetarian food, well spicy, im so glad. Feel like a queen in my big room (got a really good deal with the travel agency, the price I paid for the pacakage 1 flight, 3 nights Is not even the price of one night in this deluxeroom!)

But this life is not for me, I miss my backpack, and the floor, after more than one month sleeping on carpets in turkey and iran, I sleep the first night on the floor.
And this is like a golden jail, im one of the only foreigner here, and political situation is not at the best stage. I cannot really go to the city alone, cause there is a strike, army is everywhere. Family will try to send me trekking packages I cannot afford, I don’t feelin the right place.
But I will meet ejaaz, great traveler, and I will feel more confortable, we will go to he mountains around with his dog Jackson, and today he invited me to his final cricket match.

It was so beautiful, all surrounded by mountains, a village, sometimes cows were crossing the field, I will have a walk around the river with one of his friends and we will send “ small paper ad wooden shikaras”, maybe right now they reached sea, or river somewhere in the world, be careful!

Tomorrow we are going to leave with his friends for a fish trekking 3 days, camping deep into Himalayas. We are gonna walk to reach an high lake where you can catch 4 kg fishes or more. Im sorry its really difficult to find an connections in this region, don’t worry everything is safe for me!
If I cannot write before, on Thursday I will leave to ley, laddakh, it will take me 2 days travel by bus!

Posted by hanso 07:51 Archived in India Comments (0)

bandar abbas, dubai and arrival in delhi!

sunny 44 °C

DELHIIIIIII!!!! here i am in india XD
finally the dream came true, my pilgrimage is now finished and start the exploration of this fascinating country!
actually delhi is a quite crowded city, a bit dirty and charming then, like i like, full of colors, surprises and smells.
looking at the million of rickshaw quiet huge cows, seam to be philosophs. even monkeys dancing all around cannot disturb them!
poverty is stricking, i saw some people almost dying on the streets, just in front of the very modern and smart metro station, contrasts are everywhere, and witness fast development, luxury brands have already take place in connaught place all around.
thats not really a cioty for me, i need nature now, calm and meditation, i decided to offer me before a trekking n the north east himalayas, laddakh and cashemire the most beautiful flight on earth, the one to srinagar and stay 3 nights in a boat house, the whole for 80 euros... (my own gift, extra, after the long way to come!).

what happened then since last article... i took a train to bandar abbas, south iran, i met really nice brotherhood in the train station and they offer me to saty with them in minab, 100 km from there, the 2nd palm trees city in the world! was a really nice time! we went togarden for the sunset, before its too hot( around 50 degres), ate mangos from the trees, and ride til the top of the mountain here, they were really welcoming, felt again like in a family!

but i was so near to india, so in a hurry o arrive, i needed to take the road again. and believe it or not the employees of the bank will pay my flight to go there and i will be invited the whole afternoon in fariba family waiting for this flight, she has 2 really cute twins, and brothers and sisters were there with their children, we will speak, watch movies, eat... i really enjoyed those last moments in iran!

so what happened: on morning i left to bandar abbas to take a boat, bad surprises its really much more expensive than i thought, about 100 euros to go to dubai, i missed some 10 euros to pay the ticket, so i went to the main melli bank to withdraw. but nowhere iran accept mastercard. they aask me to sit down, offer me tea and fruits, tell me to keep all the money i had left and ask me if i would accept that they bookthe ticket for me as friends. I was so confused, but so thankful, i guess they understood... i will definitly remember iranian people, and their warm welcoming and help.

on evening i will jump in the flight to dubai, as i was above the city i felt like arriving in the center of the world, the capital of the universe. all the world turned around me now XD just strange feeling! as i arrived at 00, i decided to sleep inthe airport, and on morning ask info about flights to india. but roberto, slovak-american traveller, exactly on the same trip, had a couch surfing in the city, so he offered me to come with him and to share a taxi. lets go! mak, the guy was really kind ad helpful, syrian he arrived here for a short term stay, sellman for tiffany, time to make experience and money. he really want us to appreciate his adoption city. was a great meeting!
and on morning, ready to explore the city!

can you imagine a ski resort or an huge aquarium with 33000 fishes inside a mall, or being under the tallest building of the world and half an hour later in safari 4.4 in the desert? can you imagine an animal bazaar in the middle of the city, between buildings not so far from a "camping" where your neighboors have lions, camel or anaccondas pets...
definitly duabi is a big walt disney parc for adults! everything is possible here, thats beyond all imagination! all this has been built in 10-15 years, as sameer told, speaking about a 30 years old bazaar, "its soso old".


ah yeah sameer is the really kind football player who will invite roberto and me 2 nights in his wonderful palace. he really want us to discover how he live, and will spend all his free time with us, showing everything he has and love. with his lange rover he will pick us up in the mall and we will go climbing the desert sand hills,his billard he will brought us to the animal bazaar, where he buy goats and birds for his nice "camping" in the desert, his place to relax and play with his dogs, and family. we will watch the night falling down from here, seing the buildingfs from farfar away, one day they will come til here for sure, after all dubai and sharjah were born fron the desert! they still attract 20% of the world cran (english?).

on morning the 2 maids will prepare us a huge breakfast and sameer take great care of us, making sure that we have all we need. he is so affraid that we feel bad... how could we, i forgot those 3 days tht i was backpacker, to live like a queen, and spent great time with roberto and found so many common points.
those moments were a great highlight in this trip that i will never forget, ui realize how it gave so much meaning to this trip. im so glad to have meet so kind and humn people, i felt so empty when i left them, nothing had meaning anymore. strangely it was maybe the worst experience during the whole road to leave them, especially roberto, i really got attached to him during those days. we meet very few people like that in a life, and i wondered if i missed something if i ran away insted of going ahead... i realized also that i learnt soso much during this trip, i had so many experiences, never one day had been similar to the previous one. i feel really different and more quiet in mind comparing as when i left!

but its backpackers life... sickness to go always further, to hard curiosity which leads always ahead.
who knows whats gonna happen after?
i cannot imagine anymore what is planning future, have plans make me sick, feel now in he right way! so good, so free!

just got a problem with my camera, got sand inside, 2 days ago, couldnt work any more, i gave it to a shop in delhi, i hope so much that he could have repaired it!

Posted by hanso 05:02 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

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