Saturday, May 18, 2013

Dharmkot – A Nice Retreat In The Midst Of Nature

himachal-women-gaddi
Women in hills are beautiful. They work hard all day without much ado. The tiredness is not reflected on their faces but hardworking lifestyle permeates their whole being. Small dark eyes, wearing salwar and scarf on their heads, they are indeed poor. Not essentially in terms of money but they are poor because their world is small. The village, field, small business, cows, horses and even roadside dogs are their nearest expression of freedom.

Somebody asked me last day where else I wanted to travel other than India. I said it would take a whole lifetime to understand India alone, probably the mountains only. Yes, I want to travel to different parts of the world but India really startles me, it brings tears because sometimes those experiences are immensely painful; sometimes intensely calm that too scares me.

I’m here in Dharamkot, a small but happening village of Gaddi tribes. It’s happening because of too many foreign tourists, especially Israelis. The place is occupied by 90% of Israelis, and various other ethnic groups from different parts of the world. Well, I’m in a complete laid-back attitude and trying to purify my mind in midst of nature. Yes, it’s nature all around with dense woods, distant Dhauladhar Himalayan peaks, raining and of course villagers. I love mountain people in India; they understand tourists so well, they are honest and quite intelligent.

dharamkot-mcleodganj
Dharamkot village
Again I meet people; couple of them are such wonderful men. One is from Austria, Phillip who takes his Iyenger Yoga lesson and another one is from Britain who I call “tree man”. He finds his way of living through studying trees. He wandered around different parts of the world from about 10 years and disillusioned by “what I am doing” syndrome, and then at 30s he took some course in studying trees and eventually associated with some government organization to research on trees.  Wow!

We generally talk for hours on various subjects from music to yoga and sometimes politics as well. I enjoy these small meetings because there is no commitment in it, we are friends for a brief period and get parted soon, but still there is so much fun in it.

restaurant-dharamkot
The view of Dhauladhar from here (Radha Krishna restaurant)
There are two types of people come here: one who are here to do meditation and yoga. Most of them are fashionable yogis who just keep ticking their checklists. Others are fun-loving, party hookers, dope smokers who also draw pleasure from their way of living. Nobody is wasting time here because if one thinks he/she is wasting, I think that’s a very dangerous thought.

There is nothing much to do in Dharmkot but it is far better place than Mcleodganj if you want to stay in solitude. The price of food is tremendously high, electricity is okay, internet connection is fine and there are small walks you can do from here. It is a good place for contemplation and prayer and you can draw your inner joy from nature.

Raining on hills

From the hotel windows
Yoga is Dharmkot is quite popular concept and pretty much easy thing to do I guess. I was talking about Vipasana meditation with my friend Iain; well he is a funny guy and never thinks 8 hours of forceful meditation will ever work for him. It is a great to see after 10 days of “retreat” with 8 hours of meditation and cut off entirely from the outside world, people coming out and hugging each other. It is pretty much clear on their faces they are relieved. I personally don’t bother about those people; obviously it is their way of interpreting life. In the end it’s all good after all.

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