The Great Himalayan Escape- 2
Disclaimer: All the snaps have been uploaded from my phone, so kindly bear with the picture quality
Continued from here..
The second day kicked off with a sumptuous breakfast from the cosy restaurant of 8 Auspicious Him View Hotel, served hot and fresh! I won’t say they had wide choices, but whatever they had in the menu turned out fingerlicking yummy!
I had read on one of the review sites that the hotel was known for its homemade cakes. And true to its reputation, they served us the most deliciously moist cakes each day.
This was the carrot cake we were treated to on the second day of our stay…
Also, if you are a lover of hot and spicy food, don’t miss the homemade Tibetan chilli chutney/paste that they have on offer, if you do choose to stay here. It’s one of the spiciest and yummiest I have had!
Anyway, to get on with the vacation recount, after the breakfast, we decided to visit The Dalai Lama temple, which was about 10 minutes drive from the hotel. Once we reached the gate of the temple, we realized that we had yet another steep climb up waiting for us to get to the main monastery.
I was worried for my father and father-in-law who had difficulty climbing stairs. But what amazed me was their spirit and will to get on with the climb. *Touchwood*. According to them, such opportunities came once in a lifetime. And they didn’t want to get pulled down by a mere leg pain and miss a single spot that was worth exploring 🙂
We reached atop huffing and puffing to witness the most spell binding view of the mountains surrounding the shrine. There were monks chanting prayers, quite a few visitors like us taking rounds of the peaceful and serene compound, some rotating the prayer wheels while chanting the mantra ‘Om Mani Padme Hum‘which it is said purifies your mind and body and cleanses your thoughts.
As per Wikipedia Another suggested translation is thus: Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods); Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods); Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm); Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm); Me purifies greed and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts); Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm).
Unfortunately no electronic equipments were allowed inside. I wish they had allowed cameras though so I could share the views from up!
But then some images that are captured with your eyes may not do justice when captured into the lens, right? They are best kept tucked safe in your memory.
Suffice would it be to say that even though the climb was exhausting, yet the experience of visiting the monastery of His Holiness was every bit fulfilling.
The third day was spent visiting The Norbulinka Institute of Tibetan Culture, which was again a wonderful experience.
Norbulinka, which was established in 1988, aims at teaching and preserving centuries old Tibetan culture and traditional art forms including wood carving, statue making, thangka painting, weaving and embroidery.The core idea of the center has been to restore Tibetan traditions, provide training education and employment for Tibetans and make traditional Tibetan experience accessible for contemporary lifestyle.
As we entered the gatehouse, we were completely taken in by the beautiful gardens, mesmerized by the serene tranquil environment.
Namnam and my Ma, the two water-babies’ happiness knew no bounds when they saw the center adorned by these delightful water bodies making the whole place look even more beautiful.
The littler water-baby couldn’t stop running and galloping across the little streams and rocks built all around the gardens, in utter excitement!
There were separate workshops in progress for thangka painting, wood-carving, weaving, metal sculpture. Namnam & I could even take a peek into one of the weaving classes ongoing there.
We were all quite fascinated by these prayer wheels too..
The center also housed a nice Doll Museum where we saw these cute little dolls displayed in different costumes representing different regions of Tibet.
Here’s a peek into one of the groups enjoying a picnic!
We, then, checked out an in-house shop which showcased and sold locally-produced souvenirs, embroidered clothing, cushions and wall hangings that were exquisite no doubt but expensive too.
Also in the premises was a temple that looked spectacular with walls adorned by frescoes and 14ft gilded Buddha created by the artists of Norbulinka.
In the end we stopped by The Hummingbird Cafe, to grab a bite before heading back to our hotel. The food was just about ok, nothing great, but it did succeed in tending to our growling tummies.
Oh and yes, I am being constantly poked and reminded by my 7 year old that I mention about her getting drenched in the pouring rain while there! That was the most highlighting and thrilling part of the trip for her apparently 😀
After getting back to the hotel, Ma and I set out to indulge in another detoxifying activity…shopping! Thanks to Sonam, the lady who ran the hotel we were staying in, we got to know of the main streets we could go to to shop around. We picked up beads, which the town was known for, a few masks, some bags, and curios.
In all the positives that the place had to offer though, the one negative that made us cringe was its brash and rude people. While the hotel staff, each and everyone of them, was extremely warm and pleasant, the locals outside including the vendors were very unfriendly.
Like I have mentioned before in one of my travelogues on Sri Lanka, it can make a world of difference to your journey if the place that you’re trying to explore and its people are warm, courteous, and willing to make you feel welcome.
Anyway, that’s not to say that the day wasn’t well spent. It was. And like any day this fruitful one came to an end too.
And our vacation slowly inched towards a finish as well. And I realize that this short break had so many take-aways..
Most of important of it being Namnam getting a wonderful chance to bond even stronger with her grandparents!
My Ma, relaxing with a book in hand, her feet put up with no worry of everyday chores..
The excitement and thrill that I could sense on both my fathers’ faces whenever they experienced a bumpy car ride, or discovered an interesting trivia on the place, or while watching the clouds moving or the mountains getting hidden in the clouds! It was priceless! Wish I could express the endearment I felt every time I observed each of them, in words.
Last but never the least, the undivided time that I got with my parents! 😀
On the last day, all we did was stand in the balcony every now and then, just soak in the magnificent mountain views as much as we could in whatever time left of the day and hold on to the moment.
Memories are made up of such moments..