Anyways, it’s Indiarail again! that’s causing all the confusion. Don’t get me wrong. I adore Indiarail. I am in LOVE with Indiarail although http://www.indiarail.gov.in is one heck of an arrogant site which expects you (my dear novice tourist; foreign on top of that in most cases) to enter a Train Name/Number when you are searching for Train Schedule. It doesn’t get any easier when you try to search by Types of Train or Trains.
Click on the Information > All Indian Rail Network Map – which seems like a sensible and ‘ahhh…clever!’ way to go about figuring a route or ‘how to get from point A to point B’ you get a very lovely typography type of map with gorgeous rich shades of greens showing altitude and snaky lines drawn all over the map with legends indicating ‘Important Broad Gauge Route’, ‘Other Broad Gauge Line’, ‘Metre Gauge Line’, ‘Narrow Gauge Line’, ‘BG & MG Parallel Line’ and ‘Places of Tourist Interest’. Despite my MENSA IQ, even the last category – ‘Places of Tourist Interest’ – is mind boggling.
But I am determine to get this.
It took me 1-month to ‘crack’ Indiarail during my maiden trip to India. I am sure I can do this again. And worse case, there’s always good old Steven Ber at IndiaMike.com to assist. What would we tourist and travellers alike do without the wise Steven Ber? I often wondered. And only in this instance (i.e. the Indiarail challenge) I would lump tourist and travellers in the same category.
My challenge this time around is to go see the Dalai Lama!
Shoot! I just found out that one needs to put in a written request to seek His Holiness audience, and that is if he’s in town, four months in advance. Well, of course 10 weeks ago I didn’t know this fact … and at this juncture, well… it’s not going to make one heck of a difference back then or now anyways, rite?
But this discovery got me into a whirlwind of other ‘ideas’ … I trek my fingers to Amritsar and Shimla, then flirted with the idea of risking my life driving a 4×4 alone on slippery snowy roads to Leh.
After all the only reason for going to Dharamsala – which from my research suggest there is nothing to offer – is to get to McLeod Ganj. I suspect that the Buddhists of the world have deliberately chosen Dharamsala in reference to the residence of the Tibetan Government in exile, herein the Dalai Lama and his entourage – as oppose to McLeod Ganj for one and only one reason:
it would be suicidal; both from a socio-political standpoint for the government in exile and confusing to any traveller, tourist or devotee who wants to visit the Dalai Lama. Think about it. How bizarre and complicated it would be to explain a Hindu-Scott naming place (Ganj meaning ‘market’, and McLeod presumably after some Scotsman – a Governor perhaps during the British era) filled with Tibetans!
So, seeing His Holiness has nothing religious or holy to it, nor am I swayed by any literature or newsworthy writings of the 14th Dalai Lame and the Tibetan Government in exile. I am ‘seeing’ the Dalai Lama because I can! (and there is nothing wrong with this given that I know at least 10 people who buys gigabytes iPods and spend hundreds of hours downloading thousands of songs only because they can.)
….#1 i still LOVE my India map despite the ceases that has yellowed over the years
….#2 i am too cheap to buy a newer Lonely Planet India
….#3 i need a newer Lonely Planet India – does Jagson Airlines still exist??
….#4 Himalaya by Michael Palin is worth more in recycled paper than information
….#5 one should not judge quality of work based on legendary Monty Python
….#6 i am old coz i can’t recall which young bloke is Palin in Monty Python!
….#7 always do multiple linguistic checks when naming a place. No wonder Gaggal* airport is … gagal.
….#8 #7 applies to naming kids as well. Am yet to find a successful bloke by the name Baki.
….#9 still on #7. all Richards I know are well … D#$*
It has to be His Holiness’ will. I am home!
unfortunately, Gaggal* remains a failure.