Paradise Into the Valleys we Go!
Trip Start Aug 18, 2007
9Trip End Feb 27, 2008
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The view from the top of the mountains was breath taking there where waterfalls around with really Green Mountains the view was amazing,It would take us a further 1hr just to reach the village,That was how deep the Valley was we where at the top and could see the village but it would take an hour to reach this little Paradise.
While we got little five minute breaks we became friends with an American who was travelling in the Jeep he had been to Manali before and knew his way around.So we decided to book into a hotel with him as he has an Indian Friend waiting for him upon arrival
So eventuallly we worked our way down to the village and there where lots of people is buses arriving.We got our bags out and where surrounded by Indians handing us cards and offering us a place to stay we decided to stay stick with jake our new friend and he introduced us to Totram
an Indian who was living in the village.
Totram brought us to a lovely Hotel just outside of the main part of the village it was perfect!
we Where paying only 250ruppes(5euro) it was amazing the rooms where beautiful we had t.v couches it was pretty big apartment.
It was good to have Totram as a guide with us,he could show us around the place I wanted to visit Shiva temples I had been studying hinduism and listening to thwe teachings of Datta Siva Baba from you u-tube and was interested inseeing these places.
Totram was nice friendly guy but had a bit of a drinking problem and was just there to sqeez a little money out of us foreign people.But it was great to have him,We Arrived at the perfect time because there would be a festival on Tuesday to Celebrate one of the Hindu Holidays.Indians are very religious people and there holidays are a lot of fun on this day people gather visit temples with there families and throw paint at each other it is really a lot of fun
So Totram would be visiting a few temples and tehn going around to visit his Big Family so we where delighted to tag along and get the Indian experience the first stop was Totram's home.The three of us walked up and Jake drove up on his bike so we arrived at Totrams home and his Mother prepared a lovely meal for us and we played on the balcony with Totrams Neices and nephews they had little toys and crayons and where curious about us foreigners.Elisa thought it would be a great time to learn some Hindu and had her notepad and pen ready to take down things while we talked together.
Totram then offered to dress us up in Traditional Manali Clothes we said sure it would be fun,So dressed up and took a few photos afterwards Totram asked us for money we would have been happy to pay even though he was being a little sligh.But jake offered to pay when Totram asked for a few hundred ruppes(4euro).
So we got some grub said goodbye to his Mother and where off to the park to visit a Shiva Temple is is most commonly visited on Saturday as this is the day of Worship for the planet Saturn ruled by Siva(Funny how Saturday is named after Saturn).
I was Totally into my Hindu practice and wore Black on the Saturday as this was the color associated with Saturn and Saturday
I enjoyed doing the lilttle ritual ringing the bell and offering Flowers and incense it was nice to do.
Next we where off through a little park with monkeys and trees every where to another part of the Village there was nice scenery every where.We visited another Temple and I did another ritual,Elisa did not do any of the rituals but was interested to visit the place as visitor she was commited to Budhism and was looking forward to visiting a couple of temples which we planned to do I on the other hand was open to Existence and I am highly devotional and enjoyed going through the whole process I had no interest in christianity as the whole thing seemed covered in lies,and was not religious in anyway I found that people at church did not want to be there and why would they some guy telling us we are all sinners and talking about some fiction created by the Vatican to create Idiots who are ignorant of real truth.
Well Thats just my opinion I am not Hindu but enjoyed the Experience of visiting the temples and part taking in the Hindu culture as I am sure Elisa did too.
I did not know it at the time but Buddhism was my true calling,So we went to another one of Totram's family houses and meet some more of his sisters brother nephews neices his family was so big who knew who everyone was?
it was funny because one of his younger sisters touched him on the feet as a sign of respect they did this with the elders in there family,This was something new I had learned I had been aware that you do not touch a childs head as most western people do because the crown is seen as a Divine holy part of the body and it was disrespectful to do so
I also learned it was better to cover up your body when around Indians as it common for westerners to wear less clothing especially in the hot weather.Elisa Had to be more aware of this than I especially because she was a woman.
I would later in my Journey dress in Indian clothes which was really fun but thats a story for another Blog.
So we sat and had some some at Totrams Aunt's house and Jake decided to make a joint this was a funny situation for me because I had not smoked in over a year and had not been exposed to drugs for a while.
I was still curious I had forgotten what smoking was like so when the spliff was passed my way I took a few drags just to see what it was like,I passed it to Elisa and she had a few smoke too.
It just made me feel Tired and remembered why I had quit,Later while walking through some of the beautiful valleys while picking apples,jake pointed out some weed that was growing I had no interest in it but in my old days I would have been stuffing it in my pockets.
So after our long days of Travel it was back to our apartments for dinner and some rest,Jake Would be leaving manali the next day so I decided to give him a book and say my good-byes Elisa later told me tryed to be intimate with her and knocked on her door late at night.
But Elisa was not interested she was there purely for Yoga and buddhism I am sure she could not wait for our trip to Dharamsala where the Dali Lama lived.
The Next day we where up early and ready to visit a lovely little buddhist Monasterery it was funny when entering I got a type Deja Vu I knew I had been at this temple before it was strange.
There was something about Buddhism and it mystism that was calling to my inner- being.
After visiting the monasterie we decided to go ona little Treek to the waterfall with totram as our guide it was really fun going up into the mountains,we came upon hot springs a beautiful place next to a little hindu Temple it was to tempting I had to go in so I went for a quick dip with out a towel but thought with the weather it would be ok.
So afterwards we continued or trip through the forest to this wonderful waterfall with little streams all around of course I had to go in the water was cold but so worth it! it was So refreshing.
After this we returned to the main village and totram asked for a loan of some money I knew it was not a loan and I knew it was for drink.Elisa decided to give him 400ruppes,there was no way I was giving him money I would have been happy to buy him dinner but not support his drinking habit.After Totram left us Elisa said I dont think we will see Totram again and she was right.
After having a bit of Grub I decided to go back to the Hot springs for a swimm it was the best decision I could have made it was so......warm and felt amazing when I came out of the water I felt like doing a little meditation and my muscles where so relaxed I could sit comfortably in Lotus postion something I could rarely do and my meditation was deep it was a wonderful experience with waterfalls all around beautiful tress every where it was the best Meditation experience of my trip so far.
So it had been a week already and it was time to move,Elisa would only be here for another month and wanted to see more of India as did I.She wanted to return to Nepal where she had been while on student exchange when she was younger so booked a ticket to fly in a few weeks.
So next on the Agenda was Dharamsala well for Elisa and way I had not made my mind up I wanted to see Rishikesh which I had heard is a great place to do some Yoga and of course see the Gange River which is worshiped and seen as a holy river which comes from the hymalyas.
I knew that Dolly a lady who had been on the Yoga retreat with us would be there and I thought it would be good to have someone who knew there way around to visit.
So I booked a ticket to take me there and Elisa booked a ticket for Dharamsala,But on the Sunday at the last minute I changed my mind,I was enjoying Elisa's company and wanted to see Dharamsala.Rishikesh would have to wait!