Thursday, April 2, 2009
Palampur and Tashi Jong
Palampur is quite a bustling town with a large street bazaar. I arrived at about 5.30pm yesterday, having grabbed a bus from Dharamsala just after 3pm. The journey costs Rp30. I checked into the comfortable, if somewhat overpriced Hotel Surbhi (Rp700). Cheaper rooms were available, but offered no natural light; I need to photosynthesise! The room was only available for one night as a travel agent had booked out the hotel for the Tashi Jong celebrations. Opposite the hotel is the Golden Dragon restaurant which sells passable Indian and Chinese dishes for about Rp140 per dish. The chicken fried rice was probably the best and worth it at Rp70.
After a comfy night´s sleep I have moved to Hotel Highland Regency close to the bus station, which looks okay and is only Rp400 for a standard room.
After checking in to my new abode I took a rickshaw up to Tashi Jong for Rp150, although the driver would not head up into the monastery. In typical Tibetan architectural style the monastery and Institute building are at the heart of the village. Indeed there are guest houses on site, but I really can´t be bothered to relocate again.
Today´s rehearsal was in the square in front of the monastery. Performing without masks, the monks shuffled around and then breaking into Tai Chi-type movements to the accompaniment of chants, cymbals and large turquoise drums. My fears for screechy oboe-like instruments appear to be unfounded.
The restaurant just in front of the monastery serves average Tibetan fare like thukpa, chow mein and momos at reasonable prices.
Situated at just over 1000 metres the drop in altitude means it is noticeably warmer than Dharamsala, and by about 3pm I was too hot to sit around. A taxi brought me back to Palampur for Rp200.
My Work In Progress can be found by clicking on this link