In the last week of March 2013 we were vacillating between Jim Corbett National Park and Neemrana as our potential getaways to spend the upcoming long weekend when my friend suggesting taking a road trip to Dehradun to meet her teacher to be, His Eminence Gongkar Dorje Dhenpa Rinpoche. Within the next half hour the team was on-board and the plan was in place. We were set to embark on a weekend of a different kind. Perhaps when the destiny intends, all the pieces come together to fit perfectly. As luck would have it, Rinpoche was in Delhi that week and he generously agreed to be our guide for the road trip…and beyond!

The Drive

Come 29th March, we joined Rinpoche for a leisurely breakfast at Majnu ka Tila, where he was stationed temporarily.

One particular observation that I made in this trip is that there was never a rush for anything. There were no plans and no worries. Even in situations which I would otherwise categorize as chaos, everything seemed in order. Perhaps it is about finding out the leisure and order within and then nothing else perturbs.

Around 11:00 a.m., we were gunning the gas pedals of my friend’s car following our guide from Delhi to Vikas Nagar (Dehradun) buzzing across the cities of Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Yamuna Nagar.

Roadtrip to Gongkar Choede Monastery
We entered into Panipat city and accelerated into a random rainstorm
Road trip to Gongkar Choede Monastery
Sudden rain showers rather rendered adventure to the drive
When road is rough, keep faith in the guide.
When road is rough, keep faith in the guide.
Gurudwara Paonta Sahib (seen from the Yamuna Bridge)
Gurudwara Paonta Sahib (seen from the Yamuna Bridge)
Assan Barrage
Assan Barrage near Herbertpur offers some boating opportunities
We drove along the Yamuna Canal
The drive ran parallel to Yamuna canal
Road trip to Gongkar Choede Monastery
The drive between Paonta Sahib and Vikas Nagar

The Monastery

We reached Vikas Nagar  before night fall. The road turned into a winding drive across woods to open into a tranquil Tibetan settlement.

Here, air smells of forests and silence is broken only by the sounds of prayers in the Gompa.

A drive in the woods
A drive in the woods
Road trip to Gongkar Choede Monastery
Nearby village surrounded by fields and reserved forests
Monastry is nestled amidst thick vegetation on  a slight elevation
Monastery is nestled a midst thick vegetation on a slight elevation
Road trip to Gongkar Choede Monastery
The morning glows and sings
Road trip to Gongkar Choede Monastery
Participating in the cleansing drive on Saturday
Road trip to Gongkar Choede Monastery
Each Saturday we would wield a weapon of our choice and join the action – clean body for a happy soul

We spent chatty evenings and pristine mornings at the monastery for the next 2 days. We managed to squeeze in a quick trip to Clement Town in Dehradun before heading back to Delhi.

It was an unexpected weekend involving newer places, milder people, serenity, no predefined agendas, and reformed beliefs.

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