Morning stroll through McLeod Ganj Market
Dharamshala market doesn’t wake up before 10:30 am. I, on the other hand, was woken up by a call from my friend at 7:30 in the morning. After freshening up, I went out into McLeod Ganj Market, which is figuratively only a stone’s throw away from my temporary residence (In reality, you’d need really strong arms to throw a stone from my room’s balcony to the market). The market was more or less shut down except for vegetable vendors on the edges of the street and small tea stalls.
Kalachakra Temple, situated right in the middle of McLeod Ganj market, was visited by many elderly Buddhists for their morning prayer offerings.
I had my morning tea from a small shack and kept walking on the relatively empty roads for over an hour. Finally, I had some bread and omelette from first restaurant that I found open at 10:30 am
A car ride with Vinay
Ganesh, the owner of Backpackers Inn, introduced me to one of his friends, Vinay Kapoor. Vinay is an Instrumentation Engineer who hails from Dalhousie. After doing a standard job for few years, he has ventured into his own adventure and travel business. He drove me around Dalhousie and showed me some places where normal tourists don’t tread.
The first place we visited was the War Memorial at Dalhousie. This place is dedicated to the memory of men who have martyred themselves in the various operations and peacekeeping missions.
Vinay then drove me to HPCA cricket grounds. The grounds were closed to the public. All I could take was this snap from far away. Ganesh had told me earlier that a single match in HPCA boosts tourism in Dharamshala manifolds. His small rooms can fetch upto 4000 rupees during those matches.
Vinay bought a packet of chips which we munched together as we headed towards Norbulingka Institute. It is quite far from Dharamshala bus stop. There are only three buses that run between this place and Dharamshala on weekdays. The institute is dedicated to passing down of traditional Tibetan art and literature through the generations.
The institute houses a Losel doll museum. It depicts the daily life, artistic, religious and political activities of the traditional Tibetan tribes, priests and monarchs.
There are separate schools for painting, metal carving and wood works inside the premises where Tibetan artisans are taught these respective crafts.
Vinay took me to two temples that aren’t frequented by tourists. The first one was Aghanjar temple dedicated to Shiva.
After that we went to Indru Nag temple. The town of McLeod Ganj is clearly visible from this place.
There is older temple is on an isolated hilltop towards the South(?) of the main temple. This place is even more serene. The township of Dharamshala and the Dhauladhar ranges are clearly visible from here.
An early dinner
I had not eaten anything in the afternoon and wanted to have an early dinner. I had to, since the shops would close by 7:30 pm. I visited Lobsang’s Four Seasons Cafe much earlier than my usual dinner time (at 6:00 pm; had a bad experience with my timings yesterday) and had a heavy meal for dinner. I also got to know that Tibetans in Dharamshala don’t serve meat on Wednesdays in honour of the Dalai Lama.