09 Jun Rollercoaster India
From dodging traffic in Delhi’s 40oC heat to trekking through the frigid mountains of Ladhak, from soaring in the skies of Manali on a wind-swept parasail to 20 hours of the most winding and bumpy bus rides, the OG India trip has been a rollercoaster ride. Fourth week into the trip, we have experienced all range of emotions. Still in high spirits and looking forward to the rest of our time here.
First days in Delhi for all of us were pure shock. It wasn’t just another country, it felt like a different world. Our next stop, Patiala, was another big contrast, staying at the Colonel’s beautiful house and being fed, entertained and treated as their own family. Volunteering at their School for the deaf and blind was an unforgettable experience. A huge challenge we had undertaken was to sponsor a trip for the entire school to visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar and to witness the grandest border ceremony of all at the nearby India-Pakistan border. Next, on to Dharamsala, a beautiful hill-station, the little Lhasa and home to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Wonderful four days of trekking with the NGO, Mountain Cleaners, all along picking up garbage and sending out messages to the local people of proper waste disposal. We took lessons in making Tibetan food and volunteered for English conversation practice with curious Tibetans. Some of us waited two hours straight outside the Dalai Lama’s residence to catch a glimpse of him while he returned from his Europe tour. Afterwards we took a bumpy night bus to Manali, the land some claim to be the cradle of civilization. Stunningly beautiful and relaxing environment, something everyone needed before we moved on to Ladhak. It was 20 hours of the most difficult road conditions many of us had ever experienced; freezing cold and sleepless but then also witnessing the most gorgeous vista of mountains, pastures, disintegrating rock hills, and desert. Ladhak again is unlike any other part of India, a world of its own.