India

     India is rich in customs, festivals, tradition, peoples, religions, music and dress. In its city streets there is enough to intrigue for a lifetime; in the folds of its mountains you witness the story of the very creation of earth. 

     The Himalaya is one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world. Its evolution can be traced to the Jurassic era (80 million years ago). The main Himalaya range divides the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan plateau.

     From the earliest records, the Himalaya has been revered as the abode of the gods. Since the time the Aryans migrated Northern India between 2500 and 1500 BC, the mountains have been held in awe. In about 1000 BC these people composed the Vedas, a set of hymns devoted to the Gods: Agni the God of Fire, Surya the God of the Sun, Vago the God of the Wind, and Indra the mighty God of the Sky. All resided in the Himalaya , an arena where immortal beings could determine the destiny of the world.

     The teachings of the Buddha spread, and had a wide appeal across northern India from the 5th century BC. Two centuries later, the Emperor Ashoka patronised the 3rd Buddhist congress in Kashmir , while the Emperor Kanishka also encouraged discussion of Buddhist fundamentals in the 1st century AD. During this time Buddhist teachings spread well beyond the Himalayan foothills, and as far as China .

     The spread of Buddhism did not undermine Hinduism. Other Gods came to the fore, such as Shiva the Destroyer, Vishnu the Preserver and Brahma the Creator. In 1 AD, two epic poems were composed to commemorate the history and heroes of India , the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. Pilgrimages were undertaken (and still are) to the Himalaya.

 

Himachal Pradesh

     Literally meaning, “The Land of Snow”, enjoys a unique position in the Indian Himalayas. Nature here is both sublime and beautiful, rugged and harsh. The elevation varies from 350m to 6975m. The Kullu Valley is named, “The Valley of the Gods”, and here Gods live in every corner, on top of hills, passes and beside lakes, there are hundreds of temples scattered throughout this beautiful valley.

 

Manali 

     The town of Manali lies deep in the majestic Kullu valley, which is cradled by the Pir Panjal range to the north, the Parvati range to the east, and the Barabhangal range to the west. This is the Himalayas at its most idyllic; roaring rivers, pretty mountain villages, orchards and terraced fields rising to give way to deep green pine forests and snow flecked ridges, with the most perfect climate. This environment is ideal for trekking and exploring other adventure sports.

     The nearby pretty village of Vashisht plays host to the natural hot sulphur spring baths. They are renowned for their therapeutic properties .

 

Hadimba Temple

     The Hadimba Temple is a 3-tiered wooden pagoda, with superb carvings in the doorways and arches. It is situated in a clearing in the dense Dhungri forest. It was built and dedicated to Hadimba Devi in 1553, she being one of leading 365 Gods who inhabit the rich and culturally diverse Kullu Valley . It is said that the artist who made the carvings in 1553, had his hands chopped off so he could not create another similar masterpiece.

 

Naggar

     Naggar is a lovely little village set high on a hill, surrounded by forests and situated on the East bank of the Beas River. Naggar was once the capital of the Kullu Valley and the castle was the Raja’s headquarters in 1660, it has now been restored in the style that it was originally built 500 years ago. Inside the courtyard there is a small temple, which contains a slab of stone, legend states it was carried here by wild bees. From here you can visit the Roerich art gallery and museum, the famous Russian painter and philosopher. There are short walks and bike excursions to undertake around Naggar meeting local people which continue a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries, the friendliness and hospitality of the local people is renowned.

 

Malana

     Malana is an ancient and isolated village. A tribal community, which has its own language, customs and laws; governed by a system of village elders. Until recently, the villagers resisted intrusion from the outside world and there is still much inter-marriage. It is forbidden to touch anything or anyone in Malana. The village beliefs were determined, it is said, by the God Jumla, who was pre-Aryan and independent of the Hindu Gods, which ruled the Kullu Valley . The existence of Malana is believed to date back pre-2BC, before the time of Alexander the Great.

Dharamsala

     Dharamsala (6000 ft) has been the centre of a vibrant Tibetan community since the 1950’s and is home to the Dalai Lama, who received the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize. There are many temples and monasteries in Dharamsala to explore, often called “little Lhasa in India” with a giant prayer wheel in the centre of this colourful town and many strings of multi-coloured Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the wind. There is a rich cultural heritage, both Buddhist and Hindu with the remnants of faded touches of the Raj.

 

Spiti

     Access to Spiti, North India , this remote and rugged corner of the world has only been possible since 1992. The route follows ancient Trans-Himalayan trade routes with Tibet . In Spiti we find the amazing Chandratal Lake (14,420 ft) and Kibber (14,000 ft), the highest village in the world.

Bir

     This picturesque Tibetan colony of Bir was host to the 1992 and 2002 World Paragliding Championship, and is said by many to be one of the best paragliding sites in the world. It is also a great place for other adventure sports. Bir is a beautiful village and the local people are incredibly warm and friendly, and continue a lifestyle unchanged for centuries. There is colourful Tibetan community to interact with, and amazing monasteries to visit, including the impressive Sherab-ling Monastery, with beautiful intricate thangkas and the impressive gold-plated, jewel encrusted 3-storey high Buddha.

 

Dream and Adventure Centre

     Come and stay with us in our relaxed, comfortable adventure centre and home. Based in Bir, North India, at the foothills of the Himalayas. Set in a beautiful location amongst forest and tea plantation, a home away from home. We have maps and information on the area in our library that is well-stocked with books and games. The house and camp offers a variety of accommodation. We offer tasty home-cooked food, using herbs and vegetables grown fresh from the garden. We can arrange a variety of treks, mountain-biking, fishing, tandem-paragliding, other adventure sports, massage, yoga course and local sightseeing.