India
Kāngra

Here you’ll find travel reports about Kāngra. Discover travel destinations in India of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

20 travelers at this place:

  • Day270

    Vipassana Meditation

    May 26 in India

    A 10 day Vipassana meditation course is an individual experience for everyone, thus this post is written from Silke’s perspective. Hauke didn’t finish the course anyway because of too much pain from sitting cross-legged, meditation wasn’t possible anymore, so he quit on day 8.

    I had never done something similar before and these ten days were not holiday at all.
    No other activities were allowed, no talking, no phones, no reading, no writing, no music, no exercising, nothing. It was not allowed to walk out of the course boundaries. Men and women are separated during the whole time of the course (the longest time for us since we left for this trip, and the longest time we spent in one place). Basically everything that brings joy was prohibited. Sounds almost like being in jail, right? But as the Vipassana center of Dharamkot is located in the middle of a pine forest it feels not. It’s an absolutely calm and peaceful place, completely fenced off from busy McLeod Ganj, perfect to calm down your mind and learn a meditation technique.

    And what made it even more perfect were the great volunteers and assistant teachers. There was nothing I had to take care of. They prepared the meals, organized a laundry service and made sure that we students could solely focus on the meditation.

    Most of the meditation were group sittings in a large hall and a part of it in our rooms and the ten hours of daily meditation were quite challenging, both physically and mentally.

    Try to sit cross-legged just for one hour with a straight back without moving or stretching any parts of your body and you know what I mean. When I looked at the strong Indian women around me who were sitting there like little Buddhas, like rocks, it felt like ‘this is not fair’, but they’re used to it and us westerners are not. This is the physical aspect.

    Mentally it was demanding too, of course, as learning a meditation technique is hard mental work. Especially during the first days it was really hard for me to calm down all my thoughts. Quite often I found myself in a situation where my mind just kept on wandering away, sometimes for minutes before I realized it. Then I had to remember myself to focus on the meditation again.

    During the first three days, the meditation was all about focussing on the breath, a simple observation of the air flow in the area around the nostrils, nothings else. But it can be so difficult! And so frustrating, if you realize that you can not even control your mind for a minute to do this simple job!

    At the end of the third day, we were taught the actual Vipassana meditation technique, which is about an objective observation of sensations throughout the whole body, simply put. If you can not even focus on your breath, how can you do that, for an hour or longer!? “Work continuously, diligently, persistently, objectively!”, to repeat S.N. Goenka ‘refrain’, or “work hard!”.

    I went through many ups and downs during this course, some sittings felt quite successful, some frustrating and I did not know how I was going to make it to the end of the course. But it is very important, and this is a crucial aspect of this technique, to see the things as they are, without craving, without aversion. It is what it is, some session are good, some are not, it doesn’t matter.

    However, somehow I did get through it, which made me realize that I’m much stronger than I think I am. After the long time in silence it was finally a relief to talk again, to get to know the people I’d been sitting in the hall and sleeping in the same room with for 10 days, to share our experiences. Thus, a long night was followed by an even more intense chatting during last meal the next morning :)

    What I learned as well is that happiness comes from within. I thought I already knew this, but I came to truly and deeply experience this at the course. I realised that despite what was going on at anytime, I could choose to be happy if I wanted to.

    Be happy,
    with much Metta,
    Silke
    Read more

  • Day14

    Dharamshla 2

    October 10, 2017 in India

    Early morning to McLeodganj where the Dalai Lama's residence, the Namgyal Monastery is located together with the Norulinka Institute. Our group had a personal audience with him and photos in small groups. As always he was very insightful, engaging and funny. This is now the headquarters of the exiled Tibetan Government.Read more

  • Day272

    We didn’t get the chance to see the Dalai Lama in person (which became quite difficult since his popularity has reached incredible dimensions), but he's omnipresent in McLeod Ganj anyway. Photos of him and his sayings, his texts, his books are everywhere, in any shape or size, in his temple, in the countless restaurants, cafés, shops, guesthouses and hotels.

    Most of the people living here are Tibetan refugees who worship their spiritual leader. They benefit from the booming tourism, enjoy the peace and freedom of this place, always smiling. But when they tell their moving stories about their escape from Tibet, we can feel that they miss their country, their home.

    While Silke was finishing her Vipassana, Hauke helped out at a local environmental project, supporting Tibetan women in a paper recycling factory, all handicraft, and definitely a great experience with the cheerful women.

    Otherwise, we recharged our cycling batteries with delicious food, even some Italian, and prepared ourselves for the upcoming weeks. After all, we still had grand plans for the last weeks of our journey...
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  • Day15

    Dharamshala 3

    October 11, 2017 in India

    Our latest departure so far, 8.45am, so a sleep in, yoga outdoors and a leisurely breakfast. Morning at Kangra Fort, largest in the Himalayas. Built 1500 BC. The fort's origins can be traced to the ancient Trigarta kingdom mentioned in the Mahabharata. Major damage in earthquake of 1905.

