- Sauvik Biswas / autobot: 54UV1K - https://sauvikbiswas.com -

Day 5: Roaming around in Dharamshala

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 [1], situated right in the middle of McLeod Ganj market, was visited by many elderly Buddhists for their morning prayer offerings.

Kalachakra Temple sandwiched between modern eateries, shops and electrical transformer. [2]

Kalachakra Temple sandwiched between modern eateries, shops and an electrical transformer.

The prayer wheels of Kalachakra Temple. [3]

The prayer wheels of Kalachakra Temple.

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 [4]. 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.

Vinay posing for a snap. He isn't looking at the camera. [5]

Vinay posing for a snap. He isn’t looking at the camera.

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.

The names of the martyrs are written on the three black slabs. [6]

The names of the martyrs are written on the three black slabs.

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.

People on TripAdvisor say that this place is excellent for photography. I could imagine that from outside. [7]

People on TripAdvisor say that this place is excellent for photography. I could imagine that from outside.

Vinay bought a packet of chips which we munched together as we headed towards Norbulingka Institute [8]. 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 beautiful entrance to the institute. [9]

The beautiful entrance to the institute.

The Buddha statue at the "Seat of Happiness" temple. [10]

The Buddha statue at the “Seat of Happiness” temple.

The walls are decorated with traditional Tibetan paintings. [11]

The walls are decorated with traditional Tibetan paintings.

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.

This is a scene from Lhamo Opera. Such operas were introduced by an 11th century saint, Tangton Gyalpo, in order to raise funds for building bridges. Later, the most elaborate of these became day long events. [12]

This is a scene from Lhamo Opera. Such operas were introduced by an 11th century saint, Tangton Gyalpo, in order to raise funds for building bridges. Later, the most elaborate of these became day long events.

There are separate schools for painting, metal carving and wood works inside the premises where Tibetan artisans are taught these respective crafts.

These are the kind of drawings used by the metal workers to create bronze statues. [13]

These are the kind of drawings used by the metal workers to create bronze statues.

The wood craft school inside the institute. [14]

The wood craft school inside the institute.

Vinay took me to two temples that aren’t frequented by tourists. The first one was Aghanjar temple dedicated to Shiva.

The Aghanjar temple complex has many smaller temples dedicated to various deities and saints. [15]

The Aghanjar temple complex has many smaller temples dedicated to various deities and saints.

The backyard of the temple is as stunning as the temple complex itself. [16]

The backyard of the temple is as stunning as the temple complex itself.

After that we went to Indru Nag temple. The town of McLeod Ganj is clearly visible from this place.

Indru Nag temple. [17]

Indru Nag temple.

A panorama of the entire McLeod Ganj area. [18]

A panorama of the entire McLeod Ganj area.

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.

The old temple silhouetted against a cloudy sky. [19]

The old temple silhouetted against a cloudy sky.

Dharamshala getting covered in evening mist. [20]

Dharamshala slowly getting covered in the evening mist.

Dhauladhar range basking in the evening sun. I took another snap after 15 mins. The range wasn't visible as clearly as in here. Mist covers the mountains in minutes. [21]

Dhauladhar range basking in the evening sun. I took another snap after 15 mins. The range wasn’t visible as clearly as in here. Mist covers the mountains in minutes.

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 [22] 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.

The bookshelf at Lobsang's Four Seasons Cafe overlooking the glass of Tibetan herbal tea. [23]

The bookshelf at Lobsang’s Four Seasons Cafe overlooking the glass of Tibetan herbal tea.

Hot cheese momos in soup and dry egg noodles for my dinner. [24]

Hot cheese momos in soup and dry egg noodles for my dinner.

Day 6: A trek to Triund [25]
Day 4: From Dalhousie to Dharamshala [26]