Trip Start Jan 08, 2004
167Trip End Ongoing
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In Dec / Jan I took an Antipodeans group to India. The group of girls was from a Catholic school in Sydney and were from 15 to 18 years old. The aim of their trip was to see some of India, do some community work in a village and also to trek in the Himalaya. Two teachers, Emma and Belinda also came.
We had a day stop over in Bangkok while waiting for a connecting flight to Delhi. During the day we looked along the Chao Phaya river and visited Wat Arun and at night Kanchana, her mum and kids came to dinner with us. YAY!! That was very good.
Delhi at first is pretty fascinating
We got the train to Pathankote and a bus to Bhagsu Nath (in Dharamshala, about 20 minutes up hill from McLeod Ganj). Bhagsu Nath immediately had a good, calm feeling compared to Delhi. We found the people there really nice, lots of good food and good scenery, the weather a bit cold but not too bad. While there we walked into McLeod Ganj most days to wander in the markets and streets. McLeod Ganj is also a nice town and although it is obviously used to tourists it doesn't seem too spoilt. There are lots of smiling Tibetans including many Tibetan Buddhist monks and nuns.
Emma discovered that His Holiness, The 14th Dalai Lama was in residence in McLeod Ganj and was conducting teachings so we went to what is known as Dalai Lama temple to see if we could see him
Anyway McLeod Ganj was really nice and I'd like to go back one day. From our hotel in Bhagsu Nath we moved into Tseckoling Monastery for a night. Tsecholing has been re-established in India after some of the statues and manuscripts from the original monastery in Tibet were saved from the Chinese Army and smuggled to India. We met some of the monks and lay people that live at the monastery and 3 of them spoke to the group about their experiences escaping from Tibet when they were small children. Most of them have never seen their parents since the border crossing and during the walk one had witnessed his grandfather die. All mentioned how difficult the new food and climate was for them when they first arrived.
A couple of things stuck out in McLeod Ganj
From the monastery we drove to the start of our trek via the Norbilinka Institute, in Dharamshala, which tries to sustain Tibetan culture. That was a very nice place also and it was interesting to visit the nunnery there. In the afternoon we arrived in Boh and played with some cricket obsessed Indian kids while the trekking company set up our tents for us.
We were trekking and doing a community project on the way with a company called Himalayan Adventures. They looked after us very well, gave us great food and conversation and were basically fantastic during the whole journey and I would highly recommend them to others. They are based in Manali and run school camps, walking, mountaineering and other things all around the Himachal Pradesh area.
The Mall, next to the UCO Bank
Does rafting and trekking. Recommended. (252750; fax: 252182: Web Site: http://www.himalayanadventurersindia.com