It was an extended weekend for us– mainly because it was my best friend’s birthday on Friday. Both of us decided to ditch our partners and do something different this year, than the regular booze-loaded sleazy late night party. So, we headed for a weekend getaway with the aspiration to have a girly, meditative, adventurous time out.
Coming by a few interesting options within the 500 kms range initially decided upon, we paused as soon as Dharamshala caught our fancy. It had been a long time since we went there – almost five years. We were a couple of teenagers back then—all we did was ‘trek’ this, ‘trek’ that, indulged in some paragliding and, explored the evening party mystic of the snow laden town. We pretty much ensured not to explore the signature aspect of the town for which it is eminent in the entire globe – yoga and meditation.
We must have evolved by now or at least, we thought we did. We gave the regular sports a break and instead, went on to explore the meditative facet of this lovely place. Rigorous as that sounded, we needed to break away from the regular stuff we had been doing since a decade or so.
We booked a direct flight to the land of meditation, the homeland of Lord Budhdha and Dalai Lama – Dharamshala. It was an early morning flight, so we landed in Dharamshala by 8 am. Post which, we dropped off our stuff at a good enough hotel (from the limited options available to us) before going out in order to explore a couple of places where we could get some hot coffee and a healthy breakfast.
Mesmerized by beauty of the town, its ethnic Tibetan infrastructure and cool windy climate that displayed signs of an upcoming rainfall – we moved to explore the tranquility of its scenic ambience.
Saturday: Visit to Gyuto Monastery
Located in Sidbari, a few kms off the Palampur Dharamshala Highway, the Gyuto Monastery is one of the most ancient monasteries in India and the oldest in Tibet. It is home to nearly 200 Buddhist Monks and an inspiring pustule for several travelling spiritualists and explorers. We were in time to witness the fire puja and take a walk in silent meditation across the entire monastery.
Sunday Morning: Visit to Dhamma Shikhara
After spending the entire day visiting the Gyuto Monastery and observing the peace and quiet, we decided to indulge in a miniature version of the much emphasized meditation therapy – the Vipassana Meditation. I do not know if I would call it a mere experience or a memorable experience that resulted in small development of patience that I never really had in me before. Compared to my otherwise, edgy, feisty, highly reactive personality, this was a surprising development. Seated in some of the most gorgeous locations that reminded me of fragments of the notorious Spiti Valley, and remaining seated in silence for the longest time, was the overall observation of this widely distinctive meditative art. My back hurt and my feet had slept – this was the toughest thing I had ever done, even though more enlightening than anything. I amazed myself by being able to follow it at all. I had discovered a brand new side of me that day – unearthed a new facet of my personality that was patient, and much less whiny and definitely much less wicked. Even though I was physically restless, I had never been more in awe of my existence before. I felt internally ‘recharged’.
Monday Morning: Back Home
With this, we concluded our trip while the memory of magnificent Gompas, utterly inspiring monastery, and the unique day spent at Dhamma Shikahara left eternal traces inside me.