McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh

A hill station 2,000 metres up in The Himalayas. A bustling tourist spot and infamous for the home of the Tibetan Government in Exile and also HH The Dalaim Lama.

After settling in and finding my feet, I started into the yoga course (which I’ve gone through in detail in the Yoga section).

During break times, I would wander about the streets of Mcleod. Avoiding being seductively persuaded by the Kashmiri street sellers. A few friends had told me some scary tales of being swindled out of all of their money in the first days of arriving in India. So I steered clear of the boys from “Paradise”.

Mcleod is full of restaurants serving International cuisine such as Italian, Tibetan/Chinese, French Indian, Mexican, Thai, French and many more! Every day there was something new to experiment and there was always someone around to give a good recommendation. For breakfast we would tuck in to monstrous bowls of Muesli with banana, papaya, coconut shavings, peanuts, raisins, curd and a dollop of honey, after 3 hours in yoga class we had definitely earned it!

Lunch was usually brown rice, tofu, spinach and garlic, curries, momos, mixed veg salads, the odd burrito :P, ginormous veg and tofu burgers. As the Tibetans are amazing bakers, we couldn’t resist the abundance of cakes on offer. Chocolate, Walnut cake, Lemon Curd Pie, Moist carrot cake, banana cake, brownies, chocolate cheesecake. My yoga diet was in serious jeopardy every time Sella in the Green Hotel brought out a fresh batch of hot cakes, mmmm!!!

After stuffing my face with goodies I soon had to head back to class to treat my mind to a workout.

We were invited to a wedding during the course. The manager’s brother was getting married and he wanted us all to come to take part in the celebrations and meet his family. We set off on a day tour with our teacher. He brought us to ancient yogi temples and fed us mounds of history about each place.

After a few hours of sight-seeing we piled back in to our jeeps and headed further into the mountains in the direction of the wedding. As we got nearer, we were notified of a landslide so we had to get out and walk. A little adventure. It was hot, humid and raining. We walked up to the edge of cliff and headed down a rickety set of steps. Cross a rusty old bridge and walk through paddy fields and finally we reached the wedding.

We were greete by hundreds of curious eyes and lots of dancing. But first we were to be fed.

After dinner, the rum was whipped out and the dancing began. They were cousins, brothers, uncles, fathers and so many kids that we had to meet. They were all so eager to meet us and take photos and get a few hugs as well.

After a few hours of the celebrations we got our flash lights out and trundled back through the Paddy fields, making a few narrow mud sliding escapes.

The evenings were usually spent with my fellow yogis, discussing class and talking about food or in the company of some of the locals whom I befriended. They owned a drum and didgeridoo stall in the town and I found myself getting completely swept away every time I sat down to listen to them play

Being in India is a truly magical experience. The people, the flavours, the colours, even the cows in the street make it that little bit extra special.


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