Samdarshi Ashram near Manali
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I said goodbye to Old Manali, my few friends were the Rajasthanis and the others I got to know had allready left ahead of me, being in good health.
The rickshaw rolled down through New Manali, the Indian Honey-mooners destination, over the bridge at the river below and along the other bank. We past little shops and farm houses all along on the winding road that follows the river. The driver asked locals if they heard about tha Ashram he knew nothing of. Eventually we came to a stop infront of just another house on the road.
Inside I met an American women, the Ashram manager, maybe a flower generation hippie in her youth. She told me the activities are based on Osho's way and the founder of this Ashram, a desciple of his was off to Russia where Osho apparently gained popularity and so he leads some workshops there.
I got a room for steep (for me...) Rs. 350 a day but that included any activity I would like to join, as well as access to the free kitchen and pantry (cook-it-yourself style).
Being so happy to have a western equiped kitchen, I got to cook for all the residents, just in the passion to be creative and nurturing oters. Just have a litle 'restaurant'. In the days to come, in between the Kundalini mediation and the silent ones, My new German Friend, Freimut the makiata-morning-coffee-wala and myself crafted a different meal everyday: Israeli, Italian... I can't even remember what other projects we took.
I found out that the other residents besides myself were all gathered here from different places around the world as a meeting ground for a motorcycle journey across those Himalayan snowie peaks we could see hovering above us in the horizons. The two orginizors were Deepesh, a Brazilian and Ash, Americn and the riders were German, American, Australian... about 4 men and 2 women, to the best of my memory.
In the time we spent there, in front of a green valley that streched into the horizon, in crips sunny sky of June we got to know each other and I wondered if I could join their trip. I didn't have a motorcycle and far less had guts to manouver a heavy-weight Royal Enfield through winding mountain trails hanging over hundred feet drops. I also didn't have the type of cash others could afford for a short vacation aboard.
Eventually, I got an answer: it would be Rs. 1,500 for me to ride in the back with one of the organizers.
A few rides in the neighborhood on the back with Freimut and the D-date had arrived.
We got our equipment on board, mine was an 80 liter bulcky backpack, and off we went.
More about it on My India: Where every village is home
Samdarshi Ashram - Kakhnal - Israeli cooking -Royal Enfield motorcycle journey to Spiti valley through Rothang pass - near Manali Himachal Pradesh India - Feature story photo
In the story Himalayan desert oasis, a motorcycle journey.
Also by Etan Doronne
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