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Himalaya

Day 35: Shimla to Dharamsala

Michael Palin - HimalayaThe country road is undulating and undramatic, rising and falling as we cross the valleys of modest rivers running down from the mountains into the Punjab. Reminders of worship are never far away, from brightly painted roadside shrines daubed in mauve, bright pink or orange, to busloads of pilgrims in yellow robes with red and gold sashes. They're causing traffic jams as they converge on the temple at a place called Jawalamukhi. The attraction here is that natural gas issues from the cliff in the form of an 'eternal' blue flame and feeds a constantly boiling pool of water. This is considered magical proof of the power of the local gods.

By evening we've reached our hotel, once a tea-planter's bungalow, with fine views over the green Kangra valley below and the Dhauladar mountains above, on whose wooded slopes Dharamsala and its sister McLeodganj are set like Tuscan hill villages.

No monkeys to besiege us down here but caged dogs bark all night long.

Read The Art of Happiness and try to avoid feeling murderous.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 35: Shimla to Dharamsala
  • Country/sea: India
  • Place: Dharamsala
  • Book page no: 78

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