Mystical Mcleodganj

Picture this. Waking up to the faint rhythm of gongs from a monastery resonating through the valley; listening to the sound of wind rushing towards gaunt mountains, losing momentum in its windy trail to only crash back into the valley, shaking every leaf, every blade of grass in its wintry dance; sighting goat-herds shepherding merry white and brown goats towards greener pastures; immersing oneself in the heavy smell of tea and the intoxicating smell of burning cedar leaves; parting curtains to chance upon a purple-orange brush stroke across a glowing sky that nature had been busy painting while you snoozed under layers; rubbing your eyes to see the faint yellow green plains below and matchbox houses, red and blue against the ochre scattered across the plains! Yes, this is what I precisely indulged in for three days that I was at Mcleodganj, a small hill-town in Himachal Pradesh, much after an impetuous decision to escape from the humdrum of city life.

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Mountains equate a warm cup of chamomile tea if you were to ask me, and being a mountain boy I keep seeking the majesty, mystery and magic of mountains. I’m often frowned upon, questioned about, and guffawed at for my solo travels! If only I could accurately describe the unanimity I sense, making me joyously giddy, at the sight of and surrounded by the grandeur of mountains, that being alone becomes inconsequential, and a babbling voice would only be deterrent to the prevailing serenity! And there I was absorbing, feasting upon all that my eyes could gather, treading through narrow tree lined roads, sipping upon cup after cup of Honey Lemon Ginger concoction in the little hill town of Mcleodganj, where His Holiness the Dalai Lama resides. Walking away from the throng of the town I would head towards cedar forests, listening to birds chirp, crickets chirrup, leaves rustle and the wind whistle, in perfect harmony, attuned to the mystical rhythm of nature. Quaint tea shops, fellow solo travellers, soul-stirring conversations over dumplings and tea only added to the adventure.

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I woke up early to trek towards Triund PeakΒ stopped often at the rocky trail to gaze at the mighty blue green valley extending far and beyond, smiled at mountains tearing through layers of mist to unite with an ozone blue sky, rested under the canopy of Rhododendron trees, and submitted my entirety to the oneness. And reaching the summit I knew no equivalent joy; sighting snow-capped mountains, the soft grassy earth, the air crisp and cold, my heart sang a tune, my feet danced to the tune within and spreading my arms I smiled, only smiled.

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I walked through roads not taken into the silence of St. John’s church, the stone walls blackened with time, cedar trees guarding its serenity and yonder lay a cemetery, covered in moss, stones broken, graves marked, unmarked, wild flowers around the gravestones as though nature had been weaving a wreath for the lost and forgotten graves, their families oceans away! I prayed in silence for the souls who had found a home in the wilderness, where peace, perhaps, prevailed.

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Ancient, undated, rock temples at Masrur, from the 8th century as archaeologists claim, beckoned to me, their perfect reflection upon the green pool never swayed, the many deities etched upon the walls danced in the silence of the mountains. I listened intently and heard the sound of chisels breaking upon the rock, craftsmen humming at the hammering and chipping, giving shape, embellishing patterns upon the monolithic mound. Legends, claimed a local, have it that the Pandavas, during their exile, carved the temple in a single night! The mystery of faith.

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I walked through the ruins of the ancient fort of Kangra, perched atop a hill, surrounded by mountains on all sides and guarded by the confluence of two rivers. Oh the stories that the walls and ramparts narrated,Β tales of grandeur and plunder, celebrations and earthquakes, ceremonies and capture; if only I could relive the time that was, horses daintily walking past the many gates, palanquins and an entourage of men and women singing, dancing, the colours of festivals, cymbals, drumbeats, the piercing sound of war-cry, arrows swishing through the air, swords clashing, cannons resounding-the wonders of history!

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I walked till my feet hurt, smiled till all my worries bled away, merged with the happy crowd, swam in the silence of the Dhauladhar mountains, sentinels chronicling the stories of our lives through centuries; I sailed with the wind, soared high with hawks, resonated with the resplendent sound of chimes and gongs; I laughed, cried, sang, whistled, and I lost myself to find myself in the magic of mystical Mcleodganj!

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87 thoughts on “Mystical Mcleodganj

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  1. What you experienced was amazing, and your writing shares how enlightened you are because of it! Parakhit you need to send this to National Geographic or other considered publication. Much love, Marie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my! πŸ™‚ That is so considerate of you Marie! Enlightenment, oh I do hope we all are there some day πŸ™‚ It’s a continuous process isn’t it. And Nature always brings out the best in us, right πŸ™‚

      Thank you so so much πŸ™‚ Good wishes your way.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The place radiates serenity and beauty. We had planned a trip there a few years back, but somehow it didn’t happen. Now thanks to your post, we need to think about visiting this beautiful place. Thanks Parikhit! πŸ’–

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  3. I feel the exact same way about experiencing the wonders of nature in solitude. When there is no one talking to you, you can almost hear the whispers of magic (at least that is how I feel). I like the line where you said that you opened your arms wide and smiled, only smiled. I do that too, when I am just so overwhelmed by the beauty and vastness of nature that I just cannot control myself.

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    1. There is a magic, isn’t there. πŸ™‚ Nature wants us to let go and listen, listen to the wonders, be one with her mystery and yes it gets happily overwhelming 😊 I’m so glad that you can relate.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. lol I have been visiting before you were born!
    This is where I lived for years … know Triund, St John’s, McLeod and Kangra township well but your last few photos I’ve never seen or heard of … whereabouts are they?

