Sunday, 20 May 2012

Mcleod Ganj and The Chamba Valley

By Mark,

After leaving Vashist, which I had become quite attached to, (not so much the freezing weather) we had to back track approx 100km's. We don't usually like having to back track but the scenery and roads here are great for riding so it was a fun ride with not too much traffic. Our destination for today Mcleod Ganj is where the Tibetan government in exile resides including the Dalai Lama. The town lies at just over 2000m so has a nice temperature, not too cold but a comfortable climate. After finding ourselves a room we wandered off  to have a look around and get a bite to eat. This place was very quiet and after leaving the restaurant after our evening meal the town was all but empty. The following day we continued our sightseeing with a longer walk over to the next village of Bhagsu where we found that not too much was going on here either. There was a lovely waterfall but were too exhausted to walk all the way to it. We have become so lazy on this trip. Instead we opted to walk down to the stream down from the waterfall where we were visited by a few of the local goats that took quite a shine to Sanne and decided to sit down beside her for a bit of shade from the midday sun. The river was alive with many monks who were washing clothes and themselves in the icy cold water from the mountain tops. It was such a shame to see rubbish lying around here and even worse that it is western travellers who volunteer their time to clean the place up. I believe that on a whole most foreign visitors take their rubbish away with them and that locals and Indian tourists are to blame for the mess left behind. One local took it upon himself to point out to one volunteer cleaning up, all the rubbish he could see and followed her and continually told her where to go and what to pick up. Maybe if he was so concerned about it he should just take a bag with him each time he goes for a wash and do a little bit of the work himself. After Sanne's little friends had had enough of her company we decided to leave and check out Tsuglag Khang, the Dalai Lama's Temple. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of him but never did unfortunately. We did get to learn how China took over Tibet and many of the lives that were lost as a result. I cannot believe what some countries think they can do and how the rest of the world sits back and lets it happen. China should never have been granted the Olympics for this alone and more should be done for Tibetans to be able to take back control of their own country. After our visit we decided that we should hit the road the following day with no real destination in mind. So that's just what we did. We ended up in Chamba Valley after another beautiful ride on some more quiet roads and a drop in elevation of another 1000m so was a bloody windy road. This is where we managed to do our first interview with a local paper and ended up in the daily rag the following day. Shame we can't read Hindi but we did have it translated and not quite true to what we had done or what we were going to do in the future but we thought it was pretty cool all the same.

The view from Mcleod Ganj looking down towards Dharamsala

In the grounds of Tsuglag Khang

The view from our hotel over the Dhauladhar Range

Sanne's little friend chillin in the shade

The great pine forests that surround the tourist town of Khajjhiar 

Many a goat by the road side here

The mountain range around Chamba Valley, a bit hazy unfortunately

We are famous...

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