  • Day257

    Leaving the heat below

    May 13 in India

    Cycling on nice side roads with little traffic through the countryside was beautiful - from time to time we could even see snow-covered mountains in the distance. That’s where we wanted to go to escape the heat, it was our strong motivation, at this time temperatures had already reached 45 degrees in Delhi. In the end, we were a bit surprised how fast we had climbed up to Dharamsala, respectively McLeod Ganj. Was it really our fitness level or just the heat lighting a fire under us?

    And people are somehow different since we are in Himachal, more friendly, more relaxed, more up for good conversations, not just staring at us like they did in the plains. Thus, we really enjoyed our first time camping in India, with visitors of course, but they were nice, curious and wanted to ride our bikes.

    Did we already mention that we can’t get enough of mangos, melons and bananas? Not a single day passes without buying a kilo of mangos, till our panniers burst, yummy :)
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  • Day309

    Back up high

    May 24 in India

    Die Berge & dann noch die majestätischen Himalayas sind ganz besonders für mich. Jetzt, wo ich in Dharamkot bereits auf 2000m Höhe bin und die Sonne vom Himmel strahlt, muss ich der Einladung wieder hoch hinaus zu wandern auch folgen.

    Gemeinsam mit Monica aus NYC bin ich zur Snowline (3.200m) aufgebrochen.

    Es war atemberaubend schön! Frische Luft, Stille und DIESER AUSBLICK! 💕

    Um 5 Uhr morgens klettern wir aus unserem kuscheligen Zelt und werden mit einem wunderschönen Sonnenaufgang belohnt. 2 Tage rustikal, bewegungsreich & dicht am Himmel.

    Frisch geduscht blicke ich zurück & lege für heute die Füße hoch ;)
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  • Day311

    Ich konnte mir nicht vorstellen einen Ort noch mehr zu mögen als Rishikesh, aber das Hippiedorf Dharamkot, mitten in den Himalayas, bietet mir nicht nur wegen seiner Lage und den autofreien Wegen mehr.

    Genau wie in Rishikesh gibt es hier viel Spiritualität und offene Herzmenschen. Darüber hinaus quillt der ganze Ort aber auch über von Kursen & Workshops. Und ist grad kein passender dabei, so kommt man bei einem Kaffee sicherlich mit jemandem ins Gespräch, der einem das ein oder andere beibringen kann.

    So lernte ich ein wenig Poi, Djembe Drum, Kundalini Yoga und Osho Meditation. Leider muss ich weiter ziehen, aber ich komme ganz sicher zurück!
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  • Day116

    Tushita, Dharamshala [10 Day Retreat]

    September 30, 2015 in India

    Among the things I have been doing that I never really expected I would do, a 10-day silent meditation retreat is the headliner. Tushita is a world-reknown centre of Buddhist education and has housed some of the most prominent of Buddhist philosophers and laypeople alike. I could ramble on about the logical foundation of the Buddhist's view of the human mind, but I'll spare you all. Never close your mind to learning a new philosophy, it may just be the one that works for you!Read more

  • Day100

    One Hundred Days (from Dharamsala)

    September 14, 2015 in India

    One Hundred Days of being sick, of being well, of being scammed, of being compassionately and selflessly helped, of being lost, and of being not found but slightly less lost. The amorphous Indian culture, constantly displaying and withdrawing into itself, provides flashes of brilliance and instills unequivocal disillusionment in its beholder. For transient moments one catches a hint, a slight trace, of its essense, only later to be led astray by the darker aspects of an, at times, fractious cultural heterogeneity. The Brahman, the Buddhist, the Catholic, and the Moslem meet at the confluence of the Ganges and the unidentifiable Indian spirit that defies geopolitical definition. Then, what is the Indian identity? Perhaps it is that constant and everpresent struggle to be both spiritually and economically virtuous against a myriad cultural backdrop that precludes unanimity of opinion and resists social reform. Or, perhaps the true Indian identity resides in that momentary state of intrigue and unity that precedes the inevitable confusion of values. The future of the nation surely involves religious revivals and secular struggles, but one thing is certain: its human form will continue to be fluid, unparalleled, constantly changing yet anchored in tradition, and purely, undeniably Indian -- whatever that presently signifies.Read more

  • Day117

    McLeod Ganj, India

    October 1, 2015 in India

    The highlight of my final night in McLeod was undoubtedly the public debate-training of junior monks at the Dalai Lama Temple. The ferocity with which they approach both religious and secular ethics and the tenacity of their mannerisms underscores the importance that logic and reason play in shaping Buddhist philosophy. It's methodology of attaining mental stability cannot be explained as anything but scientific and it continues to permeate western cognitive therapy. It's incredible to me that some of the most oppressed people in the world, the Tibetans, can fervently stay even-minded in the face of their conditions. Their belief system advocates understanding over condemnation, patience over jumping to unfounded conclusions, and compassion over division. I hope someday that history and philosophy classes will no longer focus merely on the musings of Plato and Descartes, but evolve to be a true history of the world and present the logical validity of its other hemisphere... The shrinking of judeo-christian faiths and the growth of the self-help-and-compassion-oriented Mahayana Buddhism is no surprise, and although I doubt I will ever formally declare myself a Buddhist, the value it holds will only strengthen with scientific and neuropsychological progress.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Kāngra, Kangra

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