I am now in a hippy hill town called Manali where there are a lot of Israelis doing drugs. I got here via a pretty epic adventure that involved packing my backpack down a mountainside to catch a cab when our minivan from Leh got stopped by a rockslide. Full story (possibly) to follow.
Himachal Pradesh is really beautiful, like an Indian mix of upstate New York and the Pacific Northwest–tie-dye and peace signs, impossibly tall fir trees and lush green hillsides. Everything is so green after Ladakh! which is a desert.
Spent yesterday wandering around the town and visiting temples. Touched the footprint of a god (Vishnu, perhaps?) at the Hadimba Devi Temple, which looks very plain inside unless you know that the long stone groove cutting across the face opposite the door is where they let the blood of sacrificed animals run into the mouth of the goddess. I believe this is still done. Went to Vashisht, a nearby town with famed hot springs, and saw two more temples. At one there was singing and clapping of bells while everyone bowed to an incarnation of Shiva and an orange statue of Hanuman while men in pink and gold headbands asked a priest to tell their fortunes with grains of rice.
Leaving in a few minutes for Rishikesh by way of Haridwar. Time for more yoga! Jaipur for a few days next week. Singapore on the night of July 21. I underestimated how much time I would need in India. This country has seriously grown on me.