If you have missed Part 1, you can read it here:
Shahido's India Travel Log: Part 1 - From Delhi to Dehradun and Rishikesh
So we continued to Dharamsala; it was a long drive that took all day. The road was very rough from the monsoon in some parts, but we made it in time for dinner at Osho Nisarga and Evening Meditation. We drove into the ashram to the sounds of Kundalini meditation, which was so very welcoming! I really like this way of travelling and seeing the country and staying at night in an Osho place; we felt like we were with family all the way.
Osho Nisarga is a pretty amazing place built with Himalayan stone in the foothills of a huge mountain range and with a fast flowing stream running right at the boundary of the property. Their website is www.oshonisarga.com
Every building is built of stone carved by the local villagers and is truly beautiful. They have a farm where they grow their own wheat, rice, mustard seed, and vegetables; the cows next door provide the milk. The villagers work in the commune and everything runs smoothly.
Neelam, Tathagat and Priya focus on therapy groups for Indians and westerners alike, and many of the therapists from Pune who no longer go to Pune work there. It is well worth a visit. We could only stay 3 nights as the place is booked out for groups, and visitors can only stay in-between the groups. Osho Dynamic, Kundalini and Evening Meditation happen every day. We then moved more than 1,000 meters higher up to a hotel in a little village outside of McLeodganj called Bhagsu. We stayed there for a few days and went sightseeing every chance we had.
We visited the Tibetan monastery Norbulingka, one of the many in the area where the Tibetans are keeping their culture alive. Over 300 students work in this monastery and it is well worth a visit. The other monastery we saw is Gyuto near Dharamsala, which is the home of the Karmapa and a very amazing place as well. Some of their monks come to Australia each year. In fact they have a place at the bottom of our road so we felt really at home with them!
I loved McLeodganj where the Dalai Lama stays when he is in India, and of course we visited the Dalai Lamas monastery and temple. Diti and Zahira walked around his palace...surely a great thing to do but it was a bit beyond me. I was able to do most of the walks but just sometimes I couldn’t manage...all this sightseeing was under the watchful eye of our driver, Mr Ranu, who took the utmost care of us...definitely one of the best ways to see the real India is to hire a good car and driver. The hotels provide dormitory accommodation for the drivers so he was able to stay with us for the entire time.
All the shops are Tibetan, and we shopped until we dropped! We also found a great Tibetan restaurant that had a real coffee machine, wonderful food and the best internet service; we spent a lot of time there eating momos and drinking coffee.
In Bhagsu we met up with an Osho sannyasin who was giving readings in a shop and he gave us lots of good advice what sites to go to. Also Chaitanya Keerti has a shop and residence there but he was away elsewhere, conducting a camp. We did meet up with him later in Delhi.
Zahira really wanted to go and see the Golden Temple in Amritsar. She had seen the Bollywood movie ‘Brides and Predjudice’, which has a scene shot at the Golden Temple. So we cancelled one night in the hotel where we were staying and persuaded Mr Ranu to take us to Amritsar...
What a great experience beyond description! I will let Diti and Zahira’s photos describe it. We stayed in a hotel close to the Golden Temple. As there were 3 of us, we were able to afford 5-star accommodations and convince the management to bring in a third bed. Zahira was good at talking to management. Thank goodness she had worked at the welcome centre in Pune and was able to deal with Indian-style bureaucracy.
We set out for Delhi the next day, only to discover that the distance was over 500 kilometres and knew we could never make it in one day, as many of the roads had been washed away with the monsoon. However, most of the road to Delhi was through the Punjab, the breadbasket of India, and the roads were highways. The Punjab has miles and miles of rice fields and fruit trees... very nice to drive through. Although the big cities were much polluted, the country side was clean and fresh. We reached Kurukshetra, a city where a very famous battle with Krishna and Arjuna took place. It has the biggest Krishna temple in India. There we stayed in another 5-star hotel and Zahira enjoyed the king size beds, the large television screens; she really loved living it up! We journeyed on to Delhi the next day and stayed in yet another 5-star hotel close to the Delhi centre as we wanted to connect with our friends there one more time. Their website is www.oshoworld.com
Previously published in www.oshonews.com