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.