Strange, surreal days at Rishikesh: the yoga capital of the world, close encounters with wild elephants and tigers, Swami Ji – the guru who eats three times a year

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Sunset over Ganga River

14 – 24.09

We stay one more night at the Gurdwara and then we relocate at the area where the ashrams and the temples are and where many pilgrims live. First we find a small ashram where they told us we can stay for free, but on the next day when we go there again, this time with our rucksacks, the superintendent says it is not possible. The foreigners here usually pay a room at the bigger, more commercial ashrams or are not let to sleep inside. We start to wonder what to do and think of sleeping under the trees as the Sadhu people do here when we see an old building that looks like an ashram. We go inside and ask whether we can stay. In the small room there are few Sadhu and a foreigner. Continue reading

The long truck ride in the mountains of Kashmir, the good nun and the transition from Tibetan Buddhism to Islam

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01.08

It is really hard for us, but we manage to walk for three whole hours and reach the Phugtal monastery. In total we have walked for 12 hours, but it is totally worth it. Right before the monastery there are wine red cliffs and the region is very beautiful. The monastery itself is built in the cliffs and the temple complex is in a giant cave. It belongs to the “Yellow hats” sect – Gelugpa and is really impressive. Dates back to 14-th century. Continue reading