Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Purple Mountain's Majesty...Indian Style.

Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. View from the home where we stayed.

I am finally back in Ludhiana with semi-reliable internet and some time on my hands to post the promised pictures. My trip to Himachal Pradesh was busy and tiring but ultimately granted me with a great big helping of nature, clean air, and wide open spaces to explore. We were fortunate to be able to experience many a thunder storm during our stay which made me endlessly giddy. The weather was perfect and beautiful and only served to set me up to be less content with the triple digit weather I am once again enduring everyday. At least I have AC...

Today I attended my first Indian wedding. Since the couple getting married are Christians, the ceremony was a blend of some Christian traditions and some Sikh traditions. The groom's relatives are Sikh and vied for a traditional Punjabi wedding but a compromise was struck instead. Considering most of the wedding was conducted in Hindi, I didn't understand much of what took place anyway, not at all taking away from the fun of the experience. Plus, I was able to wear a saree...which caused a big commotion (white girl in saree = a once in a lifetime novelty around here); I think I accidentally upstaged the bride, oops. Nonetheless it was a good time.

Today's attire.

While in Himachal Pradesh we got a chance to travel to a city called Dharamsala. Though most of the main city is located in a valley overshadowed by the Himalayas, a portion of it is located up in the mountains (this place has a different name but I can't remember it...). This particular area is highly populated by Nepali people and has a strong Buddhist influence rather than the usual Hindu one. We visited a huge Buddhist temple, a first for me. It was a really neat place, visited by many tourists and Buddhist monks. The temple is very famous within Buddhism and is one of the homes of the Dali Lama. Though you can't always be sure that he is in residence or not (for security reasons), he does make appearances from time to time at the temple itself. We found out later that evening that the Dali Lama had indeed been in residence at the temple that day; he was on the news offering some words to the players of a huge professional cricket match that had also taken place that day in the city. I apparently was in the same place as the Dali Lama and had no idea!

The main bazaar in Dharamsala.

More of the bazaar.

Buddhist monk.

Buddhist monk at the temple in Dharamsala.

Buddhist prayer wheels.

Also at the temple.

Wheat growing under the Himalayan peaks.

Sunset in Palampur.

The peaks in the background towered to 15,000 feet, nothing compared to the Himalaya's Mt. Everest (which was not near where we were, unfortunately).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I want to shake hands with a Sherpa.

Sometimes throughout my days here in India I dwell on the many thoughts, debates, and marinations that I want to blog about...but when I finally get access to the internet and a chance to blog out the mishmash of "ish" in my brain, I can't seem to hack it.

At the moment I am too tired to think much but I wanted to offer a bit of a simple update post since I have all but dropped off the face of the internet planet of late. I have been traveling a lot and staying in places with very unreliable internet (if I even have it). I went back to Kachhwa for another nine days over Easter. It was not quite as enjoyable the second round, it was so ridiculously hot and humid that I wasn't sure what to do with myself; just sitting still was so sweat-inducing that I was completely and utterly uncomfortable the entire time.

After leaving Kachhwa, I headed back to "home base" in Ludhiana for a mere 6 days to work work work before getting to finally take a glorious break and mini vacation for 5 days. We ventured up into the Himalayas to a quaint (if you can call anything in India "quaint"...) little city called Mussoorie in the state of Uttaranchal. We were basically given a free place to stay in a lovely little house owned by some people we have met here in India...they don't live there full time, it's more of a vacation get away. Luckily, there are some guys living in part of the house who are from the states and are doing some engineering ministry in India, so we had some company and people to give us the low down on the local secrets. Basically I spent 5 days reading, watching movies, hiking, and napping...just what I needed.

Currently I am in the incredible state of Himachal Pradesh, it's also in the Himalayas, even more so than Uttaranchal. It is endlessly beautiful here and it even rained today and was cold...heaven!!! We have been traveling a lot through remote mountain towns which has been fun and a great change of scenery. We are due to stay here another week and a couple days before heading back once again to Ludhiana. I have pictures to upload but no easy way to upload them at the moment so a google image of where I am will have to suffice...

Finally to bed...more to come soon. Kisses!

P.S. To my utter disgust it was just brought to my attention that I haven't blogged in 6 weeks. Holy bad blogger, Batman. I referenced Kachhwa in this post thinking that I had told everyone about Kachhwa...but I realized that I had instead sent out an update email about it rather than blogging. I am too sleepy to remedy this problem now...but if you have not yet been informed and would like to be, I will happily forward my latest update email to you, let me know if you wish to partake. In other news, I had a birthday a month ago...I have now lived a quarter of a century...cheers.