A girl. A journey. A new start.
It was off-season when we arrived in Goa so any dreams of meditating or doing yoga were very quickly dashed.
With the exception of the big cities, there are 2 states in India that attract the most tourists – these are Goa and Himachal Pradesh. They each have their season-time at completely different times of the year. As a result of this, you will find that all the yoga/meditation/ayurveda clinics are in Dharamsala in their season time and they all move their businesses to Goa once it is season there, and winter in Dharamsala.
Seeing that it was off-season in Goa, all that was left was the restaurants and some of the party spots. I decided to make do with what I had and spent the few weeks there doing what I do best. It was afterall my idea not to overplan my trip so I had to swim with the tide.
Once I was in Goa, I started reading up on other parts of India and decided that I was willing to give up traveling the rest of the South for now, in order to travel north and experience the home of the Dalai Lama.
I left Goa 5 days earlier than I had planned, spent a night in Delhi and caught a flight early the next morning to Dharamsala. Sips wanted to explore Delhi while no amount of money would have convinced me to spend more time in another big city – not after seeing Hubli, which might I add, is the size of a shopping mall compared to Delhi.
When I landed in Dharamsala, I was picked up by a taxi driver contracted to the hotel. He is probably one of the nicest guys I have met in India, lovely Kapil.
Every moment of that drive right up to my hotel was breathtaking….if there is a heaven on earth, I am certain that it is somewhere in Dharamsala. I have never seen so much untainted natural beauty. I don’t think I can possibly translate the beauty into words, so this post will include a lot more pictures than the other posts. All because I would like you to really see what I fell in love with. And even then, these pictures capture only a fraction of what lies herein.
When I had read up about Himachal Pradesh, it seemed to me that Little Tibet was miles away. To my surprise, it was right on my doorstep when I got to Dharamsala. I saw the monks walking down the streets, integrating with everyone else and I was just engrossed. It was my first encounter with Tibetan people – and the yummy Tibetan food – and I must say, I was impressed by their humility, kindness, and peaceful aura.
It was also when I was in Dharamsala that I decided to go for my Panchkarma treatment. If you are curious about what this is, I have a special edition that will be published shortly after this post with a brief and simplified version of what this treatment is and what it entails.
While in Dharamsala, I was also lucky enough to have some friends from South Africa cross paths with me in Dharamsala. It is amazing how when you are so far away from home, no matter how happy and at peace you are; a familiar accent, culture, taste in music, and conversation can bring you the greatest joy and excitement! Just the simple privilege to be able to talk and share experiences, and not get lost in translation.
Leaving Dharamsala 10 days after I arrived there felt like leaving my second home. I had completely fallen in love with the place, the food and the few people I got to interact with.
A small little town with more people who are happy to have you around than ones trying to rip you off, majestic views, peace like you have never known, more Americans than you will find in any other country outside America per yoga square metre, great food, absolute great value for money and most of all, full of great hearts.
Everything I was looking for in India I found in Dharamsala. except for seafood:-). If and when I do go back there, it certainly won’t be too soon.
If I had to choose one place for you to visit in India, this little nest would be my pick!