After my visit to Shillong and area, my mission in India was to check out leads on good yoga training. With some trepidation, mainly due to my overdose of South India last year, I made my way towards McLeod Ganj (AKA Upper Dharamshala) in the far NW of India. I was prepared to leave India promptly if I wasn’t digging McLeod in a day or two. Thankfully this place literally and figuratively is a breath of fresh air, nestled at the foot of the majestic Himalayas. It is the home of the Dalai Lama as well as many, many more displaced Tibetans. The Tibetans are easy going and full of smiles. Though I’m sure they would much rather be in an independent Tibet, I am happy they have this beautiful place to call home.
McLeod ticked many of boxes on my “places to study yoga” chart. The food is good with plenty of hardy, delicious Tibetan food as well as good Western and Indian. The weather was just about perfect up to about 20 during the day at a time when it was up to 40 degrees in South India. There are plenty of good quality accommodations at affordable prices. Last but not least there are plenty of yoga schools/teachers. The main man I wanted to check out was Vijay at Universal Yoga and he did not disappoint. His classes are challenging yet the 2+ hours seems to fly by, mainly because he is a funny and warm-hearted teacher. I can see myself returning here for a longer stretch of yoga in the future.
After three weeks in McLeod, it was time to leave as I had booked a special yoga course in Singapore. It seemed a little odd leaving India for yoga training in Singapore but this was my path. After a long overnight bus/train journey I arrived in Delhi, where my flight for S’pore was leaving from the next night. I took a poor broken down rickshaw from the train station to the guesthouse area. The rickshaw driver tried cheating me, the 30 rupees price he gave at the start transforming to 80 at the destination. I suggested we call the police to settle it and he took his 30 and slunk off grumbling. Too bad for him, if he wouldn’t have pulled that stunt I was gladly going to tip him. The guesthouse was quite a trip. I was really tired from the trip and though the room looked nasty I didn’t have the energy to hunt around for a better one. Five minutes after getting into the room, there was a knock on my door and I assumed the staff were returning my passport. I opened the door and was greeted by a guy with a gas mask and garden sprayer asking if I wanted the room sprayed for bedbugs and cockroaches. This is not a good sign. I declined but did proceed to basically bathe myself and my stuff in neem oil and made it through one day there relatively unscathed. I guess you can’t expect the Four Seasons for 400 rupees (about $9). I had an alright time my day and half in Delhi but was happy to be leaving for chic and ultra-modern Singapore, definitely blog-worthy!