Friday, 17 October 2008


Himachal Pradesh - Kangra´s Bazaar
I spent the first day of the millennium on the road breathing the dust and fighting my usual enemies, and I thought, this was a good start. I went to Palumpur, some 30 or 40 km to the East of Dharamshala. It´s mainly a main merchant street, rather interesting with some charming small shops, but I didn’t stay too long, I had my lunch in an Indian cheap stall and I left after a good walk.

I saw some musical instruments shops, mostly of percussions. A man made the sign of the cross on his forehead when he passed by me.

I decided to take a bus to the city of Kangra that gives its name to the valley where it is found, and that I find much more interesting than Palumpur. The arrival was at the end of the day so I chose to stay overnight, I walked in the direction of the temple which I could figure from a distance of a few hundred meters, and I discovered an ancient bazaar crowded with all kind of people, with narrow streets coming out straight of some Eastern Asian tale.

The next morning, the climbing alleys to the temple were awakening by the work of the shop sellers, placing Shivas, and cobras and tridents and effigies made of golden metal on their coloured clothed stands.

It was like everything that one can imagine when he’s told of some far-off magical places by lying or exaggerating showing-off travellers. So one of the Gods said that was good and He showed it to me before my eyes. Oh Lord, what a sweet and nice illusion You had created.

Himachal Pradesh - Jawalamuki – The eternal flame
As I reached the temple of Jawalamuki on the hills through the streets of God’s images vendors, I took off my shoes in a small shop at the feet of the large building and stepped inside. I walked through the high, decorated main gate, naked foot on the cold ground, and I felt a good feeling about it, a free warm feeling which stood with me as I walked the several sections of the place.

In a corridor, Kali the Black goddess, was facing Ganesh, the elephant headed god, and in the patio young Brahmin boys, dressed in yellow habits, were having a animated discussion, while the drummer was beating his drums, among the prayers and offerings of the pilgrims.

My visit was interrupted by a man who asked me what I was trying to photograph. A rather stupid question as anyone can picture, made by a fool, unable to look at God’s beauty, so blinded he was by the stupidity of his inconsistent arguments. I left the temple deeply annoyed by the incident.

Outside the gate, on a wall, a monkey was staring at me, with a dummy expression.

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