Dharamshala & Rishikesh
Edward Reib's "Travels" Part 8

14 minutes, 34 seconds
Premiered: 11th May 2021
Filmed: June/July 2018

Part 8 opens in the back of an Ola (it's like Uber) with Priyal, when suddenly dramatic Tibetan bells and chants carry us into Majnu-ka-tilla (MT), a Tibetan Refugee Colony there in New Delhi. After some food and shopping, and possibly a brief cultural PTSD flashback, we arrive at Amar Colony Marketplace, where the Tibetan Flag flies on Priyal's backback.

The baby pigeon with his brother who never hatched, and their mother, lived on the window unit air conditioner in our flat in East of Kailash at the time. Dastam Begir's "Abdu'l-Bahá" (as performed at the second Baha'i World Conference in 1992) carries Jayaram and I through Lotus Temple, with ISKCON in the background, the same one from Part 6.

Then, we enter the world of history, the tombs and palaces of some of the Mughal Emperors. At first, we see it through the music of the evil 13th-century Sultan of Delhi Jalal-ud-din Khalji as depicted in the movie "Padmaavat", when suddenly it shifts to the music of the good 16th century Mughal Emperor Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar as depicted in "Jodhaa Akbar", and it is all the people of India, Hindu and Moslem alike, who sing:

"Oh great and magnificent emperor,
ruler of royal decree.
May your life be everlasting.
Words alone cannot praise you,
you're the cornerstone of India.
India is your life,
you're the life of India.
We welcome you in our hearts..."

(he had just put an end to the "Pilgrimage Tax" which the ruling Moslems had previously imposed upon the Hindus, so... they were in a good mood at the time.)

Then, we land in Dharamshala, just as Vini Vici's remix of Hilight Tribe's "Free Tibet" starts chanting "Om Mani Peme Hum". A local couple (from before the Tibetans came) performs "Choti Choti Gaiya Chote Chote Gwal", a song about baby Krishna, for the many tourists walking to and from the Hill Station.

In the morning, Lama Khenpo Pema Choephel Rinpoche's performance of The Heart Sutra carries us through the Dalai Lama's Temple. Then, the music of Baahubali II carries us from the nearby tea gardens, past the local cows, and into the ancient rock-cut Temples at Masrur, from early 8th century. This part is probably my favorite two minutes of any video I've ever made.

Then, we visit the Norbulingka Institute, a Tibetan cultural center, complete with a Temple that isn't actually a Temple (so it's okay to take pictures inside), before a rainy train ride carries us into Rishikesh. John Lennon once wrote a song called "Dear Prudence" there, and there was an old rough version of it that the Beatles don't hoard in their safe of music that isn't safe to use on YouTube, so... how could I resist?

After sundown, the mood shifts to something a lot like Anjel's version of "Shiva Shambo", or maybe it's just me.

I know I often say this, but this is my favorite of these so far. The theme of Part 8 seems to be exploring multi-cultural India, from Hinduism to Tibetan Buddhism, Baha'i Faith, the Islamic structures of the Mughal Empire, Hippie Tourism, all of which is yet a very small sample of the many eras of faiths and philosophies existing side by side in India.

Click to Watch Part 8 "Dharamshala & Rishikesh" on Youtube

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