Mussoorie trip- November 6, 2009
I am posting only a few pics here so Here is a link to the full album of pictures – in addition to the few here in the post – really worth looking at them:
When planning this trip I was told that Mussoorie was a 2 ½ hour drive, and so we decided to leave at 7 in the morning and figured we’d have breakfast in mussoorie No one bothered to tell me that 2 ½ hours was going directly on the main road, not taking the scenic mountain road.
Which is the way we decided to go, and although it was a full 4 ½ hour ride up winding, twisting, hair-pin curve roads, it was worth every minute of the journey. Despite the fact that my stomach protested vigorously several times and I thought I could not go another minute, the views were more than worth the price I paid. And the decision not to eat breakfast before leaving, paid off as well, because if I had eaten beforehand, I would have wound up like the lady we saw hanging wither head out a bus window, vomiting!!
It was a totally fabulous day for me, for reasons even beyond the actual trip to mussoorie, which would have been enough in itself. In addition, I had my first view of the
I had my first view of the glorious snow-capped Himalaya peaks in 2 ½ years, and it wasn’t until that breath stopping moment of my first view that I realized how much I missed these mountains and realized that I had stayed away for much too long.
In addition to this, I also visited the Tibetan colony in dehra dun, and understood how much I miss the Tibetan culture, people, tranquil faces with peaceful smiles, saying Tashi Delek to people (hello in Tibetan) and seeing their faces light up with wonder and joy that a foreigner would greet them in this way, and of course, the utter tranquility and peaceful joy I felt while visiting the Buddhist temple,
stupa and moastery. The energies were so different for me at least from what I feel (or don’t feel) when visiting most Hindu holy sites….the Buddhist sites have nothing to do with idols and gods. It is simply a place where a person can connect completely and easily with his own inner divinity and feel whole, totally at peace, and one with all. The pictures in this blog can, in no way, give you the true feeling of the magnificence of the Himalayas, or the deep feelings of harmony and peace which Buddhist environs seem to release within me.
There is no question that I will be back in McLeodganj next year!
And now, just a lot of little impressions and glimpses into the trip itself…
We left and followed the mountain road arriving first in a town called Narender where, of all things, we passed the Mt Carmel Christian Academy!. We rode steadily up twisting, narrow roads, rising completely above the lowlands below. Small shrines to Shiva all along the road. Exhilaration of being back in the mountains again the only compensation for my stomach protestations. We were riding through the Garwhal district which is the home of numerous small villages and isolated homesteads….the mountainsides terraced
with all kinds of crops, and although there are some true homes there, most of the people seem to be living in what are barely shacks…hovels built of tin, black plastic and anything else I guess that is available as raw materials. On the other hand, the air is clean and pure, there is plenty of running water and probably enough to eat, although the life must be intensely difficult on a physical level. Driving up through the terraced slopes we saw lots of pink blossoming fruit trees which my friend Seema, who grew up in Garwhal, said are peach trees.
As we drove, we saw scores of school children from barely more than toddlers up through High School teenagers, walking for miles from both directions toward the local schools. This, after trudging straight up the sides of the mountains from their homes in the valleys below…all clean, clothes starched and pressed, hair oiled and slicked or plaited with white bows,all smiling, chatting, laughing and seeming completely unaware of the what seemed to me to be a really difficult task to do, twice each day. They looked a lot happier and content than most of the students I see at home being dropped off in fancy cars at the entrance to their various institutions of learning back home.
After two hours of traveling, the deodars began to show themselves on the mountainsides…I love these trees and these forests…you can see them in the pictures…
We found our way through Chamba which is a big resort city for Indians and certainly worth visiting for the amazing views and peaceful atmosphere.
At my first view of the snow-capped peaks, I was overwhelmed with tears of joy…quite to my surprise actually! And the crispness of the cold mountain air was so bracing and lovely…It was truly wonderful.
Next town along the way is Dhanolti, another tourist center, and the last town before reaching Mussoorie itself. Mussoorie is at an altitude of 2500 meters, just slightly higher than Dharamkot, but it is not IN the mountains….it is ON a mountain which makes the views amazing from every direction.
Once up in mussoorie, we actually had no idea what to do there. This in itself is a first for me as the “old” me would have spent time checking out guide books or the internet to know exactly what I “must” do while in mussoorie. And discovering the unknown was great fun and a new kind of exciting adventure for me. A well-traveled friend of mine once mention that her favorite part of traveling is arriving in a new place with no idea about what to expect. I told her that this was terrifying for me and I could never do it. AND NOW I HAVE, albeit nothing too ambitious, but for me a wonderful new beginning. (And now I will approach my upcoming journey to varanassi in the same way).
We began just exploring the main “mall street”,
which was pleasant enough to walk around, especially in the cool mountain air, and I myself would have tried any of the local restaurants along the way for chai and parantha (or, as we did later on, ask some of the other tourists we saw what they recommend), but Natasha was not comfortable so, we went to eat at DOMINO’S PIZZA of all places.
But she was happy, so I was happy as well!!
We then continued our walk and knew that there was a cable car which goes up, so went looking for it. We finally found it and before we could think further, found ourselves riding up the mountainside. It is a 400 meter ride up and once up there, well, you can see from the pictures that it is worth the ride up. We stayed up there for some time, and, again, I myself would have eaten up there as well, but simply had chai…figuring better not too eat before traveling back down the mountain, knowing what awaited me on the roads. Met some lovely people there including two monks, one India, one Western, and then an Indian preacher who had “found Jesus” and tried converting me, but I held my own without creating conflict and all in all it was an interesting conversation.
We made our way back down to town and thought we would do some further exploring but realized it was getting late and we still wanted to see the Buddhist temple on the way back before it got dark. Just as we decided to head back up (and it WAS up-mussoorie is very hilly –as you can see from the pictures from the cable car-it sprawls out over the entire mountain)
– our driver called to ask if we were coming back. We left mussoorie quite happy with our adventure, and sicne the ride back was not through the mountain road but through Dehra Dun, the capitol city of Uttarakand, we expected to be back home quickly. Well, it was by then apparently rush hour and there was lots of traffic so it took longer to get to the Buddhist temple area than expected,
but there was still enough daylight to enjoy the setting and take pictures.
However, once back on the road, it took twice as long as it should have to get back to rishikesh due to traffic. We arrived home at 8 in the evening, exhausted, but extremely happy – I ate a light dinner and peacefully went to sleep – quite pleased and very proud of myself.
Here is a link to the full album of pictures – in addition to the few here in the post – just another reminder that it is really worth looking at them: