Up the Hill to Dharamkot!

Here I am. Dharamkot, India.

Otherwise known as that hippy village in the himalayas.

Located just a hop and a skip away from Mcleodganj. Travel time – a 10 to 15 min death incline walk up a dirt road (time may vary, especially if you run into a pack of hungry monkeys and need to retreat. Monkeys ARE assholes.) or a 3 minute tuk tuk ride up costing approx 100 rupees ($2 CAD) and resulting in a few grey hairs due to narrow himalayan mountain roads, excessive speeds and Indian drivers.

Although the distance between Mcleodganj and Dharmamkot is minimal, they both reflect completely different vibes. Mcleodganj has an interesting blend of Tibetan and Hindu culture. Tibetan buddhist monks calmly intertwine past crowds of vibrant Indian locals. The streets are loud, busy, dynamic, and vibrant; The tune of India.

Dharamkot however, feels like worlds apart. Quiet, laid back, mellow- all the inspiration Christina needed to inspire the “getup and go” up the hill. Cars are only able to drive up approx a hundred metres into town until the streets become too narrow. Thus, the “soothing sound” of car horns polluting the town is muted. Buddhist monks may be seen on the outskirts of town during their walking meditations, as there are many Buddhist shrines along the paths, but it is rare to see the monks rarely in town.

An interesting random observation of Dharamkot is the amount of Israelites long-term travelers in their early/mid twenties. They are fun and chatty with their own, tending to stay closely knit in their cliques. There are moments I feel like I am back in highschool. I’m curious to learn more why they are here, but I have been over hearing little tidbits that it is very common for young adults to stay and vacation here as the exchange rate is favourable. I have also heard that young men who have been drafted into the military spend time here after their mandatory service is complete. With the scenic hills, quiet pathways and peaceful solitude, this would be a brilliant safe haven after war.

What are we doing here in Dharamkot?
– Staying in a guest house called the Pink House. Very basic. Room with a double bed, plastic table and a bathroom. 500 Rupees a night.  ($10 CAD)
– Attending morning guided meditations at Tushita Tibetan Meditation Centre, led by none other than a young Irish lad named Timothy. Upon appearance, he looks to be barely 19, but the wisdom he emits – especially during question and answer period – reveals that he is much older (and wiser) than that.
– Christina has been exploring the trails while I have been finding serenity on the campus of Tushita with my journal. I feel guilty for not being more adventurous and going with her, but I feel my body/mind craving to be on the grounds of Tushita. “Silence Please” signs are scattered around the grounds – making me begin to understand that perhaps silence truly is golden.
– We have found a favorite hang out spot, a funky cafe/restaurant called the Milkyway. Here you will find a 7 page menu with Indian, Western, Chinese, Israeli, and Italian breakfast and dinner items. “Veg and NonVeg”. (Vegetarian and non-vegetarian.) And luckily for me – delicious coffee and lattes, on par to the western world I left. Most importantly – somewhat solid wifi connection.
– Although there are many “yoga studios” in this area, we have yet to take a class. I find it to be exceptionally intimidating to muster up the courage to go. Upon reading exerts from the Lonely Planet guide book, to then being there in person, I feel a massive weight of hesitation. I am having a hard time adjusting to the small confined spaces. This saddens me, as I am unable to drop into classes in even the most humble of settings.  I struggle with this every day. Waking up with an inner plan to take class, but then feeling tired or uninspired to go. Back home, I would always say “The hardest part of yoga is getting to the studio”. This is equally true in India.


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