When I was the Only Tourist at the Chokling Monastery Prayer at Bir, Himachal Pradesh

In December I was traveling solo to Palampur in Himachal Pradesh. I had a great time. I would usually take the local bus to a nearby place and then take it back towards the evening. In the evening I would have a gajar ka halwa, chai and sometimes dhokla before heading to my hotel for evening food. On one such trip I found myself at Bir, which is 30 kilometers from Palampur.

The local buses run at their own pace. They cover 15 kilometers in an hour and half when going through populated areas. They would stop every two minutes to pick up a passenger or two or drop someone! But I was in no hurry to go anywhere.

Chokling Monastery, Bir, Himachal Pradesh

Chokling Monastery, Bir, Himachal Pradesh, India

The monastery complex at Bir stands out. As I walked around it I found a few lamas arriving on their sports bikes. I went inside and realized that the prayer service was about to start. I asked one of the old lamas if I could also sit through? He nodded yes.

They gave me a thick mattress to sit on and I was the only tourist at this service. I felt very privileged. It was raining by now as well so I was happy to be inside on the cold day. I have been to other Buddhist prayer services but I never sat through an hour. Their chanting and use of drums and other instruments is beautiful. But after one hour I could not sit still! There were a few others walking around so I also got up and went out.

In the end I realized that even though it was a very beautiful experience nothing does it for me like being out there in nature. And talking of nature it reminds me of a tweet I saw- Nature is not a place to visit, it is home!

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