McLeod Ganj

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

23 travelers at this place:

  • Day270

    Vipassana Meditation

    May 26, 2018 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,
    Read more

  • Day272

    Where the Dalai Lama lives

    May 28, 2018 in India

    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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  • Day311

    Herzmenschen und ne Kuh

    May 26, 2018 in India ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    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 ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    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 ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    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 ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    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

  • Day98

    McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh

    September 12, 2015 in India ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Just saw HH the Dalai Lama. He waved at me (and the rest of the small crowd at the Temple outside his home). 🎋🎉🎊

    The complex in which he lives for most of the year includes a temple and many meditation platforms. It was oddly modern yet necessarily simple, with local Tibetans, Buddhist pilgrims, and world travellers alike enjoying its warmth of spirit. I did not take many photos because of the sanctity and spiritual value vested in the complex and His Holiness.Read more

  • Day5

    Dalai Lama Temple

    October 7 in India ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Here is where the Dalai Lama calls home since leaving Tibet after the Chinese takeover. Unfortunately, His Holiness was not around at the time I was there.
    The first two are in the main temple. Then some of the prayer wheels. 4th looks on the door where picture taking is not allowed inside. The yellow you can see in the center is the Dalai Lama's throne/ teaching seat. The last picture is of some of the young monks debating Buddhist teachings, history, writings, etc.Read more

  • Day30


    June 1, 2018 in India ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Von Rishikesh geht es mit dem Nachtbus nach Dharamshala, das Tibet von Indien, das zu Hause des Dalai Lama.

    Angeblich soll es ein direkter Bus ohne Klimaanlage sein, aber wie immer in Indien ist es dann doch etwas anders. Wir werden nach fast 1 Stunde warten an der Bushaltestelle (bei über 40 Grad) in einen Jeep gezwängt und über irgendwelche Dörfer/Seitenstraßen in die nächste Stadt gefahren. Angeblich war irgendeine Straße gesperrt und es gab zu viel Verkehr. Damit man mich zu schnell fahren kann, gibt es in Indien gefühlt alle 50 bis 100 Meter Speed Bumps, kleine Hügel/Rillen in der Straße, über die man möglichst langsam fahren sollte (sonst würds in Indien wahrscheinlich deutlich mir Unfälle geben). Alle paar Meter schüttelt es einen im Bus also ordentlich durch...viel schlafen kann ich also nicht 🙄

    Ich weiß nicht, ob es am Schlafmangel liegt oder sonst was, ich fühl mich auf jeden Fall zum ersten Mal auf meiner Reise etwas krank, so als hätte mich mal eben ein LKW überrollt, aber immerhin noch kein Delhi Belly. Nachdem mein Bett aber echt bequem ist, fällt es mir auch nicht ganz so schwer eine Tag mal nichts zu machen und einfach zu schlafen.

    Neben den etwas angenehmeren Temperaturen ist wohl der Hauptgrund nach Dharamshala zu fahren, ist wohl der Dalai Lama. Hier her sind die meisten Tibeter nach der Verbannung aus Tibet geflohen.
    Es ist der erste Ort an dem es nur so von Touristen wimmelt (zumindest für die Größe des Ortes). Einer sieht nach dem größeren Aussteiger aus als der andere 🙄
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  • Day6

    Tag 6: Dharamshala

    September 23, 2016 in India ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Natürlich fängt jede Reise in eine neue Stadt mit einer langen Busreise an. 9 Stunden in einem muckligen Bus ging es durch die Berge und gefühlt wurde jede Kurve mit 70 km/h genommen 😣🚍. Die anfängliche Übelkeit hat zum Glück dann nach 2 Stunden nachgelassen sodass wir ein bisschen dösen konnten. Richtig erholsam war das natürlich nicht😴 um 6:30 morgens haben wir dann unser Hotel erreicht indem wir direkt ins Bett gefallen sind. Unser nötiger schlaf wurde aber noch leicht verzögert da Helena und ich noch auf eklige Spinnenjagd gehen mussten 🕷 mit Deo bewaffnet haben wir das Monstrum betäubt und eingefangen. Aber mehr als 3 Stunden Schlaf haben wir dann nicht bekommen weil wir ein taffes Programm hatten. Frühstück und dann ging es zu einem Zufluchtsort des Dalai Lama. Ein schlichter eintöniger Ort an dem es nur von Tibetanischen geflüchtete Mönchen wimmelte. Da es in Tibet nicht sicher ist flüchten sie nach Indien und bauen dort ihr Zugluchtsorte auf. Da es im Buddismus um das loslösen von den eigenen Bedürfnissen geht leben die Mönche nur mit dem Nötigsten und es gibt nur einen kleinen Tenpel in der mitte.

    Nachdem Tempel sind wir zu einem Wasserfall weiter gelaufen. Jitender wollte es sich nicht nehmen lassen bis nach ganz oben zu klettern obwohl es amgefangen hat zu regnen. Das Klettern über nasse Steine war vielleicut nicht seien beste Idee. Zum Glück hatte ich die passende Ausrüstung für dieses Wetter dabei.

    Der Restliche Nachmittag durften wir aufm Markt in der Stadt verbringen. Ein Stand nach dem anderem für Schmuck oder anderen Schnick Schnack hat man direkt an einer Straße gefunden. Da es soo viel Auswahl gab konnte ich mich gar nicht entscheiden und hab nur ein paar Ohrringe gekauft. Haben nur 100 Rupies gekostet. Was umgerechnet nur etwas über 1.10 € waren. Mal wieder ein Schnapper 😋
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Mcleodganj, McLeod Ganj

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