I find myself connected to the temples, praying for peace and love
A place of gracious hosts, warm weather, chaotic driving, spicy food, sweet sugary treats, spiritual wisdom, and a desire to grow. I landed in Bangalore where I spent three days exploring India for the first time in my life. My first meal was dosa a type of fried bread with potatoes and onions. Dosa is a common breakfast here in southern india. If you want eggs for breakfast they have bread wrapped in green pepper and onion omelets. I met Akhil’s friends and we learned what they like to do in the city. Working 10 hours ahead of EST was tough but I quickly adjusted.
We then went to Hyderabad, a ten hour drive from Bangalore. We invited our other college friend, Shreyash, and off we went north. Compared to Bangalore, the highways were newer due to a stronger economy. Tucked below the tech and corporate sky rises, the beautiful mess remained. Pick your choice of dirty food cart corners serving hot kebab and lentil rice. We celebrated a Sankranti, flew kites, and listened to Indian music. We explored the old city of Hyderabad where sidewalks covered in trash and shopping carts overwhelm the center. We waited in a line and drank chai with the locals. Then it was time to head east to the village.
Akhil’s family has a farm and I have enjoyed learning more about the agriculture here in india. Palm oil trees create a wonderful canopy where cocoa leaves grow. In the fields, rows of dragon fruit wrapped themselves around concrete slabs where they will bloom in the summer. We ate a cocoa plant right from the tree and drank fresh coconuts. We met a group of farmers who were preparing tobacco leaves for flue curing.
For many people in India, it is the first time they are seeing a white person in real life. Naturally they are curious. Some even ask for pictures which I gladly accepted.
I find myself connected to the temples, praying for peace and love, plus learning what Hinduism means to the people of India.
Now we are preparing to leave the village back to Hyderabad before heading into the mountains. There we seek the great valley of Parvati. We are taking an overnight bus to Kullu, where we are staying two nights then heading into the higher regions.
The 22 hours train ride from Hyderabad to New Delhi was long, tough, and restless but I enjoyed the experience. I will share a video soon documenting the train ride.
With two quick days in Kullu, filled with delicious food and long hikes, getting used to the mountains air temperatures, we are on a bus to Jarri then a cab to Malana.
Malana has a beautiful valley and a sacred village untouchable any outsiders. When you walk through the village you will have kids telling you not to touch the temples and men trying to sell you hash. Malana is now known for its Malana cream (hash). We spent the day hiking, hanging out with our hosts, and learning about hash culture.
Then we left for Tosh. A snow storm was coming in as we changed valleys and when we woke up in the morning the area was coated in white. We spent the two days by the fire, reading books, drinking tea, and enjoying the view. We laughed at our selves because we slept in dog hair blankets without heat on vacation.
Now we made our way to Gargi, the sun view valley. The sun shines most of the day here, breaking the mountains horizon at 8 and dropping around 4. We hiked 3000 feet with our 35 lb bags to our hostel. The experience and hard work are rewarded.
Now our trip is coming to an end in the mountains. We are relaxing by the river in Kasol and reflecting on the last two weeks! I’m thankful for Akhil and his family, the state of India, the friends we made on our trip, and God for guiding us.