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Location: Bir

It was an early day for us this morning because we had to wake up at 7:30 to eat breakfast and prepare for the three-hour taxi drive to Bir for our Sunday fun-day excursion. My breakfast consisted of this traditional Tibetan bread (play) slathered with my favorite spread: peanut butter. After that delicious meal, we were on our way to the first monastery of the day trip. The views from the taxi ride we outstanding; I felt as if I were watching a movie that had taken place on a tropical island. It was refreshing to relax and feel the cool breeze through the taxi window. We had soon reached our first destination where the mountains were green, the air was sticky, the smells were fresh, and I was ready to walk into the ginormous temple and admire every aspect of it.

The temple and the monastery itself has to be the biggest one I have ever seen. It was a monastic college called Dzongsar Shedra where more than 350 monks from throughout Tibet and the Himalayas come to study Buddhism in a 12-year course of study.   Inside the main assembly hall was a huge statue of the Buddha and the architecture of the building itself was so intricate and lovely; it was perfectly designed. The monk who showed us around was a graduate of the college and taught us some history of the building and of the Buddha himself, which was very enlightening, per se. After that we had a nice lunch at a quiet and small restaurant, we were able to use our phones so I made sure to take some good quality photos before they would be taken back. Following lunch, we went to a famous Buddhist teacher’s home, Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, and toured his temple. We also went to another very large monastery called Sherabling, but at this point, everyone in our group was exhausted and ready to hit the hay. So we got back on the road again for our journey back to Dharamsala; I was excited.

The drive back to Dharamsala was a lot warmer than I anticipated but it was all worth it in the end because for dinner we were treated to Domino’s Pizza; I had veggie which is my absolute favorite, it was delicious. Right when we got back home, I metaphorically flew into my room and put on my Pj’s and fell into my bed. I didn’t fall asleep right away because here I am writing this blog (haha) but it sure does feel good to be in the comforts of this hard but easily adaptable bed and this cozy blanket. While I relax and listen to the rainfall, my mind centers and washes away any thoughts of homesickness and replaces them with positivity and riveting hope/excitement for the days that come next. In the end, today was a new cultural experience that I will always remember and I am very excited to face tomorrow and everything that comes with it. Thank you once again, India for being so diverse and always keeping me on the edge of my toes!

 

Until next time

 

 – Cristi O.