A Quiet day in Kalimpong, India

I am trying to be more tolerant and able to accept the here and now. I did not even get upset this morning that there was a flea in my bed, and more of them near the toilet. I told the management about it and asked that they fumigate, now and not later, which they did. So, I am hopeful there are no fleas tonight. We’ll see. Otherwise, the room is nice. The hot water is excellent, and you can’t beat the view.

I looked around for an internet café, but no luck. Everything in town is pretty much shut unless it’s a twice-weekly market day (fortunately there’s a market tomorrow). The local specialties in town are handmade paper and toffees, and I will also be looking for yarn. Considering how many boarding schools are here, I suppose I should not be surprised about the toffees.

Last night I had vegetarian pokaras for dinner, and wow, were those good. I plan to have some more tonight. Today’s breakfast was very good, scrambled eggs made with copious amounts of butter, toast and unpeeled bananas, all finished off with a pot of local (Darjeeling) tea.

I went out into “Ghurkaland”, as this place calls itself, and saw two monasteries and an orchid nursery today. First I went to the high monastery of Zang Dog Palri Phodrang, a Ringkinpong monastery with a school of Tibetan medicine. It is the highest point in town. There is a dormitory for the monks and a soccer pitch out back. You can see the prayer wheels, looking like large cans, in the photos. These are sacred objects and are supposed to be turned clockwise. Some of the prayer wheels are larger than barrels. There are also prayer flags, on long bamboo poles, and white temples painted with dragons. Some of the monks were very young, maybe seven or eight years old, but they take their job of opening the temples seriously.

After that, I visited more monks at the Thongsa Gompa Bhutanese monastery (built in 1692 but renovated recently). I photographed the exterior and then removed my shoes and was invited in. The monk at the door put some mustard seeds into brazier on my arrival and poured a tiny amount of holy water in my hands for me to drink. I made the motion of it, but I must admit, I am scared to drink even holy water here in India. I went inside to see about 30 monks lining the walls with all kinds of musical instruments and a couple of speakers sounding a low chanting. The monks were saying prayers, and at intervals, they’d play standing drums, a horn sounding something like an Anatolian flute, conch shells and bells. They invited me to sit down. It was a good place to meditate and just be for about an hour.

Unfortunately, nothing was in bloom at the orchid farm, but I nearly walked into a black and yellow spider. Does that count as seeing local color? Got back to the hotel in time for more of those good snacks instead.

This entry was posted in Far Far Away, India, Round the World Journey. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Quiet day in Kalimpong, India

  1. dannielle says:

    i can’t believe the adventure you are on! You are much braver than I, but I’m enjoying reading about your travels.

    I had no idea people at bananas with the skin… well, except Demi, she loves the skin…

    good luck, best wishes, god bless… big hugs!

    • Heh – I should have said that I peeled the bananas myself. There is an adage for travelers that goes something like if you can’t boil it, cook it, or peel it, forget it. Mother nature had sealed out most of the germs via the peel.

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