My friend and I had already decided to spend as little time in Delhi when landing as possible. We had heard that the chaos of the city can be more than overwhelming and decided we'd appreciate India more if we could acclimate slowly. With that in mind, we spent only a few hours in Delhi and still managed to get the Delhi shake down and completely ripped off. All of this before taking a grueling bus ride up north that put any of my previous complaints to shame. No A.C., broken fans attached to seat backs, and chairs that stayed in a 90 degree angle for 18 hours.
Stepping off of the bus in Dharamsala and the neighboring towns of McLeod Ganj and Baghsu was like stepping into a traveler's paradise. We arrived in the early morning hours and the dew still clung to every surface. I stopped sweating for the first time in months, and I relished the feeling of the mountain air.
McLeod Ganj is most famous for it's resident, the Dalai Lama. We were fortunate enough to hear him speak- translated in English through crackling handheld radios. The town has become a haven for Tibetan refugees who trek on foot but night through the Himalayan mountains fleeing the violence and persecution in their own country.
Situated so closely to the Himalaya's, it's no surprise that the region beckons many hikers. We took the opportunity to take an easy hike along Triund trail that left us breathless at an altitude of 9,760 ft.
It was also in Dharamsala that I gradually became accustomed to the overwhelming presence of cows.