I feel tired, rested and on top of the world, all at the same time. My incredible week-long Himalayan vacation came to an end over 3 days ago but its memories are crystal clear in my head. The vacation was as rejuvenating as it was inspiring. There was snow, there was rain, there were mountain peaks and rainbows. And I got some really wonderful pictures to bear witness to what an amazing place Himachal Pradesh is, and what beautiful weather we had there last week.
Part I: Dharamshala (5 days)
For the first 5 nights of the trip, we stayed at The Exotica Resort in Dharamshala. The hotel is perched atop a hill and our balcony afforded a breathtaking view of the entire city. Dharamshala is quite a small city in fact, with few attractions to entice tourists. There's a world-famous cricket stadium, the headquarters of the Dalai Lama tucked away in Mcleodganj (Upper Dharamshala) and a few temples here and there. But every view of the lofty Himalayas it offers is worth the money spent in visiting this tiny little hill station. The Tibetan vibe and Buddhist culture you encounter in Mcleodganj are also unlike anything you've ever seen before.
I consider myself lucky to have been in Dharamshala in the first week of March. Why, because it was snowing heavily in Jammu & Kashmir and consequently, most of North India was experiencing rains. And the rains and the Himalayas form a combination as heady as they come! Once the heavy showers subsided there was some wonderful shadow-play on the distant mountains by the sun and the clouds. One minute, I could clearly see this far-off snow-clad mountain showing its head over its neighbouring peaks. And the very next minute, it was gone! Poof! Cloudy mists ate it up; only to let it show again after a while in all its beautiful snowy glory. I swear I could sit out there, on that porch, all day everyday until I couldn't remember what day it was. I was that spellbound.