Over the last 4 days, I have been busy talking about McLeodGanj, but have not given an indication of where it is. It is in the state of Himachal Pradesh, in North West India. It is about 480 km from Delhi, and is 1750 metres above sea level. It is a town that was actually set up by the Brits, and is named after a gentleman called McLeod, who was Governor. There is another village down the road called ForsythGanj, named after a Brit called…. guess!
When McLeodGanj became crowded, a town called Dharamshala was set up 9 km down the road. A Dharamshala is a Hindu rest house, normally set up by a trust, and it seems that a dharamshala was actually set up.
This area is dominated, in a sense, by the Dauladhar range which lies just behind McLeod Ganj. This is part of the Himalayan range, and is generally covered with snow much of the year.
So, there you go.
I went down today to two places – the Masroor Temples, and to the Pong Dam. The Pong Dam has some other name now, and I always forget the new name. While we had some glorious sunshine over the last two days, it was grey and miserable today. It started raining when I was at Pong Dam.
The Masroor Temples are monolithic rock cut temples – a small set – which seem to be quite old. And, guess what? As I climbed up the steps next to the temple, I found that people had managed to throw plastic bottles into the crevices at the top of the temple.
The Pong Dam was wild. Because of the fog and the clouds, it gave the appearance of absolute wilderness, which I tried to capture. We passed by a vulture feeding station, which I wanted to visit. Finally, when I was kneeling in the mud, it started to rain, and I had to leave.
I also discovered that the sound, “Zweeee” has not boded well for me these days.
The first time was when my Duster made a “Zweee” sound, and went into the gutter.
The second time was today. I had climbed up a three foot embankment at the edge of the hill ( I was looking down a steep incline), when suddenly the embankment gave way, and with a “Zweeee” sound, I slid backwards onto the highway. Luckily, I slid backwards…
The third, was when I was walking in my socks on the temple platform, which had an incline. I had to take my shoes off to enter the temple. My woollen socks are a little loose, and suddenly with a “Zweee” sound, my feet slipped in the socks, and I landed on my bum on the platform.
“Zweeee” seems to be associated with a backward slip these days.
After the third “Zweeee”, I tried to keep my mouth shut.
But, when we were driving back, we had lunch at Goldie’s Dhaba at the Village Lunj. The man and his wife run the place. He heats the food. She makes fresh chapatti and serves the food and manages the accounts.
He also whacked the drunken beggar who came into the dhaba to beg.
The lady was remarkably gentle, and was very good looking.
At the end of a fantastic meal, I broke my resolve of keeping my mouth shut.
I smiled at her and told her that it was one of the best meals that I had had.