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You Judge Me. I Judge You. And Then What?

n_a_Roman_Osteria three people sitting at a table looking behind in an italian restaurant as if judging people small.

People Judge Others. We Are Always Judging Someone or the Other. But Do We Need To?

Six months ago, I had just come to Auroville. It is an experimental community on the east coast of India near Pondicherry. A collaborator Mirra Alfassa of the philosopher Sri Aurobindo, referred to by him as Mother, had a vision for a place on earth where men from all countries will live in harmony as equals. Set up by the followers of Mother, Auroville is supposed to be the manifestation of that vision. 

If the people of Auroville, Aurovillians, live in peace and treat each other equally is a report for another rainy day. For now think of the place, once an arid sandy land, as a lush green forest dotted with houses, cafeterias, and community spaces nestled in their large green gardens. People from fifty-nine countries call Auroville home.

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6 Joyful Weeks in Dharamshala – Here’s What I Did (Updated 2022)

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What does this travel guide to Dharamshala contain?

  1. My Dharamshala trip at a glance
  2. About Dharamshala District, Himachal Pradesh.
  3. My best things to do in Dharamashala.
  4. What is the best time to visit Dharmshala?
  5. How to reach Dharamshala, India?
  6. How to reach Dharmshala from Delhi?
  7. Where to stay in Dharmsala?
  8. How much would a Dharamashala trip cost?
  9. What to bring to Dharamshala?
  10. Is Dharamsala safe for solo travelers?
  11. How to avoid the smoking culture of Dharamshala if you don’t want to be a part of it?
  12. How to go on a long trip to Dharamshala India?
  13. Around Dharmashala and further reading.

Update 2022: As of now (8th April), Himachal Pradesh (HP) doesn’t have any specific travel restrictions. Travelers don’t need to carry a negative RTPCR test but everyone is still supposed to wear a mask in public spaces. Read more regulations here on the HP government’s website.

Things to do and places to visit in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh

This is not your typical Dharamshala travel guide.

During my six weeks in Dharamshala, I hardly ever searched for “things to do in Dharmshala” or “best places to visit in Dharmashala.”

What was I doing? I was busy taking my Dharamshala trip slow.

This might sound clichéd, but I was learning the art of doing nothing.

Visiting Places in Dharamshala and Doing Things at My Pace

I started my journey in Dharamshala by attending a Vipassana course in Dharamkot, one of the many green villages of the Dharamshala district. After a much-needed ten-day silence of body and mind, I packed my bags and headed out of the deodar forests of the Dharamkot Vipassana center. My plan was to stay for a week in upper Dharamkot. 

But something made me leave Dharamkot in two days. Was it the smoky air of my Dharamkot hostel or the hippies lining the cafes in Dharamkot market, I am not sure. I went to live on the other side of Dharamkot to Upper BhagsuNaag, another lush village in Dharmshala.

I had gone to Bhagsu for a week, and I didn’t know I would end up spending more than a month there. 

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My Adventures in the Village of BhagsuNag, Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh)

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Update 2022: As of now (March-end), Himachal Pradesh (HP) doesn’t have any specific travel restrictions. Travelers don’t need to carry a negative RTPCR test but everyone is still supposed to wear a mask in public spaces. Read more regulations here on the HP government’s website.

What do you like to do in Himachal Pradesh? I always imagine living in the little villages in the Himalayas. This story is about my life in a Himalayan village BhagsuNag in Dharamshala.

I’m living a dream life in BhagsuNaag, a small village in the Kangra valley of Himachal Pradesh. Bhagsu Nag is above Dharamkot village, which is above Mcleodganj. This town is known for the Dalai Lama’s main temple. Both the villages and Mcleodganj fall in the district of Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh.

When I came to Himachal a month and a half ago, I didn’t know I would stay put up in a village for a month. I arrived in Dharamshala from Amritsar on a rickety HRCTC bus. Straightaway, I went to the Vipassana center in Dharamkot (I still have to write about Vipassana as many of you are waiting to read.).

At the end of the ten-day Vipassana, I walked out of the deodar-dense Vipassana center into the Dharamkot village. I didn’t connect with Dharamkot. Its streets are fringed with homes, stone and Macremia jewelry stores, classrooms of various kinds, hemp stores, harem pants shops, restaurants and hotels, fancy cafes, and a popular Yak cheese sandwich kiosk.

Groups of international tourists sat at the street cafes facing the walkers and sipped cappuccinos or masala chai. Their stone-ring adorned fingers frantically rolled cigarettes or held joints. Whether I scooched through those tiny streets during the morning or the sunny afternoon, I found the cafes and the paths crowded with smokers, shoppers, and crystal admirers. The place lacked the positive energy I needed.

Following my instincts, I crossed to the other side of the valley and arrived in BhagsuNag. At an initial glance, I found the upper part of Bhagsu village calmer, spacious, and closer to local life. I wanted to live, learn, and explore the Himalayas cradling this village. Lower Bhagsu is more crowded due to its popularity amongst Indians for the BhagsuNag temple and a waterfall. So I mostly stay in the upper part.

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27 Writing Tips for Beginner Writers [All You Need]

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Three years ago when I quit my investment banking job to write, I was a beginner writer. (I am still a new writer.)

First, I decided to travel to Chile and teach English there. People say a new environment and immersive travel experiences inspire one to write.

The high-altitude Andean landscapes took my oxygen away. Chileans stared at me until I was gone from their view. My host mother fed me pyramids of bread and cheese. Spanish dumbfounded me. But during the chaos, I managed to write most days.

In the past three years, I have written (almost) daily, published regularly on my blog, earned by writing for clients, published poems in a book, contributed to many Medium and other big and small publications, published stories in magazines, and become a top writer on Quora and a top Travel Writer on Medium. [Update 2022: Four+ years on, I’ve more achievements to list. But the fact that I write daily remains the same.]

Has writing been easy?

Are you joking?

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