Monday, 19 November 2012

On the top of the world!


We are here in Mcleod Gang. A little Tibeten style village set at over 6000ft in the Northern Mountains of India with views of the Western Himalayas. This village is notable as it is the residence of the exiled Tibetan Government and home of the Dalai Lama. This place is wonderful and feels totally different from everything we have seen of India so far. First is the indigenous population is 50% Indian and 50% Asian, The air is clean and a lot cooler as we are high in the mountains, the attitude of shop sellers etc is far more laid back and the architecture is generally three plus stories with pitched roofs and it is all cleaner and painted with swathes of multi-coloured bunting hanging in the streets. It is really very cool and feels like India doing Scotland or the Lake district. Tourists are more plentiful here but are outdoorsy types with average age being older rather than young back packers. We both love it and both said on first inspection we could live here. Our hotel is rambling and we have room overlooking the mountains which has picture windows on each side. Days are pleasantly warm and nights are cool with us having to have blankets and wear shoes and fleeces for the first time in 6 weeks. We are surrounded by magnificent views of valleys stretching away in the misty distance, thick forests covering the hillsides and towering mountain peaks rising above all into the blue sky. We walked for about 10km day before yesterday through the mountains - stopping for the occasional cup of chai from little tea houses teetering on precipices overlooking the vertiginous valleys.

Yesterday we did another trek (this time starting earlier with already screaming muscles). This time we set off up the mountain to just shy of 9000ft where there was a green plateau on which were scattered a handful of huts and makeshift chai shops. We feel on top of the world – well almost because the next mountain towers probably another 3000 ft above our heads and is the Himalayas proper. No vegetation and so imposing it takes your breath (which is already short, away). The sky is blue the vista stretches for miles, the air is sharp and our bodies tingle with the excitement of what we are seeing. We trek down but cheat for the last 1200ft and manage to get the scariest cab ride down a track that is just boulders and gravel. The car has jacked up suspension and is just a little compact Suzuki or similar. The track is 7ft wide with a sheer drop on one side and rocky outcrops on the other. I saw a new face of Rachel on the way down, her scared shitless face! My leg still has claw marks in it. I put on a brave face for her but it was pretty scary so the seat next to me to the brunt of my tightly gripping hand. Eventually we get to the village and cannot get out of the car quick enough, both thanking the driver for not killing us!

Little note on Mcleod Ganj. Beautiful as it is the place is riddled with sweet looking dogs that turninto maniacal, howling arses at night and bark from 11.00pm till 6.00pm without stopping. Each replying to its echo or the echo of a dozen other of the furry little f*****s. Second point is that everything Knitted is available here. Socks, hats, jumpers, trousers, shirts, coats and willy warmers (the wool is not the soft sort so bugger that)

Final comment before we leave this lovely place. Today the Dalai Lama is giving a talk and we had hoped to go and listen but travel problems and timings have prevented it . We are now heading off to our Ashram so will be silent until the 30th November as technology is strictly no go.


Dogs barking

Long hall  up mountain glat grass restuarants

Dhali lalme


1 comment:

  1. Bit late for me to comment but I resent you calling dogs f******s. Have to say the views look absolutely stunning.
    have fun not talking, speak to you end of November.