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      1. oh an hours drive away … didn’t go that far for my holidays πŸ™‚
        Didn’t you mind the hotel and cafe up at Triund, ruined it a bit for me but I’d seen it before commercialism …

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was an eyesore! And what also bothered me was the trekkers were not enjoying the trek and only intended to go up to the camp and party through the night. Carrying portable speakers along the trial, they were very well ruining the serenity of nature. A solo trekker and I had to request the troopers to keep it low. Why play loud music when nature is orchestrating a wonderful rhythm!

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      3. wow so different from when we only saw one shepherd and his new bride with their flock of sheep up there … and on the way down we passed a few Tibetan doctors with a huge cauldron climbing to collect medicinal herbs … prefer my old memories πŸ™‚

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      4. You’d be honestly surprised now! I saw only one bird, a woodpecker in the entire trial. I guess with the loud music and tribes and tribes of loud trekkers, the birds choose to stay away.

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      5. they are not silly … I lived further down the valley but in an area tourists would never know about and the bird life and range of monkeys was tops πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That sounds amazing. I was living further down the monastery, amidst isolation and without the humdrum of crowd. And every time I had to go to the town, I wanted to escape. So many people!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. ah at the very top end of Jogiwara Road, I lived in Jogiwara village the last couple of years … down off the left side as you drive down to the library. Most dont realise the village is there πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Although I too have been there and I fell in love with Mcleodganj. But looking at it through your words and pictures it is as if I I missed the charm. It is much more beautiful than I what I saw. I need to visit this heaven once again!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Sure I will in my blog reaching home to self when my story will reach there.
        Actually it was most memorable trip of my life. My brother was alive then. We enjoyed so much. Now I miss those days.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The past and the days that were seem magical don’t they. If only we could hold onto them, to the time we were busy creating memories, relive them, the people then πŸ™‚ If only.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. in my opinion, travelling alone, must have been really beautiful. and i’ll prefer that. but if i’m w my lady, that oh i’d love so much, then in no way on earth, i’m going to, travel alone. for oh how romantic, would it be? as me and my love, would walk on paths so unknown and oh fall in love, with the whole process of it. there’s like so much then. to look forward to, if you’re going w your partner. it’s something, i cant express. but it’s beautiful.
    just like you.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. i’m not looking for one. she’ll come, when it’s meant to be. until then, i guess, all i can do is, work on myself. and after reading this thing of yours, i can’t help but imagine, as to how romantic, would it be, if i were to go on a similar trip w my lady to the mountains.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes indeed. Love happens at the least unexpected places. It is as through everything conspires to take you to that threshold when you know this is it! πŸ™‚ Mountains are always charming and accentuate the love of lovers 😊

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      3. You talk so much about love. Yet you let a heartbreak break you. You might be older, beautiful. But when it comes to love, it seems as if there’s a lot, you’re yet to realize. And I hope you realize soon and then smile, just so i could smile too, but by just looking at you!

        with love

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ah I do believe in love for it sure is one of those purest things that could be there. Oh a heartbreak hasn’t shredded me, just made me rational I guess. A friend used to tell me that the heart is unconditionally elastic but what if my heart were stretched to extremes. πŸ™‚ On a different note, it’s filled with love. So I continue loving from a distance, not doubting the wonder of love.

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  7. Amazing places and AWESOME writer — feel like i escaped with you, in your pocket — from our concrete jungle….Thank YOU for making your solo-travel and trip for all of us with your wonderful pictures and absolutely MaGiCaL writing — love the line where you smile till your worries melt. πŸ™‚ Keep smiling and sharing. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow this was such a lovely description. I so badly want to experience this myself. Your writing skill is amazing. It wholly captures the attention of the reader. And those pictures, they are so beautiful. Ahhh…I want to go there right now ,🀧🀧

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Keep escaping from the city whenever you feel like. Because that’s when we’ll get to read your experiences from far off lands.

    Solo travelling? Wow. If I go to any place alone (that is, if I ever go), I’ll most probably return half depressed. I need closed ones to keep me sane, lol. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. πŸ˜€ Thanks Sana! May be I should get my trips sponsored from now on! πŸ˜€ I was scared as a kitten when I travelled solo for the first time, checking, double-checking, confused, cautious. And now a few solo travel old, I am better but still learning. Usually I chance upon many solo travellers and then there are books too πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sponsorship idea sounds great. But then maybe they’ll want you to include their products in your write-ups. πŸ˜› Hahah!

        It must feel amazing to be comfortable in your own company. 🎈

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh yes! I’d be one of the many travel bloggers advertising hotels and products then discussing the experience 😁

        It can be, certainly. But I think I need company at times along with my own selfish space 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, yes! You should be. And also I’m seriously hoping that someday I’ll come across a post which talks about your published book. (Please do it.) 😊

        We all need company from time to time. So totally understandable 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Loving your travelogues……a solo trip sounds so enticing….all the places you have visited sound so Serene. Honestly Everytime we mention mcleodganj…the only thing I hear is that it’s famous for weed ……you made me see a new side of it. Great post

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are not entirely wrong. There are so many folks who come there to indulge in weed and all that there is! And if you were to ask them, they say it acts as a catalyst to enjoy the beauty! Honestly, I think it’s rubbish πŸ˜€ Nature itself is one big catalyst and all you need to do is keep your eyes and ears open! πŸ™‚ You must go there for the serenity that still survives and you are only a night’s travel away!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Since when do we need a substance to enjoy beauty …. The idea goes above my head ……but as they say to each his own. I sure feel I should plan it and when I do , for sure will give you my take on the place

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Indeed, I fail to understand it as well. 😁 I’ll definitely wait for your take on the beautiful town. Oh prevent an extended weekend or a holiday. The whole of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana will be partying there. 😁

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