It’s 5 o’clock in the morning. I wake up to the freezing cold, but when I look outside my window, I am greeted by big, beautiful mountains capped in frosty, snow-covered peaks.
The Himalayas make up a mountain range in the northern part of India, China and Nepal. This range is home to some of Earth’s highest peaks, more than 100 mountains rising above 23,000 feet—including Mount Everest, the highest in the world at 29,032 feet.
It is said that every mountain in Himalaya has its own special story.
For example, there is a place called McLeod Ganj, home to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. It is best known for its monasteries, museums, temples, and Tibetan settlements. There is a small café there, run by Tibetan locals serving up the most delicious cuisine. They make me feel at home the minute I sit down.
Many people travel to this mountain town for meditation retreats, staying for months, and leaving as the best version of themselves. The peace found here—the fresh air—is not something easily captured in a city; only here, nestled among the foothills of the Himalayas.
One of the most special places in this region is Chamunda Temple.
Situated on the banks of the Baner River, it is believed to be 750 years old and is dedicated to the Goddess Kali—or black goddess of death.
Despite this grim attribution, I find myself surrounded by beautiful dense pine and deodar trees. I make my way to a small lake nearby. The water is so transparent I can see every rock and plant, sitting quietly beneath the surface.
It’s so clean that the swimmer inside me cannot stop. Diving in, I am quickly reminded of where the water flows from—the Himalaya mountains where snow melts into fast-moving streams of water, forming the crystal-clear lakes down below. I shiver from the icy temperatures, even after drying off.
It is our last day…
and I am sad to see my grand adventure coming to an end. Reaching Anandpur Sahib I hear chanting. This is a holy place for followers of Sikhism, a religion grounded in a life of truth and purity.
Like therapy, a feeling of calm washes over me. I sit for some time in this “City of Bliss” letting the small stresses of the day just fade away.
The Himalayas are like God’s own creation of heaven on earth. As I recall the many special places I have seen on my journey, I am grateful.
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