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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Agra, Simla and Manali: a holiday within a holiday.

It is just about a year ago from now that I was posting a similar musing. Then it concerned our wonderful holiday in Sweden and the Arctic Circle courtesy of Elaine, it was the holiday of a lifetime as far as we were concerned but again her fantastic generosity has given us a wonderful experience. We have seen things and met people that we would never have expected. We have been taken out of our comfort zone and planted in a culture that is a complete opposite to what we are personally but we loved it.

Sadly I was not able to make contact with the evangelical church that meets locally in Andheri West , the district of Mumbai where Elaine lives. We were therefore devoid of Christian fellowship but e-mail and internet provided much needed distant fellowship. I also took with me 250 books and read 11 of them, Kindle is the most amazing technology. As far as I am concerned it trumps tablets and the rest. A simple devise that is every book that I could ever need with 10 different versions of the bible available. Absolutely wonderful!




With this in place that gave us the opportunity to enjoy being with Elaine and Nicklas and to enjoy the holiday provided.

Last year the highlight of the time was to go to the Arctic circle and this year it was a plane ride to Delhi and from there to ride to Agra to see the Taj Mahal for which I have already waxed lyrical. A drive back to Delhi and the next day up to Simla. 


The Himalaya, what an amazing sight awaits us.



A very British town in the Himalayan foothills.


Very friendly traders wanting to sell their wares.
They were happy for me to photograph them! 


Not so friendly inhabitants.
They were not so happy at being photographed!!



Yaks that were photogenic but cruelly treated by their human owners.
Poor things.

Two nights in a lovely hotel in this town built by the British for them to set up Parliament for the hot Summer months. poor Brits could rule India but from a distance when it gets hot. Simla is the place where the Brits decided to give India it's much sought after independence and organised partition which meant that Muslims had to go to the newly formed Pakistan (East and west being opposite sides of India!!!) Hindus had to migrate to India with much acrimony and fighting. It is easy to blame Britain but there was also a power struggle for leadership between Muslim and Hindu leaders. The result was more than a million died after the withdrawal of Britain. Maybe the subject of a post sometime.

We were staying in a town that brought about the birth of 2 maybe 3 new nations (if you count East Pakistan which eventually became Bangla Desh.) It would be good to wind back the clock and maybe do things differently but that is impossible and along with most Indians it would be better to live in the light of fate that brings us up to this point. 

Interestingly I did not come across anybody who is negative to Britain ( I am sure there are many)!  We were accepted everywhere as honoured guests. 


The road to Manali was rough and steep and possibly the best road that I have ever experienced. our driver and now good friend Govind had never driven on such roads and so we had an experience together. He was fantastic especially when it came to snow which he had neither seen or handled before.




Before we entered into the snowy heights Gov assured me that he had warm clothing fit for the altitude: what you see is what he had. The poor boy almost froze before we discovered the truth. Thermals and hats and gloves later and a happier driver!


A fresh snowfall welcomed us and a wonderful 2 nights were thoroughly enjoyed.


A Tuc Tuc stopped by snow.



The view from our window.


It was impossible to remove the smile from our faces.
We really were on top of the world (ALMOST!)


Selling his wares.
He would have fitted well onto a Beatles album cover.


Samosas ready for baking.


Thanks both.


Idols; the problem with India.


A wonderful restaurant.
I could not resist the photo, music from my day.
LOVELY.


Even better fresh trout from the river Beas.



What more can I say?

The long, dangerous and wonderful road back to Delhi with a stop over at Chandigarh and our adventure comes to an end.


Landslide.


Get around it somehow.


Road repairs.
Where are the miles of cones and traffic lights?


I couldn't resist.


Beautiful.
But taken from a pile of household refuse.



Carrying your god to the place of worship.
My God meets me at the place of worship!


Kings of the road.
There are apparently approximately 2 million of these beasts on these roads.
I think that we probably saw all of them.

10 hours to cover 200 kilometers and bed in Chandigarh. Tomorrow was Delhi and back to Mumbai for a more sedate week.

My thoughts? 

We have seen many wonderful things and met wonderful people. This land needs the gospel that will bring true peace into hearts but it does not need our ways and culture. If this family based culture found the One True God it would be a truly amazing land absolutely full of wonderful people.



 Zoom in on the poster, this is what is needed in India and Britain alike.

P.s I thought that you might like to see me with an interesting man that I met at the airport in Mumbai.


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