It’s five in the morning right now. I’m in Kalpa Himachal, a small village, nestled in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, sitting in the balcony of my hotel room and waiting eagerly for the sun to rise over the majestic Kinner Kailash range of the Himalayas. The sky is clear and blue, in fact I’ve never seen a bluer sky before. The peak of Mount Kailash is clearly visible for the first time in three days and only after witnessing this impressive sight, I understood why this small secluded village located far away from all the major cities and towns ( there are no nearby railway stations and airports and the only way to come here is by an ordinary or semi deluxe non AC bus from Delhi or Chandigarh to Reckong Peo or Peo as the locals call it and then by another bus or cab from Peo to here) attract tourists not only from India but also from countries on the other side of the globe like Argentina and Brazil. After engaging in some small talk and making acquaintances with the other travelers staying in this hotel, I grabbed a chair and sat down to wait for the sunrise and enjoy the views, landscapes and all the other pleasant things this place has to offer.
The only things giving me company right now apart from my new friends are the rustling of leaves, the melodious humming of birds ( something which is non existent in Delhi these days) and the chilly morning breeze. If I close my eyes for a moment, I can also hear the distant barking of dogs, the chitter-chatter of the village-folk as they get ready for the day and the sound of children playing cricket in the school playground far away.
Before embarking on this trip to the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, I was constantly second guessing my decision to come here and as a result, the trip was also getting postponed time after time. After thoroughly researching on the internet and talking to one of my friends who has recently been here, I was finally convinced to choose Kinnaur as my next travel destination. After a journey of around 22 hours ( almost a whole day) and most of it spent in a bus which would make your back and hips curse you and without any proper sleep and food, I ,at last, reached Kalpa Himachal the day before yesterday and the scenery and landscapes that welcomed me were so panoramic and breathtaking that they invigorated me instantly . At that moment, I understood the true meaning of something that my dad says all the time to inspire me whenever I’m feeling low and hopeless.
” To achieve quality things in life, the only tools that you need are Patience and Perseverance.”
I am not a religious person but I do believe in spirituality and enlightenment. I believe in rationalism and in the idea of love and acceptance rather than sin and judgement. And I think this is one of the major reasons for me getting attracted to a lot of ideas and teachings of Buddhism. And in Kalpa, it seems like I have found my perfect morning companion, a Buddhist monastery. Actually, the second biggest reason for me to choose “Cheeni Bungalow” as my place of stay here in Kalpa Himachal ( the first being the absolutely magnificent views of the Himalayas) is the Monastery being nearby and easily accessible from here. Anyway, coming back to the point, there is nothing more spiritual and beautiful than the morning prayer and the meditative chants and the prayer bells ringing in the monastery. And just by listening to the prayers and the songs being sung at the monastery, I, probably for the first time in more than 2 years, feel completely at ease with myself. At this moment, I feel like a beacon of hope and positivity.
Now, the time is 5:30 A.M.. The sky has suddenly become very cloudy and I don’t think that it’s possible for me to see the sunrise in this weather. See, I woke up at Five in the morning just to see the sunrise but now it is not possible because of the overcast conditions. I should have been disappointed but after experiencing so many beautiful and amazing things, soaking in all the sounds and fragrances and breathing in the fresh mountain air, I am still as cheerful and happy as I was just a few minutes ago and I think that everything up until this moment has been completely worth it.
Kalpa, I thank you and my luck for giving me the opportunity to experience such a blissful morning. A morning that will always be etched in my heart and a morning that will always make me want to come back to your peaceful and humble abode, lose myself in the laps of nature, have a therapeutic and other worldly experience, purify my mind and soul from the morning prayers and songs of the monastery and find peace and contentment against the backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas.