Humans of New York was recently at Dharamsala and some of his pictures really touch my heart. As I saw this particular picture, with this quote, it stirred me and made me remember my trip to Dharamshala.
“I have a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy. Now I want to learn as many languages as possible so I can teach as many people as possible.”
“What do you think is the most important thing that people can learn from Buddhism?”
“Compassion. Everyone suffers and everyone needs happiness.”
Dharamshala is a quiet place, close to nature, close to peace. I went there for this experience, to feel the serenity that it provides. Notice the background behind the monk above, you find similar water flowing between rocks resulting in such spectacular waterfalls right next to where you walk. Though I don’t remember much of the trip, I do remember going to the monastery, watching the monks leading a very simple and humble life. They lead this life which is filled with humility and love and compassion. This entire feeling, persona of theirs is highly overwhelming. It was for me. I also recall walking through the streets bargaining to buy a Buddha statue and sitting in one of the countless little cafes they have. I even remember trekking up to the most famous and well-known ‘Shiva Cafe’ and eating their chocolate pancakes. But, people do not go there just for the pancakes, they go to see the bohemian art work on rocks. They go there to lie on one of many bug infested mattress, next to the waterfall and simply stare at the stars.
The most enjoyable memory of this trip was the 16 km trek up to the Triund point. The images are still so vivid in my mind and I remember feeling a sense of awe with every step that I took. Most of the route was hardly 2 feet wide with a major valley on one side. Because of the altitude, all you could see was just the fog and being unable to judge the depth of the fall which made taking the next step even more exciting. We met a lot of people during our breaks at the numerous chai shops perched precariously on the hill. Some of them were volunteers cleaning up the trek route while one guy had brought his wife to his idea of a honeymoon.
As I go through the pictures for this post, I really feel the urge to go back there again! After all it is only 6 hours from where I stay! Himachal really does have some wonderful picturesque places. Most of these places are filled with foreigners who recognize and understand such beauty which unfortunately exposes the ignorance of us Indians for failing to see the beauty in our backyard.I went there as a tourist but returned back wanting to be one of them.The whole trip had a mix of lot of things, be it, serenity, peace, adventure or nature. It was a memorable trip. It reminded me of simpler times and the existence of nature as a whole.