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.
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 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).