The one thing that I completely forgot to mention, was that we went to a marvellous church yesterday. It is called St John’s In The Wilderness, and is just outside McLeodGanj. It is gothic in style, and is surrounded by wonderful deodar trees. There are several graves there, including that of Lord Elgin, former Viceroy of India, who died in 1863.
Today was quite different. We started the day with a trip to the cricket ground at Dharamshala. This is the second highest cricket ground in the world. The highest is in Chail, also in this state. The one at Dharamshala is the highest international cricket ground. We were blessed with some beautiful grounds, and the round of the cricket field, the mountains and the clouds made for some marvellous graphic elements.
Next stop – the Norbingkyu Art Centre, which is a Tibetan Crafts centre. This is beautiful. Peaceful, and again, the place had some lovely graphical elements that allowed me some fun. Tripods not encouraged.
Then onto a Tantric Monastery called Gyuto. Interesting. The monks live comfortable lives.
Then onto a temple dedicated to one Chamunda Devi. This was boring, but I did climb down to the rocky bottom of the mountain stream. As you walk along the path to the temple, it is lined with shops selling temple offerings, I was in no mood. As soon as I started to climb down, I was greeted with the wonderful perfumed smell of urine on the hillside. Quite unlike the Tibetan monasteries, which have decent toilets, the Hindus believe in adding their stuff to the hillside.
I am normally quite sure footed, but some of these rocks were a bit slippery. I also forgot that I am not a mountain goat, and while I was hopping from one rock to another, there were a few anxious moments, I can tell you.
When I climbed up, I found that buddy boy had gone to eat pakoras with chai. He is of sturdy (I am being kind) build, and as he slopped across the road, he was oblivious of the cars barreling along the highway. I nudged a copper and said, “My old pal thinks he is so slim that the cars can go around him.”
The copper looked startled, and then burst out laughing. For a minute he forgot about managing the traffic!
I really don’t want to keep my mouth shut.
Finally, we were off to the Palampur Tea Estate. For a moment, I was wondering what the hell I was doing there, and then I decided to use the lines of the bushes, the trees and the shadows in combination.
On the way back, I decided to climb down to another river bed. I am pretty sure that there is a Grateful Dead song where they sing about river beds. Fantasy is allowed.
Anyway, this was a wee bit more tricky. This time, I was balancing a tripod on the slippery rocks, and changing camera batteries and lenses! Not something to be sniffed at.
But, the failing light was beautiful and the day would not wait for me.
Tomorrow is another day, my friends…